Category Archives: HEADLINES

ROBREDO, LEGISLATORS GANG UP ON ARM-TWISTING HOUSE SPEAKER

LENI WHIPS UP SOLONS VS. ALVAREZ,

DEATH PENALTY BILL

“A DEFINING MOMENT FOR LEGISLATORS”

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

robredoVice President Leni Robredo said members of the House of Representatives can prove their leadership if they spurn Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and vote against the controversial proposed bill re-imposing the death penalty.

pantaleon-alvarezIn what is seen as an attempt to railroad approval of the bill, Alvarez on February 8, gathered members of the House “Super Majority” in a caucus to press for support for House Bill No. 4727 that has drawn widespread opposition, including legislators.

This is a “defining moment” for legislators, said Robredo.

HB 4727 has now reached the plenary after House justice committee chairperson Reynaldo Umali tossed the bill for 2nd reading on February 7.

Alvarez had earlier warned that House Deputy Speakers and chairmen of committees would lose their posts if they would not support the bill that would send to death row people committing heinous crimes.

Alvarez reiterated his warning during the January 8 caucus.

Imposing capital punishment had been removed from the statutes by Congress in 1986.

In a news conference, Robredo urged lawmakers to vote based on principles on the death penalty bill.

“Leaders should be ready to defy the orders (that) are not aligned with their beliefs,” said the Vice President, adding her voice to the opposition. Robredo run and won the vice presidency in the May 2016 polls under the banner of the then administration Liberal Party of then outgoing  President Benigno Aquino whose standard bearer former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas was soundly defeated by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino\Laban (PDP/Laban). Robredo is in the forefront of criticizing some programs of the Duterte administration. The death penalty bill is a priority of the President.

Robredo said legislators would have their “defining moment” when the death penalty bill is placed on a vote.
“This could be a defining moment … and (the legislators’) chance to… stand firm on what they believe in,” she said.

Her urging helped spark speculations over a rumored plan by legislators to unseat Alvarez as House Speaker for arm-twisting legislators into supporting the bill.

Bill No. 4727, has sharply divided the House.

congressNumber is a crucial factor that could ensure the passage of the bill.

The so-called “Super Majority,” a coalition led by the PDP-Laban, has 269 members of the 286-member House. With the majority bloc’s “party vote” the bill could easily sail to approval.

At the forefront of the opposition to the bill is the Makabayan bloc, a seven-member group of progressive party-list legislators.
“Unfair,” said Gabriela partylist Rep. Emmi de Jesus, chairperson of the House committee on poverty alleviation, of Alvarez’s attempt to railroad passage of the bill by arm-twisting legislators with threats.

“We are here not for the pleasure of the Speaker or the President.  It’s unfair for us because we are here (for) pro-people issues,” she said.

Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque warned the arm-twisting could result to Alvarez losing support of allies in the Super Majority.

“Alvarez (is) driving people to the arms of the (opposition). Do not drive away our numbers to the enemy,” Roque, whose party has joined the Super Majority, advised Alvarez.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said Alvarez’s threat to disenfranchise deputy speakers and committee chairmen is shaking down the majority bloc allied with Duterte, who considers HB 4727 a priority bill.

“If Speaker Alvarez is twisting the arms of (the majority legislators), then he’s committing a very serious mistake … because he is now trampling on the principles of each member of the majority,” said Atienza, a vocal oppositor of  capital punishment.

This “could lead to the members of the majority to think twice in following their leader. Maybe we should go find another Speaker,” he added.

Atienza urged legislators to deal the bill with a “conscience vote not a party vote.”

With his arm-twisting, Alvarez, according to Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr, “risks losing the support of the political parties comprising the super coalition.”

“Most of the parties have adopted a policy of conscience vote. But if the Speaker insists, then he wants Congress to become an authoritarian body, not a democratic one,” said Baguilat.

Kabayan’s Roque, said Alvarez’s latest statement could drive several congressmen to rejoin the once-ruling LP, that now leads the minority in the House.

“This is not the right time to discuss the death penalty because it is very divisive. This gives the enemies of this administration the traction they need to get stronger support in the House,” said Roque.

According to sources, about 50 legislators, including administration allies, are expected to interpellate the bill’s sponsors when the bill is deliberated at plenary.

drilon

In the Senate, President Franklin Drilon said the death penalty bill would face rough sailing with 10 of the 24-member Senate against re-imposing death penalty.

We only need two more votes to kill the bill, said Drilon, who adds the bill is on the priority list of Senators.

Even if approved by both the Upper House and Lower House, the death penalty bill would run into trouble with the Supreme Court when the legality of the bill is questioned.

Drilon said the Philippines is bound by an international covenant which banned signatory countries from imposing capital punishment.

Drilon said the High Court respects international treaties and was expected to honor the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which the Philippines signed in 1966.

