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HEADLINES NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

ROBREDO WANTS TO BE LP TITULAR HEAD ONLY, NO LP LEADERSHIP ROLE[RELATED: VP Robredo under fire for Naga flight]
[RELATED(2): Leni takes bus ride back to Naga (July 3, 2016 Report)]


JULY 26 -Vice President Leni Robredo INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA
- Vice President Leni Robredo does not want to be given a leadership post in the Liberal Party (LP) as she is busy adjusting to her new roles as the country’s second in command and housing chair. In a press briefing on Tuesday, Robredo said if she would be given a high position in the erstwhile ruling party, she would rather be a titular head of the party. “That’s my preference. I just feel that I have too much in my hands right now—iyong pagpalit ng mukha ng Office of the Vice President ay napakalaking bagay kasi para kaming nagsisimula ng isang bagay na wala pa diyan before,” she said. Making the OVP “more advocacy heavy” and the increasing housing concerns her office received had been keeping her busy, she said.  READ MORE...RELATED, VP Robredo under fire for Naga flight...RELATED(2) Leni takes bus ride back to Naga...

ALSO: Messy fight for Minority Leader in House to reach SC - LP exec Erice[RELATED: Super Majority’ bars Baguilat from assuming House Minority Leader post]


JULY 26 -House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO The messy fight for Minority Leader in the 17th Congress is expected to reach the Supreme Court if Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez would recognize Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez instead of the duly elected winner Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat. Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said the majority coalition should respect the rules and recognize the votes of the eight lawmakers who chose Baguilat in the Speakership race on July 25 to avoid an embarrassing clash in the high court. Erice said that Suarez clearly lost the battle for the minority post because he only had seven votes. Erice also noted that Suarez was technically not a minority member because he voted for Alvarez as Speaker. Supposedly, the second highest vote-getter in the election for Speaker automatically gets to be the Minority Leader. Erice claimed that the majority was trying to manipulate the results by refusing to recognize Baguilat as the minority leader and allowing the minority bloc to conduct another vote just enable Suarez to win. READ MORE...RELATED, Super Majority’ bars Baguilat from assuming House Minority Leader post...

ALSO: Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez elected House Minority Leader
RELATED: Minority post feud drives wedge in House]


JULY 27 -Minority leader cong. Danilo Suarez (KJ ROSALES) Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez was elected as the House Minority Leader amid the absence of the group of Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., who got more votes than him during the voting for Speakership on Monday. A total of 25 lawmakers showed up for the election of the House Minority Leader, 22 of whom voted in favor of Suarez and three lawmakers—AKO BICOL partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe, AAMBIS-Owa party-list Rep. Sharon Garin and Isabela Rep. Lourdes Aggabao — abstained from voting. Garin, who facilitated the meeting, said Baguilat’s group has been invited to attend the election, but failed to show up. In his acceptance speech, Suarez vowed to lead a “constructive” House opposition bloc that would support the Duterte administration’s pro-people measures, but at the same time, ensure the checks and balances in the government. “We are a constructive minority. We will support measures that will bring progress to the country,” he said, citing the crucial role of the House Minority bloc in ensuring transparency and accountability in the bureaucracy. THE FULL REPORT. RELATED, Minority post feud drives wedge in House...

ALSO:Funny thing happened to Nancy at the Senate session hall on Tuesday
[ALSO AT THE SENAT: De Lima says probe on narco slays set]


JULY 26 -Nancy Binay. INQUIRER PHOTO / ELOISA LOPEZ
SENATOR Nancy Binay was dismayed when she found out on Tuesday that she would be seated at the Senate session hall with her two colleagues who had accused her father, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, of amassing unexplained wealth.
“Nakakaloka! Ibang level ng powers ito,” Binay said when she found out that she would be sitting next to Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. Beside Cayetano would be Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Trillanes initiated the Senate inquiry into corruption allegations against the former Vice President during the 16th Congress, while Cayetano actively participated in the proceedings. As she was complaining about the new seating arrangement, Cayetano sat beside her and also joked about the situation. “Baka lumipat na ako sa minority,” Senator Binay, who is part of the new majority bloc in the chamber, said in jest. READ MORE...ALSO AT THE SENATE: De Lima says probe on narco slays set...

