In The News
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should quit as congresswoman of Pampanga’s 2nd District now that she is facing electoral sabotage charges before a local court, a lawmaker said Tuesday.
In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said Arroyo will be unable to function effective in Congress “considering her prolonged detention due to the string of serious, unbailable charges that she faces.”
He also said Arroyo brought “embarrassment and dishonor” to the House of Representatives after she was charged with manipulating the results of the 2007 election.
“Therefore she should now do the House and her constituents a favor by resigning from Congress,” he said.
Casiño said a special election can then be called in her district so the people can elect a working, suitable representative in Congress.
Another party-list lawmaker, Alliance of Concerned Teachers’ Rep. Antonio Tinio, also echoed Casiño’s call for Arroyo to resign.
Tinio said Arroyo’s “culpable actions as President have long rendered her unfit for public service; her present incarceration renders it impracticable.”
Meanwhile, Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan said it would be up to Arroyo to resign. She criticized the alleged VIP treatment of Arroyo, particularly the hospital arrest of the former president.
Ilagan said Arroyo’s prosecution is the only way for impunity to end.
Her fellow lawmaker, Gabriela Rep. Emmy de Jesus, said she wants President Aquino to know and feel their sentiments supporting the quick prosecution of cases against Arroyo.
Separately, Akbayan lawmakers slammed any possible moves by Arroyo’s allies to accord Arroyo some protection.
“The people’s right to justice must take precedence over the right of a single individual. The Minority should stop treating this House as if it were a shelter for crooks, plunderers, and criminals,” Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-ao said in a statement.
Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello argued that Gloria has no right to special treatment.
“A hospital arrest is better than protective custody. But if there is fear of real threats to her well being, the DOJ can simply increase its complement of PNP and DOJ personnel providing security for her,” Bello said.
The party-list congressman also pointed out that it would be unwise to bring Arroyo to the Batasang Pambansa where she would be closer to her staunchest allies. ”At a time when all of Gloria’s escape routes are blocked off, bringing GMA to Congress would open a little window of opportunity for her to plot her final escape,” he said.
House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III earlier said the electoral sabotage case cannot be used to remove Arroyo as a member of the lower House since it involves allegations that supposedly occurred before she became a lawmaker.
He stressed that only after conviction by final judgment can Arroyo be removed from office.
In the meantime, Arroyo’s son and Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo may be designated a caretaker of his mother’s district, where he served before 2010. Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
ANG Galing Pinoy party-list Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo may be designated as the caretaker of the second district of Pampanga after her mother, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was placed under arrest.
Aside from the other three legislators representing Pampanga in the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Mikey Arroyo “can also qualify” considering that he held his mother’s position from 2004 to 2010 before he ran as a party-list congressman.
The three other representatives of Pampanga are Carmelo Lazatin (first district), Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales (third district), and Anna York Bondoc (fourth district).
“At the moment, she’s pretty much in control of the district and if she’d ever reach a point not to discharge her duties but still hold a position, we can assign a caretaker…She can still do things through her staff,” Belmonte told reporters in a press briefing Tuesday.
Belmonte issued the statement after some members of the progressive party-list bloc called for the resignation of former President Arroyo.
“Her arrest and trial for her string of cases will definitely prevent her from effectively fulfilling her duties in Congress. This is aside from the point that her continued membership further tarnishes the House’s honor,” Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino said in a text message.
For his part, ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio, said “it will become impossible” for Arroyo to discharge all her duties considering that the electoral sabotage case she is facing is only one of many charges she has to account for.
Belmonte, however, stressed that the presumption of innocence should be upheld. He said Arroyo’s colleagues should not demand her resignation considering the trial has not even started.
“But at any rate, resignation is always a personal matter and we cannot impose that,” he added.
Arroyo is currently under hospital arrest at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City after being implicated in the manipulation of the 2007 election results. She is facing non-bailable electoral sabotage charges and may face lifetime imprisonment.
House leaders say that if Arroyo is convicted in the courts, she will automatically be expelled from the House of Representatives.
Arroyo ran as the second district representative of Pampanga after her nine-year term as President.
Belmonte meanwhile said Arroyo will continue to receive her priority development assistance fund (PDAF) more popularly known as “pork barrel”.
“The pork barrel after all is for the good of the district and they should be released,” he said.(Sunnex)
WITH only a starting salary of $9,200 yearly, it is no wonder that university teachers are forced to leave the country to seek greener pastures, legislators said during World Teachers’ Day on Wednesday.
“Our teachers are among the least compensated in the region. Salaries of teachers in Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan almost doubled after 15 years of teaching experience while those in the Philippines receive a meager 10 to 15-percent increase,” Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzviminda Ilagan, who taught at Ateneo de Davao University for four decades, said.
Citing data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), the starting salary of Filipino teachers after 15 years only increased to $10,150. Their highest salary amounts to $10,930.
Countries like Korea and Japan provide starting salaries of at least $25,000 which may double or triple depending on years of teaching experience.
Ilagan said “not only is it a dishonor, it is also an injustice for our teachers to teach amid conditions of scarcity and slave-like compensation”.
A legislator also found the opportunity to call on President Benigno Aquino III to address problems in the education sector.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio meanwhile joined hundreds of public school teachers to protest the declining state subsidy to the education sector.
Together with the Cebu City teachers, Tinio attended the “Grand World Teachers Day Parade”, which commenced from Cebu Normal University to Fuente Osmena Circle.
“No appreciation would be greater than a higher priority given to education and its workers, not just formally but substantively through a higher budget,” he noted.
Tinio called on his fellow lawmakers to study, deliberate, and debate on the legislation of a new round of salary increases for government employees beginning 2013. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)
Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
By Jeffrey C. Tiangco
A TEACHERS’ party-list group together with youth and student group criticized the “elitist framework” of the Aquino government and Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro towardseducation and other social services.
The ACT Teachers party-list group urged members of the House of Representatives to remove funding from public-private partnership (PPP) schemes in the proposed 2012 national budget to finally resolve the shortages of infrastructure in education sector such as school buildings.
“Public infrastructure projects financed by PPPs will end up costing the taxpayers more,” ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio said in a statement.
Tinio cited the recent report Canada and United Kingdom which was published by the House of Commons Treasury Committee last month expressing serious doubts about PPPs scheme which has the effect of increasing the cost of finance for public investments relative to what would be available to the government if it borrowed on its own account.