ICCPR was ratified by the Senate in 1986, on the year that it killed death penalty.

COUP D’ETAT VS. SPEAKER ALVAREZ?

DEATH PENALTY BILL LOOMING AS DEATH SENTENCE VS. ALVAREZ SPEAKERSHIP

pantaleon-alvarez

ATIENZA: We should find another Speaker

 

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Philippine legislators are dismayed at being arm-twisted into supporting a bill re-imposing death penalty and are after the head of the Speaker of the  House of Representatives for rail roading approval of the controversial bill with threats.

lito-atienza“We should find another Speaker,” said Representative Lito Atienza of the party-list Buhay Party. Party-list groups have a 20 percent representation in the 286-member House.

“We are here not for the pleasure of the Speaker or the President,” said Gabriela partylist Rep. Emmi de Jesus, chairperson of the House committee on poverty alleviation.

With his arm-twisting, the Speaker is  losing the support of his allies, said Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque.

In what is seen as an attempt to railroad approval of the bill, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on February 8, gathered members of the House “Super Majority” in a caucus to press support for House Bill No. 4727 that has drawn widespread criticism from the public, including opposition and administration legislators.

robredoVice President Leni Robredo has added fire to the fray by urging legislators opposing the bill to stand up against  Alvarez, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte has asked the House to prioritize approval of the bill.

Robredo said members of the House can prove their leadership if they spurn Alvarez and vote against the controversial bill.

This is a “defining moment” for legislators, said Robredo.

HB 4727 has now reached the plenary after House justice committee chairperson Reynaldo Umali tossed the bill for 2nd reading on February 7.

Alvarez had earlier warned that House Deputy Speakers and chairmen of committees would lose their posts if they would not support the bill that would send to death row people committing heinous crimes.

Imposing capital punishment had been removed from the statutes by the Philippine Congress in 1986.

Alvarez reiterated his warning  to unseat Deputy Secretaries and House committee chairmen, and kick out legislators from the majority bloc, if they would not support the bill, during the January 8 caucus.

Legislators, in interviews with media, expressed dismay at Alvarez’s arm-twisting  as soon as they emerged from the caucus.

In a news conference, apparently aware of Alvarez’s arm-twisting, Robredo urged lawmakers to vote based on principles on the death penalty bill.

“Leaders should be ready to defy the orders (that) are not aligned with their beliefs,” said the Vice President, adding her voice to the opposition. Robredo run and won the vice presidency in the May 2016 polls under the banner of the then administration Liberal Party of then outgoing  President Benigno Aquino whose standard bearer former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas was soundly defeated by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino\Laban (PDP/Laban). Robredo is in the forefront of criticizing some programs of the Duterte administration. The death penalty bill is a priority of the President.

Robredo said legislators would have their “defining moment” when the death penalty bill is placed on a vote.
“This could be a defining moment … and (the legislators’) chance to… stand firm on what they believe in,” she said.

Her urging helped spark speculations over a rumored plan by legislators to unseat Alvarez as House Speaker for arm-twisting legislators into supporting the bill. The rumor spread after the January 8 caucus.

There is a yawning divide among members of the House over Bill No. 4727.

But number, and Alvarez’s arm-twisting, is a crucial factor that could ensure the passage of the bill.

The so-called “Super Majority,” a coalition led by the PDP-Laban, has 269 members of the 286-member House. With the majority bloc’s “party vote,” the bill could easily sail to approval.

At the forefront of the opposition to the bill is the Makabayan bloc, a seven-member group of progressive party-list legislators.
“Unfair,” said Gabriela partylist Rep. Emmi de Jesus, chairperson of the House committee on poverty alleviation, of Alvarez’s attempt to railroad passage of the bill by arm-twisting legislators with threats.

“We are here not for the pleasure of the Speaker or the President.  It’s unfair for us because we are here (for) pro-people issues,” she said.

Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque warned the arm-twisting could result to Alvarez losing support of allies in the Super Majority.

“Alvarez (is) driving people to the arms of the (opposition). Do not drive away our numbers to the enemy,” Roque, whose party has joined the Super Majority, advised Alvarez.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said Alvarez’s threat to disenfranchise deputy speakers and committee chairmen is shaking down the majority bloc allied with Duterte, who considers HB 4727 a priority bill.

“If Speaker Alvarez is twisting the arms of (the majority legislators), then he’s committing a very serious mistake … because he is now trampling on the principles of each member of the majority,” said Atienza, a vocal oppositor of  capital punishment.

This “could lead to the members of the majority to think twice in following their leader. Maybe we should go find another Speaker,” he added.

Atienza urged legislators to deal the bill with a “conscience vote not a party vote.”

With his arm-twisting, Alvarez, according to Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr, “risks losing the support of the political parties comprising the super coalition.”