ALSO: When Punisher and Fiscalizer meet
[RELATED: Twitter deluge during Duterte’s SONA]


JULY 27 -THE WARMTH of their handshake quickly melted the ice between The Punisher and The Fiscalizer. In one of the standout sidelights at Monday’s historic affair, President Duterte extended his hand to Sen. Leila de Lima as he walked toward the stage for his first State of the Nation Address (Sona).
It was an “unexpected” gesture between two officials who have, on many occasions, crossed swords on human rights issues. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, De Lima recalled the moment in detail, as if replaying the rare encounter in slow motion. She said it was only her third time to see Duterte, aka The Punisher, face to face even as they often had tense exchanges in the media. “Of course, I was surprised,” the senator said. “When (Duterte) arrived, he was walking toward me (but) I really did not notice him looking. He just glanced (my way). I didn’t even know how to show my face, so I just smiled a little,” De Lima said. The senator was the only official on the front row whom President Duterte approached on his way to the rostrum at the Congress session hall, before he delivered his hour-and-a-half speech. Made a face The President passed her by, De Lima said, “but he came back and extended his hand. Of course I was surprised, so I shook his hand. He didn’t say anything. He just looked at me straight in the eye and with a little smile, and so I smiled (back). And I could only say ‘Hi, sir.’” After that brief encounter, Duterte continued on his way casually, before briefly turning his head to look back at the senator. Then he made a face, an expression caught on camera. READ MORE...RELATED, Twitter deluge during Duterte’s SONA...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

‘Busy’ VP wants to be LP titular head only


Vice President Leni Robredo INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA,
AUGUST 1, 2016 (INQUIRER)  By: Julliane Love De Jesus @JLDejesusINQ 05:21 PM July 26th, 2016 - Vice President Leni Robredo does not want to be given a leadership post in the Liberal Party (LP) as she is busy adjusting to her new roles as the country’s second in command and housing chair.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Robredo said if she would be given a high position in the erstwhile ruling party, she would rather be a titular head of the party.

“That’s my preference. I just feel that I have too much in my hands right now—iyong pagpalit ng mukha ng Office of the Vice President ay napakalaking bagay kasi para kaming nagsisimula ng isang bagay na wala pa diyan before,” she said.

Making the OVP “more advocacy heavy” and the increasing housing concerns her office received had been keeping her busy, she said.

READ MORE...

Robredo ran under the LP, backed by the Aquino administration, with its standard-bearer Mar Roxas. Roxas finished second and lost to President Rodrigo Duterte with over six million votes.

“Ako parati ko namang sinasabi na I will be there pero iyong constitution kasi ng partido ang nagsasabi na iyong highest elected official ang magiging head ng party pero ang sabi ko pag-usapan kasi baka puwede namang head ka ng party pero mas ceremonial,” she said.

Adding that she had been a member of LP only in 2013, Robredo said there were more experienced and veteran members who could take over the party leadership.

“Siguro eventually I can take it on pero ngayon siguro mas mabuti na iyong mga matatagal na, iyong mga nakakaalam ng ins and outs ng partido sila iyong mag-take muna ng leadership role,” she said./rga

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

VP Robredo under fire for Naga flight Written by Charlie V. Manalo Thursday, 28 July 2016 00:00


PHOTO CAME WITH THE TRIBUNE NEWS REPORT...(PHNO)

De La Salle University Law Professor Antonio Contreras yesterday criticized Robredo for allegedly using a chartered private plane to attend a function in Naga City last July 23 which was in direct contrast to the image she had been trying to project ever since – a simple barrio lass who’d rather take a bus to and from her hometown in Bicol.

Contreras posted a picture of Robredo having just alighted from a private plane as she is being welcomed by a military officer.

“I knew it. There will come a time when she will no longer ride a bus but would prefer to take an airplane. And that is a private plane. And she cannot say it’s because she’s crossing the sea. She’s just going to Bicol,” Contreras stated in his Facebook account.

Last Saturday, Robredo went to Camp Elias Angeles in Pili, Camarines Sur, to meet with mayors, barangay captains, members of the Rotary Club in the province. In the picture posted by Contreras, Robredo was shown being welcomed by Maj. Gen. Ferdinand . Quidilla, Commander of the 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, Philippine Army as she alighted from a private plane.

“Here is the event that was attended by Robredo where she used a chartered private plane. This is in contrast to her usual practice (at least that is what she made us believe) that she always takes the bus going to Bicol,” Contreras posted as caption to the photo.

“It is now clear that she went to Bicol on an official capacity,” he added.

Contreras said there are at least three issues Robredo has to clarify on the use of the chartered plane: If she used government funds, then she would have contradicted President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to government officials to fly economy class in commercial flights.

If the Vice President used her own money, then she would have contradicted her image of being simple in her lifestyle, he noted.

“Besides it will make one ask further where would she get the money. Renting private planes is expensive. Time to look at her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth,” Contreras said, adding “if somebody paid for it, then it raises the question of ethics, not to mention possible conflict of interests.

“She is now a government official as HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council) head. While the President ordered the Cabinet and other officials to take economy when flying, Robredo took a private plane,” said Contreras.

“It behooves one to ask who paid for the rental of the plane,” he stressed.

