House now has 18 Deputy Speakers

Marje Pelayo   •   August 2, 2019   •   744

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) has added four more deputy speakers on Monday (July 30).

They are Rep. Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental, Rep.  Pablo John Garcia of Cebu, Rep. Rosemarie Arenas of Pangasinan, and Rep. Rodante Marcoleta of Sagip party-list group.

They joined earlier choices Rep. Paolo Duterte of Davao City, Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez of South Cotabato, Rep.  Evelina Escudero of Sorsogon, Rep. Loren Legarda of Antique, Rep.  Conrado Estrella III of Abono, Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. and Rep. Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur, Rep. Roberto Puno of Antipolo City, Rep. Eduardo Villanueva of Cibac, Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. of Pampanga, Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. of Camarines Sur, Rep. Raneo Abu of Batangas, Rep. Neptali Gonzales II of Mandaluyong City and Rep. Dan Fernandez of Sta. Rosa City, Laguna.

Currently, the House already has 18 deputy speakers under House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

This already exceeded the number allowed by Section 31 of the House rules which states that the Lower Chamber may have 14 deputy speakers, each entitled to seven co-terminus personnel.

However, it is to the discretion of the present House to change its rules and may add as many deputies as it wants.

Cayetano is planning to have at least 24 deputy speakers who may also preside over House sessions in the event the House Speaker is not available.

Cayetano, other solons to work from home after exposure to virus-infected Yap

Robie de Guzman   •   March 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other lawmakers and staff who physically attended the House of Representatives’ special session last Monday will go on self-quarantine after ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Yap Go confirmed he contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Yap earlier revealed that he attended the special session on March 23 at the Batasan Pambansa while his coronavirus test results were still pending. He, however, stressed that he took safety precautions as he became paranoid about his mild cough.

At least 20 lawmakers were physically present at the special session, including House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante, Representatives France Castro, Edgar Sarmiento, Mikey Arroyo, Sharky Palma, Precious Castelo, and Janette Garin, Deputy Speakers Raneo Abu, LRay Villafuerte, Robbie Puno, and Dong Gonzales, Representatives Bong Suntay, Jon Jalosjos, Manny Lopez, Tonypet Albano, Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, Mike Defensor, Blu Abaya, Bambol Tolentino, Cayetano, and Yap.

The said lawmakers confirmed they will work from home during their self-quarantine.

Term-sharing with Rep. Velasco, not an issue – HS Cayetano

Maris Federez   •   November 14, 2019

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Alan Velasco

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano insists that the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte on the leadership in the lower chamber of Congress must be respected.

This is why, as far as Cayetano is concerned, the term-sharing in the House Speakership is no longer an issue between him and Marinduque Representatives Lord Alan Velasco despite the suggestions of some members of the Lower House to extend his term which is until December 2020.

“Hindi naman kasi kailangan pag usapan eh. So, we say hi to each other and that’s it, ‘di ba? In fact, halos wala akong congressman na nakakausap na ang pinag-uusapan speaskership. Trabaho. Once in a while meron papasyal sa office ko, ‘speaker sana hindi ka na mapalitan.’ Pero standard pa rin ‘itong answer ko, hindi kita kokontrahin, tutukan natin iyong trabaho,” said Cayetano.

The immediate passage of the 2020 national budget in the House of Representatives (HOR) and his high trust and approval ratings are reportedly what prompted some congressmen to push for Cayetano’s term extension.

Per agreement, Cayetano will be the House Speaker for 15 months and, after that, Velasco will have his term in the succeeding 21 months.

President Duterte has earlier said that he will no longer meddle with the issue and it’s up to the members of the House to decide on what’s to become of the term-sharing deal.

Cayetano, however, insists that Velasco has nothing to worry about because it is the President’s word that they both are holding on to.

“No one can take over with just saying ikaw na next kasi wala namang vice speaker eh. So as I said, it’s very unproductive and very speculative to talk about 18 to 15 months from now,” Cayetano insisted.

Despite Cayetano’s pronouncement, the members of the lower chamber are set to vote for the next House Speaker. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

Lacson questions P54-B allocation for House Reps in 2020 budget

Maris Federez   •   September 23, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday (September 23) questioned the P54-Billion allocated for House representatives (HOR) in the 2020 proposed national budget.

“In the initial information that we received, each Deputy speaker, 22 of them, will be receiving an additional allocation of P1.5-B. So that’s P33-B and each congressman will be given an allocation of P700-M,” Lacson said.

The senator sought to have the matter thoroughly checked to ensure that it is not a pork barrel.

Lacson claimed that he got the information from a member of the Lower House.

But based on the statement made by House Committee on Ways and Means chairman Joey Salceda, they are only allocating P100-M to each congressman, which, he said, is based on the need of their respective districts.

Lacson, however, said that the allocation is still questionable, as he is not sure if it had gone through the intense scrutiny of the lower house and the agencies that could be the recipient of such funds.

“Hindi naman dapat pare-pareho ang allocation sa district [Allocation for each district need not be identical]. It should be need-based and priority-based,” he added.

The senator stressed that the law provides that a government agency or a particular district should have already identified a project and the details of which are already itemized in the budget proposal before the said fund is released to them.

“Kung ii-introduce pa lang nila as amendments o individual amendments, lalabas bawat isa sa kanila may P100M [If they will introduce it as admendments or individual amendments, it will turn out that each of them will have P100-M]. Then, if it is not pork, I don’t know what it is,” Lacson further stressed.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, on the other hand, maintained that the fund is not a pork barrel, as it is intended for the construction of flyovers, seaports, airports, and other major highways in their districts.

He also argued that the Senate can scrutinize the budget in the bicameral conference.

“I think Congressman Salceda was just being frank na concern pa rin yung bawat congressman na hindi ma-zero or hindi maisahan yung kaniyang lugar at wala masyadong pondo. Pero walang nakatagong pork,” Cayetano asserted.

[I think Congressman Salceda was just being frank that the congressmen are concerned that their districts will not be left behind and be without a budget. But there is no hidden pork in it.] (from the report of Grace Casin) /mbmf

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