The President clarifies the status of his health, while a draft federal constitution looks like it’s going nowhere. Here are some of the stories making the headlines today on ANC:
President Rodrigo Duterte spoke on his health on Tuesday and said he does not have cancer. Will this be enough to quash rumors on his health? The President also admitted he drinks at night despite being told to quit. On the policy side, the President said he may suspend excise taxes on oil to try to keep prices of goods down. Meanwhile, administration officials are issuing conflicting statements on the importation of rice. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President ordered the unimpeded importation of rice. Agriculture Sec. Manny Pinol, however, said there are still import requirements that would be imposed. The President also said he has yet to decide who will replace outgoing Chief Justice Teresita De Castro. The President is set to leave for Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday to attend ASEAN meetings with the IMF, World Bank and the United Nations.
Looking to 2019
The President revealed some Cabinet members running in next year’s elections. DFA Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano is planning to run for Taguig City congressman to replace sister Pia who is looking at making a comeback in the Senate. ABS-CBN sources said Philippine Ambassador to the UN Teddyboy Locsin will replace Cayetano at the DFA. Cayetano is said to be looking at a shot to be House Speaker. Other members of the Cabinet who Duterte said are running are TESDA chief Guiling Mamandiong, Agrarian Reform Sec John Castriciones, Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo is also being considered to run the Office of Press Secretary which, according to PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar, will be reconstituted.
Dead in the water
It looks like the draft federal constitution of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is dead in the water. Senate President Tito Sotto said they have no time to tackle the charter change measure, which is in the form of a Resolution of Both Houses. The Senate is set to go on a break on Oct. 13. Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon said the draft would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate. He also thumbed down the provision which excludes the Vice President in the presidential line of succession. Rep. Edcel Lagman also branded the draft as “flawed.” The House will have its regular plenary session at 3 p.m. and it would be interesting to see if the measure will move.
When elephants fight, the grass suffers, goes an African proverb. China has expressed concerns over a supposed US plan to hold naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea. The exercises are to be held at around the time Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the Philippines in November. Chinese Amb. Zhao Jianhua paid a courtesy call to President Duterte on Monday to voice these concerns. According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the President told the Chinese ambassador that the country will not take part in the military exercises. Roque did not elaborate on what these exercises are and there seems to be no US military exercise scheduled with Filipino troops next month. While in the country, Xi is expected to sign a joint exploration deal in the disputed sea.