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR (JULY 3, 2016)

Leni takes bus ride back to Naga By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 3, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


NO VIP TREATMENT FOR LENI: Vice-president aspirant and Camarines Sur Third District Representative Leni Robredo was spotted riding a bus on their way home to Naga for Holy Week break. Leni (leftmost first row) was accompanied by her daughters Aika (leftmost second row), Tricia (rightmost second row), and Jillian (rightmost first row). Photo by: Jillian Robredo's Instagram

MANILA, Philippines - She took the bus home when she was a mayor’s wife and a congresswoman, and now that she is the vice president, Leni Robredo still intends to take the bus back to her hometown in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

Last Friday, together with her children, staff and security personnel, Robredo left Metro Manila and spent the night aboard a bus en route to Naga City.

Security concerns were raised over such trips after Robredo won the vice presidential race. But her staff said that she and her family have adequate security with them during the trip.

Speaking to reporters in her hometown yesterday where she was set to attend a series of activities, Robredo admitted that her trips would not be as often as before, as it would be costly for her office.

Explaining her decision to ride the bus, the Vice President said taking the plane would entail similar security preparations but would have been more expensive.

“They have a required number (of security personnel) who should be with us. When I learned about it, I said let’s just take a bus because it is cheaper. If they allowed me to take the plane without company, I will take the plane. But whether I take the plane or the bus, I need to have someone with me,” Robredo said.

Robredo’s late husband Jesse, former mayor of Naga City and interior and local government secretary, used to take the bus to their home province to save money and to spend time with the other commuters.

On Friday, Robredo met President Duterte for the first time during the military’s turnover of command at the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ headquarters in Quezon City.

Asked about the meeting, Robredo admitted she felt relieved that the Chief Executive did not ignore her.

“I was expecting the worst, that he would ignore me. I was preparing myself for it,” Robredo told reporters in Filipino.

“…I had apprehensions... (But) he was nice the entire time,” she added.

Following their victory in the May 9 elections, Duterte appeared to have shunned the Vice President, with his team requesting for a separate inauguration due to space limitations at the venue in Malacañang.

He also declined to give her a Cabinet post, saying he did not want to hurt Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who lost by a small margin to Robredo.

“I am really happy,” she said when asked about the photos that showed her smiling widely beside the President. “I think it manifested my happiness that my fears (of being ignored) did not happen and the meeting exceeded expectations.”

The Vice President said the conversation was light and cordial, recalling an instance when the President offered his coco water to her, an exchange that was photographed and received positively online.

Robredo said she was hopeful that the meeting would be a first step toward harmonious and cordial relations between the two of them being the father and mother of the nation.

Saying their teams are currently discussing a formal meeting at the soonest possible time, Robredo noted: “For the country, I think we need to have a healthy working relationship.”

But despite the icebreaker, Robredo said she still does not expect to have a Cabinet post under the Duterte administration.

“I am ready that I won’t have a post. In fact, we already have a lot of discussions with the private sector,” she said.

Robredo said they are eyeing the establishment of satellite offices in several parts of the country to streamline the provision of services to Filipinos.

FLASHBACK (APRIL 16, 2016)

I can’t imagine living like a ‘big-time politician,’ says RobredoSHARES: 874 VIEW COMMENTS
By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo
@KSabilloINQ
INQUIRER.net
10:23 PM April 7th, 2016


Riding a passenger bus on her way home to Naga City is something you cannot take away from Camarines Sur representative and vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo.
At least according to her. Robredo, during an INQ & A on Facebook on Thursday, said she would “have to insist on maintaining [her] core” if she won in the May elections. “Nakikita ko ngayon mga big-time pulitiko having a life like that. Na gusto bang sabihin hindi na ako makaka-bus? Gusto bang sabihin ’di na ako makaka-Uber o makaka-taxi,” she said. “It doesn’t follow diba?”

FULL REPORT INQUIRER ONLINE -http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/778325/i-cant-imagine-living-like-a-big-time-politician-says-robredo


INQUIRER

Messy fight for Minority Leader in House to reach SC - LP exec Erice By: Gil C. Cabacungan
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 07:32 PM July 26th, 2016


House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA — The messy fight for Minority Leader in the 17th Congress is expected to reach the Supreme Court if Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez would recognize Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez instead of the duly elected winner Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said the majority coalition should respect the rules and recognize the votes of the eight lawmakers who chose Baguilat in the Speakership race on July 25 to avoid an embarrassing clash in the high court.

Erice said that Suarez clearly lost the battle for the minority post because he only had seven votes.

Erice also noted that Suarez was technically not a minority member because he voted for Alvarez as Speaker.

Supposedly, the second highest vote-getter in the election for Speaker automatically gets to be the Minority Leader.

