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House chose 12 deputy speakers to test waters for federalism; GMA elected as one



The House of Representatives chose 12 deputy speakers to represent the federal states that President Rodrigo Duterte aspires to have under a new Constitution.

According to Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said that this is the House’s way of testing the viability of federal states.

“Since the Duterte administration is into federalism and we’re looking at the possible creation of the states… so we thought that perhaps, we could try if it is viable here at the House to divide ourselves into like federal states,” Fariñas said.

“And then politically, we can see the grouping… for more efficient harnessing and coordination of members,” he added.

Fariñas said raising the number of deputy speakers was brought up during the supermajority coalition’s first caucus on August 2. He added that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and the members of the majority bloc agreed with the proposal.

As for the grouping of the regions, geography will only be just one of the factors to consider.

“Ang thrust kasi ni Speaker Alvareez – and I think ni President Duterte rin – is hindi na yung dating political boundaries ang susundin dito because there’s the apprehension of many people na baka hindi na mag-survive ang states na yan. So you have to regroup them in such a way na may mayayaman at mahihirap,” Fariñas said.

On allegations that adding more deputy speakers is a way accommodating administration allies, Fariñas dismissed such allegations and said that this serves as a trial method on how a federal government will function.

“Sa amin, trial balloon na rin [ito] on how we can work because before we even go into the hard division or boundaries of all these areas, mabuti na yung political muna. Tingnan kung politically viable,” he said.

He added, “This will be very good also considering we’re putting up something like this (federal form of government) eh di subukan muna. Baka dito pa lang hindi na kami magkasundo… At least makikita naming dito [kung ano ang mangyayari] and we can adjust.”

But what’s the function of the deputy speakers?

Fariñas said they will preside over the plenary sessions if the House Speaker is not available and take charge in determining their regions’ concerns regarding the shift to federalism and Charter change.

He said having 12 deputy speakers will be beneficial if the Congress decides to convene as a constitutional convention for the revision of the 1987 Constitution.

“If we go into con-ass, sila rin ang magtutulong-tulong. Mas madaling maha-harness ang grupo dahil clearer ang boundaries,” Fariñas added.


GMA is appointed deputy speaker

Former President and Pampanga 2nd Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was appointed as one of the 12 deputy speakers of the House of Representatives.

“I’m a deputy speaker. Yes, yes,” Arroyo told reporters in an ambush interview at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center when she donated dialysis equipment.

Arroyo said she was chosen as the deputy speaker of the Central Luzon bloc.

The Inquirer quoted her saying, “We had our lunch together and our president (Bulacan Rep. Linabelle) Villarica said she told our fellow members, we would like to nominate our former President to be represented as (deputy) speaker. Okay, okay, approve, approve!”

The 12 lawmakers elected as House deputy speakers include Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Ilocos Rep. Eric Singson, Negros Occidental Rep. Mercedes Alvarez, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, Davao Rep. Mylene Garcia Albano, Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, Aambis OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin, Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, and South Cotabato Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez.

House Deputy Speakers

Under a federal government, the country will be divided into autonomous states that will govern with their own laws, development, finances, infrastructure, industries, culture, and education.

Militants consider Arroyo’s appointment as “gross”

Reacting to Arroyo’s new post, Bayan’s Renato Reyes said it was “gross.”

“Gloria Macapagala Arroyo as House Deputy Speaker? Gross. Change is coming? Apparently not in Congress,” he said. also quoted him saying that Arroyo’s appointment, “shows how it’s business as usual at the Lower House and how reactionary politics is indeed the norm. One can cheat in the polls, engage in corruption, and still find oneself atop one of the three branches of government. One can plunder the nation and commit atrocities and still get state honors when buried. Wow. Just another day in Philippine politics.”

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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