“Most of the parties have adopted a policy of conscience vote. But if the Speaker insists, then he wants Congress to become an authoritarian body, not a democratic one,” said Baguilat.

Kabayan’s Roque, said Alvarez’s latest statement could drive several congressmen to rejoin the once-ruling LP, that now leads the minority in the House.

“This is not the right time to discuss the death penalty because it is very divisive. This gives the enemies of this administration the traction they need to get stronger support in the House,” said Roque.

According to sources, about 50 legislators, including administration allies, are expected to interpellate the bill’s sponsors when the bill is deliberated at plenary.

drilon

In the Senate, President Franklin Drilon said the death penalty bill would face rough sailing with 10 of the 24-member Senate against re-imposing death penalty.

We only need two more votes to kill the bill, said Drilon, who adds the bill is on the priority list of Senators.

Even if approved by both the Upper House and Lower House, the death penalty bill would run into trouble with the Supreme Court when the legality of the bill is questioned.

Drilon said the Philippines is bound by an international covenant which banned signatory countries from imposing capital punishment.

Drilon said the High Court respects international treaties and was expected to honor the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which the Philippines signed in 1966.

ICCPR was ratified by the Senate in 1986, on the year that it killed death penalty.

Philipine President Rodrigo Duterte is new ASEAN chairman

president-duterte-speaking-at-the-closing-ceremonies-of-the-asean-summit_cnnphPresident Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday accepted the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in 2017, on behalf of the Filipino people.

sunstar_davao_president_rodrigo_duterte_bows_2016-09-09President Rodrigo Duterte bows to the audience after accepting the gavel from Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith to symbolize the handing over of the Asean Chairmanship to the Philippines at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos on September 8. (King Rodriguez/PPD)

In his acceptance speech, the President vowed to pursue initiatives and enhance cooperation with global partners to ensure that ASEAN citizens live in peace, stability, security, and growth.

During the Philippines’ chairmanship, he said the country will highlight ASEAN as a model of regionalism and as a global player, with the interest of the people at its core.

He said the Philippines is ready and willing to steer and guide the association, which is celebrating its 50th founding anniversary next year.

According to Pres. Duterte, “crucial to the realization of our goals is the cooperation and support of all ASEAN member states and our dialogue partners.”

The President invited the nine other ASEAN countries to be the Philippines’ “dynamic and vibrant partners as we guide ASEAN in 2017.”

He revealed next year’s theme to be ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.’

“It captures our resolve to consolidate our community for our peoples, with a sense of togetherness and common identity, ready and able to take our rightful place in the global community of nations,” Pres. Duterte added.

“It will be an occasion for us to set the tone for the next 50 years. Join us in making the commemoration of ASEAN’s 50th a success. With great honor and humility, I accept the chairmanship of the ASEAN from our excellent host, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic,” Pres. Duterte said.

He also took the occasion to thank and congratulate Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith for Laos’ successful chairmanship of the ASEAN throughout this year.

“You guided us with the timely motto of ‘Turning Vision into Reality for Dynamic ASEAN community.’ You ably did your part in deepening integration to move us towards the realization of a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN community,” he said.MANILA, Sept. 9 (PNA)

PACQUIAO: Only the courts can establish Binay’s guilt

Saranggani Representative  Manny Pacquiao begged the public against prematurely judging Vice President Jejomar Binay saying that Binay is innocent until proven guilty by the courts.

Binay, the standard bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), is facing corruption charges before the Ombudsman.

Binay said  the charges are “black propaganda” and  “demolition jobs” aimed to derail his presidential bid.

Boxing hero Pacquiao, running for Senator under the UNA ticket in the 2016 election, is the second opposition candidate who defended Binay.

UNA vice presidential candidate Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan earlier said Binay is facing a storm lashing at his integrity in wake of the charges even as the cases are yet to be decided.

     The bad press against Binay on the charges of corruption has badly affected the Vice President’s standing in poll surveys that he previously dominated.

Pacquiao said the public should not be “too judgmental” as people facing charges like Binay are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial.

“I hope we Filipinos will not be too judgmental.  Our Constitution is explicit about this, Vice President Binay and even those already facing charges are innocent until proven guilty by a competent court,” Pacquiao told reporters after filing his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) on Friday, October 16 at the Comelec in Intramuros, Manila.

Pacquiao said due process should be accorded Binay,  who is accused of receiving kickbacks from various projects when he was mayor of Makati City.

Days before filing his COC, Pacquiao said he would run under the senatorial slate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte, despite strong public clamor for him to run, however, is not joining the race to Malacanang.

     Pacquiao said he decided to join UNA because he and  Binay came from humble beginnings.

“We both come from poor families. We both underwent hardships and hunger. But we worked hard to get to where we are now. We both believe we can serve as an inspiration to the poor,” Pacquiao said.

PHOTO: PHILSTAR