Erice claimed that the majority was trying to manipulate the results by refusing to recognize Baguilat as the minority leader and allowing the minority bloc to conduct another vote just enable Suarez to win.

READ MORE...


Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Photo from congress.gov.ph

“There were 17 who abstained from the Speaker’s election and are automatically part of the minority. But we believe that their plan is to have only two of the abstaining congressmen to vote for Suarez with the rest going back to the majority,” said Erice.

Erice noted that Alvarez has so far appointed only five Deputy Speakers with the last slot reserved for the Party-list bloc coalition whose members made up most of those who abstained.
Erice said this ploy has only made the majority’s scheme “more obvious and patently illegal.”

“We will not tolerate this gross manipulation of the votes and we believe that the SC will vote in our favor,” said Erice.

Baguilat said that Congress has suffered from the majority’s dirty tricks. “We cannot organize our committee without the participation of the minority. Congress cannot function until they resolve the issue,” said Baguilat. SFM

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Super Majority’ bars Baguilat from assuming House Minority Leader post
July 26, 2016 8:47 pm


From three to nearly 300. The Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the political party of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, has cobbled together a “supermajority” coalition in the incoming 17th Congress less than three weeks after the May 9 elections. Incoming Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez said PDP-Laban was close to achieving its goal of creating one of the biggest coalitions in Congress’ history after taking in 37 House members from the independent party-coalition bloc in the 17th Congress. COURTESY OF THE INQUIRER

The ‘Super Majority’ in the House of Representatives flexed muscle Tuesday night and refused to recognize the election of Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat as House Minority Floor Leader.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte abruptly moved to adjourn the session around 8 p.m. on Tuesday after three hours of debate over whether the Liberal Party’s (LP) Baguilat should sit as House Minority Leader.

Fariñas belongs to PDP-Laban, the leader of the “Super Majority” coalition in the House of Representatives.

Fariñas insisted on his interpretation of House rules that all those who did not vote for Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte should form the Minority and elect the House Minority Leader among themselves.

“They did not vote for Baguilat to be the House Minority Leader. They voted for him for the Speakership. Those two are totally different,” Fariñas argued.

Baguilat edged out Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez of the United Nationalist Alliance in the race for second place, 8 votes against 7.


Baguilat

Under House rules, the second-highest vote-getter in the speakership race gets to sit as House Minority Leader.
Baguilat voted for himself, while Suarez voted for Alvarez.

At least 21 lawmakers from PDP-Laban, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, National Unity Party and the party-list bloc abstained from voting in the speakership race even if these parties signed a coalition agreement with PDP-Laban to form the “Super Majority” under Alvarez, a top ally of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Fariñas was adamant that his opinion was right even if the House rules reads: “members who choose not to align themselves with the Majority or the Minority shall be considered as independent Members of the House. They may, however, choose to join the Majority or the Minority upon written request to and approval thereof by the Majority or the Minority, as the case may be.”

Fariñas then admitted that he had allowed those who abstained from voting to circulate a note calling for a convention among non-Alvarez voters on Wednesday, July 27 at 10 a.m. in the Batasang Pambansa, to settle the House Minority leadership.

But for Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Baguilat is the House Minority Leader.

“It is indubitable and uncontestable that Representative Baguilat Jr. is the new Minority Leader. As the runner-up candidate for Speaker, by tradition and practice he is automatically the Minority Leader, having garnered more votes than the other candidate for Speaker, the Hon. Danilo Suarez,” Lagman said in a privilege speech.

“Representative Suarez has disqualified himself from seeking the position of Minority Leader because he unequivocally voted for Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez,” Lagman added.

Lagman then cited that Section 8, Rule 2 of the Rules of the House provides that “Members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker shall constitute the Majority in the House.”

Lagman also belied Suarez’s claims that he could not vote for himself under House rules, noting that in the 16th Congress, then San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora voted for himself in the speakership race.

Zamora eventually won versus then Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez by three votes, 19 to 16.

“With due respect, the opinion of the Majority Leader [Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte] that those who abstained are members of the Minority find no anchorage in the Rules of the House. Such interpretation is virtually compelling those who abstained to belong to the Minority,” Lagman said.

“This construction violates both the spirit and phraseology of the rules. Moreover, the Minority Leader had already been elected by the members of the Minority when they cast their votes for the contenders for the Speakership.

The Majority Leader must perforce recognize Representative Baguilat Jr. as the Minority Leader,” Lagman said. LLANESCA T. PANTI  LP/CC


MANILA BULLETIN

Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez elected House Minority Leader by Charissa Luci July 27, 2016 (updated) Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share117


Minority leader cong. Danilo Suarez (KJ ROSALES)

Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez was elected as the House Minority Leader amid the absence of the group of Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., who got more votes than him during the voting for Speakership on Monday.

