Names that stand out in House speakership race of the 18th Congress

Maris Federez   •   May 19, 2019   •   3346

FILE PHOTO: House of Representatives (UNTV News)

The names of Lord Allan Velasco, Martin Romualdez, Alan Peter Cayetano and Pantaleon Alvarez have been floating to be the next leader in the House of Representatives (HOR).

Both Romualdez and Velasco were endorsed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the campaign rallies of Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

President Rodrigo Duterte, on the other hand, purportedly wants Cayetano to hold the reigns in the House.

And Alvarez, the first choice of the President to lead the last Congress, is making a return.

But now that former Senator Loren Legarda and Presidential son, former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte had been proclaimed winners in their districts, the list of possible Speaker of the House has gotten longer.

According to PDP-Laban campaign manager, Senator Manny Pacquiao, they will still wait until the proclamation of all the winners in the midterm elections has been completed before they set a meeting with the party to select the next House Speaker and Senate President.

“We still have to deliberate on that, but we need to finish the proclamation first before we discuss the talks for Senate President. It will be an internal discussion,” said Pacquiao.

So far, Mayor Duterte who sits as the Hugpong ng Pagbabago Regional Party head is yet to announce her chosen one.

In one of her earlier statements, Sara said that she will support anyone as long as that person supports her father.

“So walay choice of one but ang ginatan-aw namu kung kinsa and supporter ni President Duterte [there is no choice of one but what we are looking for is who among them supports President Duterte] because we need the House of Representatives to move towards the direction of the President,” the mayor added.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Liberal Party secretary general Congressman Kit Belmonte said that dictatorship is expected to remain in the lower chamber especially now that there is only 18 of them who made it in the elections.Our last count is 18 representatives so far – not much different from our numbers in the current Congress. Which means you can expect the same tyranny from the supermajority,” Belmonte said.

The newly elected members of the House of Representatives will begin their term on June 30. (with reports from Grace Casin) /mbmf

Senate on lockdown after staff tests positive for COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate of the Philippines will be under “total lockdown” on Tuesday, March 16, to give way to sanitation and disinfection of premises after a staff tested positive for COVID-19.

A personnel from the Legislative Bills and Index Service was confirmed positive for coronavirus on Monday, March 15.

“The entire Bills and Index (Service) is now quarantined. And so with that, we cannot make any amendments, any other bills to take up until the full sanitation is done,” said Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Sotto assured that none of the senators were exposed to the infected employee.

He added that only virtual hearings will be allowed on Tuesday while on-site sessions will resume on Wednesday (March 17).

Senator Richard Gordon offered the services of the Philippine Red Cross in case the Senate agrees to conduct a saliva-based COVID-19 testing.

Three employees of the Senate’s in-house catering service had also recently tested positive for COVID-19.

It prompted the Senate president to cut short the session time to until 6:00 p.m. as they could not compromise the schedule of deliberations given the load of proposed measures that they have to address.

The 18th Congress is set to suspend sessions for the 2nd regular session from  March 27 to May 16. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Pacquiao urges PDP-Laban members to set aside politics for now, focus on solving problems

Robie de Guzman   •   March 12, 2021

Senator Manny Pacquiao

 

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Manny Pacquiao, who serves as acting national president of political party PDP-Laban, called on his party-mates to focus more on solving the country’s problems and not politics.

Pacquiao made the call on Friday in response to reports that some PDP-Laban members are urging President Rodrigo Duterte to run as vice president in 2022.

The senator said the move is not sanctioned by the party’s leadership and he stressed that the focus of the party now is to help the public deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“As party president, I have the responsibility to enforce the rules, promote cooperation, insist on civility and respect, and most of all, to remind you that we are one team, because it is only when we are united that we can stand strong to weather any storm and to face the greatest dangers,” Pacquiao said in a statement.

On Thursday, House deputy speaker Eric Martinez revealed that some members of PDP-Laban are circulating a resolution urging  the president to run for vice president in the 2022 elections for continuity’s sake.

But Pacquiao said now is not the time for politics and that party members should prioritize the needs and lives of Filipinos amid the public health crisis.

“God destined us to be leaders to our respective constituents, and by showing them by example that we know our priorities we are sending a strong message that we value them, that we are aware of their needs and we give them hope,” he said.

“I, therefore, call upon all our party members to focus more on the opportunity to serve. Our countrymen need us now more than ever. There will be a time for politics, but for now, the lives and wellbeing of our countrymen should be our utmost priority,” he added.

Talks on ABS-CBN franchise will have to wait for next Congress — Speaker Velasco

Marje Pelayo   •   February 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Allan Velasco maintained that calls to revive the franchise of media giant ABS-CBN will have to wait until the next Congress.

In a statement on Thursday (February 11), Velasco said the 18th Congress only has a year until the 2022 elections.

Thus, he said, “The House of Representatives is bent on finishing the remaining priority measures of this Administration to ensure that President Rodrigo Duterte fulfills his campaign promise to the Filipino people.” 

On top of these priority legislation, Velasco said, Congress is working double time to accomplish priority legislation such as the passage of the Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or the Bayanihan 3, as well as other economic bills geared toward rebuilding the Philippine economy following the impact of the global pandemic.

Several lawmakers have moved to revive the media giant’s franchise application by filing proposed measures to the same Congress that denied it in July 2020. 

READ: Duterte won’t allow ABS-CBN to operate even if Congress grants a franchise, unless…

Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that he will not allow ABS-CBN to operate even if Congress grants a franchise unless the media firm settles its unpaid taxes to the government.

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