Rep. Tulfo can't attend session, no voting power over pending DQ case


Posted at May 31 2023 10:09 AM | Updated as of May 31 2023 02:27 PM

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MANILA (UPDATED) — Newly sworn-in ACT-CIS Rep. Erwin Tulfo said Wednesday he still has no voting power and could not join the House plenary over a pending disqualification case against him before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Tulfo, a former social welfare and development secretary, took his oath as a third nominee of the party-list group ACT-CIS late Tuesday. 

But he said he could not perform all his duties as a House lawmaker until the Comelec resolves the disqualification case against him, which is now before the poll body's en banc and stemmed from his citizenship and a previous libel conviction.

"Hangga't hindi po lumalabas ang desisyon ng Comelec sa [motion for reconsideration] wala tayong voting power muna at hindi pa po tayo puwedeng mag-attend ng session sa plenaryo," Tulfo told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

Tulfo was the 4th nominee of the ACT-CIS party-list submitted to the Comelec. The first 3 nominees assumed office on June 30, 2022. 

However, the third nominee, Jeffrey Soriano, resigned from the House of Representatives on February 22, 2023, to supposedly focus on the party-list group's foundation.


Erwin Tulfo is officially the 4th member of his family to join the legislature.

Tulfo's brother, Raffy is a senator, his sister-in-law is ACT CIS Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo, and his nephew is Quezon City 2nd District Ralph Wendel Tulfo.

But the broadcaster turned public official doesn't see anything wrong with that.

"Kauupo ko lang how can I be a dynasty? We will just show them there's a difference, I mean, siguro dynasty. If you're not doing anything, okay you're just sitting there and doing nothing nakatingin ka lang sa ceiling but if you do something and perform nakikita naman ng tao let them decide. Now if it's a dynasty they don't like you there anymore they will not vote you and I would appreciate it if we're not working then don't vote that politician don't vote that whoever he is if he is not performing pero if he's performing why not, di ba?" Tulfo said.

The House of Representatives' current membership includes members of various political families nationwide. Political experts have held that political families have filled in the vacuum left by a weak political party system.

With his brother now a senator, Tulfo's name has been floated as a potential senatorial candidate in the 2025 midterm elections. But Tulfo evaded the issue, choosing instead to focus on his plans as a lawmaker.

When asked about how he used the substitution route to enter the legislature, Tulfo maintained it is what the law currently states.

"If you're talking about the party-list system then we have to reevaluate or study carefully the party list system Republic act 7914 or 41. Kasi it clearly states there na ikaw yung next nominee na nag resign yung 3rd nominee you can go. And yun yung ginamit kahapon na basis na automatically you can replace doon sa nagresign o nawala na na congressman kung may mga questions again siguro kailangan review-hin ng mababang kapulungan yung law na yan. It was already enacted kung may prublema kailangan reviewhin siguro," Tulfo stated.

While waiting for the Comelec to clear all roadblocks to his being a full-fledged legislator, Tulfo intends to spend the run-up to the opening of the 2nd regular session of the 19th Congress preparing for the role as he transitions from his previous role in the executive. 


Tulfo says he has 120 bills in the pipeline for filing.

Among his pet advocacies: mandating that a certain number of employees be from the PWD and Senior Citizen sector.

"Unang una sa lahat yung to require private companies corporations to hire at least 5% of their manpower coming from the PWD sector and senior citizen kasi I learned when I was at DSWD they were complaining yung mga PWDs and Senior na able naman kami secretary baka pwede na mabigyan kami ng opportunity mahire, mga seniors mga PWDs and tama naman sila. Kasi doon sa may isang grocery store sa may Magnolia sa QC yung nagtitinda. Doon deaf and mute may sign language so nagsesenyasan nakakapagtrabaho may nakita ako sa Makati yung elevator boy ay nakasaklay putol yung paa so they can," Tulfo said.

"Yun yung sinasabi natin. Tapos lalong lalo sa mga government agencies at least 5-10% so kung 100 at least 5 or sampu tao 10% ang bigyan ng trabaho. Kasi they are so depressed PWD na nga senior citizen so ayaw naman nila doleout so well give them a chance to work," Tulfo added.

Being a former journalist, Tulfo says he will pursue previous advocacy by former Rep. Nina Taduran seeking retirement benefits for media workers.

"Siguro pag si former cong. Nina Taduran ng ACT CIS nagfile siya sa mga retirement I think we will just pursue that yung retirement sa media. Di lang reporter writers kundi pati when you say media work as a driver sa media organization, newspaper, radio, tv, mga technicians and all siguro mabigyan ng retirement benefits sila. I will have to review or we will reconcile siguro yung bill ko vs doon sa bill ni former congresswoman Nina Taduran," Tulfo said.

Tulfo also wants to pursue the decriminalization of libel.

"Exactly sir meron na yan pending I think here and also in the House marami nang nagfile niyan and as a matter of fact it's just pursuing siguro wala lang nagpupursue kasi ang focus ngayon meron kasing legislation na gusto patapos ang administration and focus or centered sa poverty alleviation which the President wants to happen mailusot kaagad gaya nga nung Maharlika bill which I believe naipasa na sa 3rd and final reading sa Senado kaninang madaling araw," Tulfo said.

— with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News