A total of 25 lawmakers showed up for the election of the House Minority Leader, 22 of whom voted in favor of Suarez and three lawmakers—AKO BICOL partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe, AAMBIS-Owa party-list Rep. Sharon Garin and Isabela Rep. Lourdes Aggabao — abstained from voting.

Garin, who facilitated the meeting, said Baguilat’s group has been invited to attend the election, but failed to show up.

In his acceptance speech, Suarez vowed to lead a “constructive” House opposition bloc that would support the Duterte administration’s pro-people measures, but at the same time, ensure the checks and balances in the government.

“We are a constructive minority. We will support measures that will bring progress to the country,” he said, citing the crucial role of the House Minority bloc in ensuring transparency and accountability in the bureaucracy.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Minority post feud drives wedge in House Written by Charlie V. Manalo and Gerry Baldo Thursday, 28 July 2016 00:00

EARLIER NEWS VIDEO: BAGUILAT INTERVIEW JULY 26, 2016

 

House members lambasted the chamber’s leadership for ramming into their throats a minority bloc that was established by the so-called super majority of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

According to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman the assumption of Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez as the minority leader had bastardized the election process of the House.

“That is a fake Minority [bloc]. We [Baguilat bloc] are the authentic Minority. We are very disappointed and disgusted that the process of electing a Minority Leader has been bastardized because a coopted Minority Leader has been chosen by a renegade group of abstentionists who are not even members of the Minority bloc,” Lagman said in a press conference yesterday.

During a caucus by lawmakers who were considered members of the Minority as they were not among those who voted for Alvarez, Suarez secured the support of 22 lawmakers out of the 25 solons who attended the group’s meeting.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, who was voted by seven other lawmakers aside from himself, boycotted the proceedings. According to AAMBIS OWA Rep. Sharon Garin who initially presided over the meeting, there were 39 lawmakers who did not vote for Alvarez, making all of them eligible as members of the Minority.

Garin, along with Reps. Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol Party-list) and Ma. Lourdes Aggabao (Isabela).

Suarez and Baguilat Jr. were the two members of the minority who vied for the Speakership which was lately won by Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez. During the election, Baguilat placed second after gathering eight votes while, while Suarez was only able to secure the support of seven lawmakers.

Lagman, was one of the eight who voted for Baguilat during the speakership race on the first day of the 17th congress on July 25.


IFUGAO Rep. Teddy Baguilat of the Liberal Party became the surprise minority floor leader after getting more votes than Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez. ANOTAO ONLINE NEWS JULY 26, 2016

Baguilat got the second highest number of votes, which would eventually land him as the minority leader.

Suarez, the alleged candidate of the majority for the minority leadership, only got seven.

“Suarez was elected by a group of abstentionists (those who abstained) who have coalesced with the Super Majority [on paper]. As majority allies, they cannot choose a Minority leader,” Lagman added.

Lagman and Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza also posited that Suarez does not have the legal personality to lead the minority or even be part of the bloc because he had voted for Alvarez. Under the rules those who voted for the winning speaker would form part of the majority bloc.

“Rep. Suarez cannot aspire for or be minority leader because after voting for Speaker Alvarez, he is considered to belong to the majority,” Lagman said.

“There is Super Majority because the Minority is with them. Suarez cannot function as fiscalizer because he voted for the Speaker,” Daza added.

Baguilat, for his part, stressed that their lack of numbers does not make their eight-strong group less authentic of a Minority bloc.

Baguilat cited that for one, Suarez couldn’t be the lead fiscalizer in Congress being the principal author of the pet bills of the Duterte administration namely: restoration of death penalty and granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to resolve traffic jams in Metro Manila.

“Does Rep. Suarez have the moral ascendancy to be the lead fiscalizer here? We did not have illusions of winning the House Minority Leader post, but surprisingly, we won. Having said that, I will continue being the fiscalizer here,” Baguilat said.

“We are the real and genuine Minority and we have the mandate to be the conscience of this Congress,” Baguilat added.

The Alvarez-led House yesterday conducted a separate election for the minority leader where the 22 of the 25 lawmakers who abstained from voting during the speakership, were allowed to vote for the post.

Earlier, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, insisted that all those who did not vote for the winning candidate for Speakership would have to elect a Minority leader among themselves.

Among the 22 who voted for Suarez as the House Minority Leader on Tuesday morning include: himself, Reps. Harry Roque of Kabayan party-list; Lito Atienza of Buhay party-list; Monsour del Rosario and Luis Campos of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA); Delphine Lee of Agri party-list; Orestes Salon of Agri party-list; Anna Villaraza Suarez of Alona party-list; Harlin Abayon of Aangat Tayo; Arlene Arcillas of Laguna; Joseph Bernos of Abra; Oscar Garbin of Ako Bicol party-list, Abigail Ferriol-Pascual of Kalinga; Eugene de Vera of ABS party-list; Julieta Cortuna of A-Teacher party-list; Arnel Cerafica of Taguig-Pateros; Anthony Bravo of Coop-Natcco; Aniceto Bertiz of Acts-OFW; Amanda Bagatsing of Manila; Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat of Laguna; and Cecila Chavez of Butil party-list.

Of these 22 who voted for Suarez on Wednesday morning, 11 of them abstained from voting for the Speakership on Monday: Abayon, Alonte-Naguiat, Arcillas, Bagatsing, Bertiz, Bravo, Cerafica, Cortuna, de Vera, Ferriol and Garbin.

Alonte, Arcillas, Bagatsing, Cerafica are from PDP-Laban but did not vote for their party-mate and eventual Speaker Alvarez last Monday.

Moreover, the three who abstained on Wednesday voting namely Reps. Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA party-list, Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol and Ma. Lourdes Aggabao of Isabela also abstained from the Speakership race voting last Monday even if the party-list coalition (of which Batocabe and Aggabao belongs to) and Nationalist People’s Coalition (of which Aggabao is a member of) signed a coalition agreement with the PDP-Laban to form a ‘Super Majority’ led by Alvarez in the House of Representatives.

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano who voted for Baguilat also questioned the alleged rigging of the minority leadership.
“How come members of parties who inked coalition agreement with PDP-Laban did not vote for Rep. Alvarez [for Speakership]?. We pretending that we have a Minority bloc here but we [the Baguilat bloc] are the authentic Minority,” Alejano said.

House rules favor Suarez

Based on House rules, those who abstained can choose later whether to join the majority or to be part of the minority bloc.
Baguilat’s camp had been insisting Suarez forfeited his chance to be elected as Minority Leader having voted for Alvarez. As such, Baguilat’s camp claims Suarez had become part of the majority.

However, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza demolished Baguilat’s argument saying that following their line, Alvarez, who abstained in the election, should also be disqualified as Speaker as he did not vote for the winning nominee, himself.


CURRENT HOUSE SPEAKER PANTALEON ALVAREZ

Baguilat’s camp also insists the Ifugao congressman should be proclaimed Minority Leader by virtue of his placing second in the Speakership election last Monday.

In a press briefing after Suarez’s election, Baguilat’s camp averred they were taking the matters before the Supreme Court (SC).

However, Atienza said the Baguilat camp had agreed to the rule that members of the minority would elect among themselves their lewder, instead of simply proclaiming the second placer when they did not object to the rules as clarified by Fariñas last Monday.

Fariñas, the then acting majority floor responded to Atienza’s query, explained that based on existing House rules those who didn’t vote for the winning candidate will be automatically be part of the minority, and will later select their respective leader

Fariñas explained that those will are entitled to vote for the minority leadership where the solons who voted for the losing speaker contenders.

Desperately trying to discredit Suarez’s election, the camp of Bagulat, all members of the Liberal Party (LP) accused the new minority bloc of being a company union subservient to the whims and wishes of the majority.

But Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque slammed Baguilat and his group “for wanting “to have their cake and it, too.”

“Most of those in the Majority now are the ones who jumped ship from LP. They want to enjoy the perks of being in the Majority, while at the same time they want to lord over Minority by having one their members elected as Minority Leader,” he said.

“Had LP controlled the minority, it would have been as if they are still the ruling party in Congress. They had their day for the last six years. The ruling party should be PDP-Laban, the party of the President,” he added.

In a press conference after the election of Suarez, Roque said he joined the Minority because his stand on certain issues ran counter to that of the members of the Majority.

“I do not agree with the death penalty, I do not see the benefits of federalism, I do not agree with the death penalty, I do not agree with lowering the age of criminal responsibility. That is why I voted for the minority. Why did I not vote for Rep. Baguilat? Because Baguilat, (Albay Rep. Edcel) Lagman, (Northern Samar Rep. Raul) Daza are all members of Liberal Party whom I fought for the last six years. Why will I join them?” he said.


INQUIRER

A funny thing happened to Nancy at the Senate session hall By: Maila Ager @MAgerINQ
INQUIRER.net 05:32 PM July 26th, 2016


Nancy Binay. INQUIRER PHOTO / ELOISA LOPEZ

SENATOR Nancy Binay was dismayed when she found out on Tuesday that she would be seated at the Senate session hall with her two colleagues who had accused her father, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, of amassing unexplained wealth.

“Nakakaloka! Ibang level ng powers ito,” Binay said when she found out that she would be sitting next to Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. Beside Cayetano would be Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Trillanes initiated the Senate inquiry into corruption allegations against the former Vice President during the 16th Congress, while Cayetano actively participated in the proceedings.

As she was complaining about the new seating arrangement, Cayetano sat beside her and also joked about the situation.

“Baka lumipat na ako sa minority,” Senator Binay, who is part of the new majority bloc in the chamber, said in jest.

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Cayetano also joked about their seating arrangement when interviewed by reporters outside the session hall.

“Hindi ko lang alam kung pinaparusahan nila ako today or pinaparusahan nila yung dalawa kong seatmates dahil ginitna ako kay Senator Binay at Senator Trillanes,” he said.

“So tinatanong ko sa kanila, ako ba ang pinaparusahan nyo or pinaparushan nyo ba yung dalawang katabi ko. E temporary lang naman daw. At nagtawanan naman kami ni Senator Binay,” Cayetano added.

Asked if he would request a change in their seating arrangements, Cayetano again said in jest: “Naunahan na ako e, nagpalipat na yung iba bago ako.”

Cayetano and Trillanes ran against each other in the last May vice presidential race. Both lost to Vice President Leni Robredo./ac/rga

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ALSO FROM THE TRIBUNE, AT THE SENATE,

De Lima says probe on narco slays set
Written by Angie M. Rosales Thursday, 28 July 2016 00:00


DE LIMA

Witnesses, family members of alleged victims of summary executions in relation to the ongoing crackdown on the illegal drugs trade are set to take the center stage in the Senate investigation on extrajudicial killings set in the middle of next month.

“We will highlight certain cases. I don’t know yet how many cases will become the representative cases. The factual details and circumstances of the case, of course, we will present that with the witnesses, family members,” Sen. Leila de Lima told reporters.

“We have a tentative list of invitees and resource speakers but I’m afraid that I cannot share that with you at this point,” she added.

When a reporter tried to solicit information on the possibility of high officials being called to attend, possibly Philippine National Police (PNP) Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, De Lima declined to give a categorical answer.

“I can’t really say right now,” she said.

The senator who initiated the move to inquire into the ongoing operations of the PNP to crackdown drug users and pushers in the light of the rising incidence of killings, had been tasked to be at the helm of the proceedings after her committee on justice and human rights, in joint with the committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

De Lima said she remains unsure if they will carry out a joint or separate proceedings as the Rules of the Senate does not prevent this from happening although when it comes to the submission of the panel report, the primary committee will take precedence.

“Whether or not it’s joint or not, the plenary would be the primary committee although it is possible to submit reports and recommendations from the second committee. If it’s a joint hearing, it will be a joint report and recommendation or even if it’s also a joint hearing there’s also a possibility of a separate report and recommendation from the second committee. I’m open to either. I’m open to either joint or separate (hearings) although it would be better if it will be joint (proceedings),” De Lima said.

In a text message to reporters, Lacson remains adamant in not having the Senate dip its fingers into the issue.

Lacson opposes probe


LACSON

“I still maintained that the Senate is not the proper venue to investigate the specific cases of possible extrajudicial killings. I do not want to break the unprecedented momentum and heavy gains of the law enforcement against illegal drugs in our country. I may participate if only to put on record my views and opinion on the matter,” he said.

De Lima plans to sort out differences with Lacson on this matter.

“(We will talk) very soon. Although not today and possibly not tomorrow. Earliest would be Monday but we can always coordinate even before Monday,” the neophyte senator said, explaining that she intends to kick off the inquiry either by second or third week of August.

De Lima said she does not see any problem working with Lacson in carrying out the investigation, even if they have opposing views on the need for the Senate to get into the picture at this point in time, citing the contradicting figures coming from the PNP public information office and those being reported in the media.

“The CHR (Commission on Human Rights) is also compiling its own cases. They also have their own figures. We wanted to know, among others, how many died so far. Also, we will be highlighting specific cases, where we think the surrounding circumstances on the killings especially during police operations, legitimate or otherwise, ay suspicious of circumstances or there are signs of summary execution,” she said.

“My staff is already doing that, in preparation for the hearing, we will be going to identify, or showcase, or highlight representative cases which we believe have indications of something being wrong or there were signs of executions,” she said.

“Let me clarify that I’m not saying right now that there are such cases. The investigations has one thrust, to look at suspicious or questionable cases where there are signs of summary execution,” she said.

De Lima, however, refused to provide details on what specific cases will be taken up by her committee in the course of the investigation.


INQUIRER

When Punisher and Fiscalizer meet By: Tarra Quismundo @TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:46 AM July 27th, 2016


SONA SIDELIGHT Sen. Leila de Lima and President Duterte may be at loggerheads when it comes to the issue of human rights, but a warm handshake just before the President’s first State of the Nation Address on Monday shows there’s nothing personal in their attacks against each other. PRESIDENTIAL PHOTOGRAPHERS DIVISION

THE WARMTH of their handshake quickly melted the ice between The Punisher and The Fiscalizer.

In one of the standout sidelights at Monday’s historic affair, President Duterte extended his hand to Sen. Leila de Lima as he walked toward the stage for his first State of the Nation Address (Sona).

It was an “unexpected” gesture between two officials who have, on many occasions, crossed swords on human rights issues.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, De Lima recalled the moment in detail, as if replaying the rare encounter in slow motion.

She said it was only her third time to see Duterte, aka The Punisher, face to face even as they often had tense exchanges in the media.

“Of course, I was surprised,” the senator said. “When (Duterte) arrived, he was walking toward me (but) I really did not notice him looking. He just glanced (my way). I didn’t even know how to show my face, so I just smiled a little,” De Lima said.

The senator was the only official on the front row whom President Duterte approached on his way to the rostrum at the Congress session hall, before he delivered his hour-and-a-half speech.

Made a face

The President passed her by, De Lima said, “but he came back and extended his hand. Of course I was surprised, so I shook his hand. He didn’t say anything. He just looked at me straight in the eye and with a little smile, and so I smiled (back). And I could only say ‘Hi, sir.’”

After that brief encounter, Duterte continued on his way casually, before briefly turning his head to look back at the senator. Then he made a face, an expression caught on camera.

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“It was a childish smirk,” De Lima said. “It’s just him being naughty. As our fellow Bedans have said, he’s (always) been like that,” said the lawmaker, Mr. Duterte’s junior at the San Beda law school.

For De Lima, the gesture was the President’s way of dispelling “some notion that we are mortal enemies.”

The senator said she was taking the smirk “positively, in the sense that it could be a warm, friendly gesture, sort of an ice breaker.”

Matter of principle

She added: “On my part, I never take anything personally and I never take him personally. Maybe it’s the same for him. By that gesture, he was able to show that he does not take things personally even if we don’t agree on some serious matters. That’s how I interpret it,” De Lima said.

The President may have just wanted to show that “even if we have differences on certain issues, as a matter of principle—because I have my own beliefs, I have my own advocacies, [and] he has his own principles, beliefs and advocacies for governance—we don’t take things personally,” the senator said.

At loggerheads

Mr. Duterte and De Lima have long been at loggerheads on certain issues, among them human rights.

During her stint as justice secretary, the former chair of the Commission on Human Rights had pursued an investigation of summary executions attributed to the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group to which Duterte had been implicated. The investigation fizzled out for lack of evidence.

At the height of the election campaign in May, Mr. Duterte had famously told De Lima through the media to “shut up!” and threatened to file charges against her for her alleged failure to stop the drug trade within the walls of the national penitentiary when she was justice secretary.

Summary executions

More recently, De Lima called for a Senate inquiry into the spate of killings of alleged drug pushers and crime suspects in police operations, saying certain cases bore the hallmarks of summary executions.

In response, members of the Duterte Cabinet accused De Lima of coddling drug convicts at the New Bilibid Prison, charges which the senator had denied.

Asked whether some Bedan schoolmates were trying to patch things up between her and the President, De Lima said some had expressed concern about the perception that they are enemies.

“But that’s just the impression of many [people], [that] I’m supposed to be (Duterte’s) nemesis, that we are fighting. But our fellow Bedans know that’s not the case,” she said.

WATCH VIDEO:

 

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Twitter deluge during Duterte’s SONA by MB Online July 26, 2016 Share2 Tweet1 Share0 Email0 Share13

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte once again achieved another Twitter milestone when his State of the Nation Address (SONA) generated over 280,000 tweets during the two-hour live TV broadcast on Monday (July 25, 2016).

Twitter reported that from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Filipinos around the world shared their thoughts and reactions while the president enumerated his program of government.

Twitter action for #SONA2016 peaked at over 3,000 Tweets per minute when Duterte talked about the implementation of Reproductive Health Law at around 4:29pm.

“The ability to connect, comment and discuss with others in real-time, especially on a significant event like the President’s first State of the Nation Address is important for the Filipino democracy,” said Pratiksha Rao, Head of Media Partnerships, Twitter Southeast Asia. “This is why we are honored to partner with the current administration and empower them with the necessary platform and tools to make its digital governance efforts possible within and beyond the country’s borders.”

READ MORE...

The Duterte campaign is best remembered for cultivating a horde of passionate social media supporters ready to defend him from critics and correct any misimpressions, or answer black propaganda hurled at him.

The most number of retweets were posts made by Duterte supporters in showbusiness and politics, among them: Bongbong Marcos, Vice Ganda, Coleen Garcia, among others.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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