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Anti-graft court junks another civil case on Marcos wealth

THE COUNTRY’S anti-graft court, citing “defects” in evidence, has junked a P267-million civil forfeiture case against two former business associates of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos and his wife Imelda, who were accused of posing as dummies for the illegal acquisition of properties and public funds.

Bill on loan program for MSMEs filed

HOUSE SPEAKER Alan Peter S. Cayetano has filed a bill which aims to institutionalize a simplified loan program with low interest for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

Nationwide round-up

A LAWMAKER has filed a bill which aims to strengthen the country’s emergency medical services through the establishment of a council that will set standards and protocols for response.

House committee approves rice procurement instead of subsidies for 4Ps beneficiaries

THE House Committee on Agriculture and Food approved on Wednesday a still-unnumbered substitute joint resolution calling for rice procurement to be funded by the 2019 rice subsidy budget for poor families.

House bill seeks to set up banana research center

A PARTY-LIST legislator has filed a bill seeking to establish a banana research institute to develop better planting methods and find new uses for the plant, one of the Philippines’ leading fruit exports.

Duterte’s ex-police chief faces graft, drug suits

PHILIPPINE police have recommended the indictment of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s former police chief and 13 other cops accused of recycling illegal drugs from legitimate police operations.

SC backs court inspection in competition cases

THE Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the authority of commercial courts to issue inspection orders on any companies suspected of violating Republic Act 10667, or the Philippine Competition Act (PCA).

Party-list legislator proposes asbestos ban in construction

A PARTY-LIST legislator representing organized labor has filed a bill seeking to ban the use of asbestos in most construction applications.

Pimentel, who fought Marcos gov’t, dies at 85

AQUILINO “Nene” Pimentel, Jr., father of the Local Government Code and a former Senate president and opposition leader who fought the dictatorship in the 1970s, has died. He was 85.

Pay hike for gov’t nurses via Congress resolution sought

CONGRESS can file a joint resolution allowing a salary increase for government nurses after the Supreme Court upheld a higher salary grade under the law, a congressman said yesterday.

‘No excuses’ for not completing 2020 budget, Cayetano says

SPEAKER Alan Peter S. Cayetano said Wednesday that the House of Representatives hopes to move forward on the 2020 budget, revenue bills, and other legislation covering the government’s socio-economic programs when Congressional sessions resume in November.

VP gets ‘good’ rating; Bersamin still ‘moderate’

VICE PRESIDENT Maria Leonor G. Robredo improved her net satisfaction rating by five points in the third quarter of 2019, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

PHL 100% ready for SEA Games hosting

HOUSE SPEAKER Alan Peter S. Cayetano, who also chairs the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), said the country is 100% ready for the 30th Southeast Asian Games in November, though he admitted that the daily hosting of the event will be a challenge.

Nationwide round-up

THE TRADE Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has expressed support on the proposed phased increase in monthly contributions by members of the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund.

Good construction weather seen as key to achieving 6% growth target

A SENIOR legislator said Tuesday that economic growth of 6% can still be achieved given good weather to ensure progress on key construction projects, after the World Bank reduced its 2019 estimates for Philipine gross domestic product (GDP).

VP case drags on as SC orders recount release

THE SUPREME Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on Tuesday, has again deferred a decision on the election protest over the vice presidential post, instead ordering a release of the report on the initial result of recount of ballots.

Nationwide round-up

THE JUDICIAL and Bar Council (JBC) has shortlisted three associate justices as nominees for the Supreme Court’s chief justice position.

House leadership counts 18 measures passed on third reading

THE HOUSE majority leader said the chamber has passed 18 measures on third reading since the start of the 18-Congress, including the 2020 Budget, key tax bills, and amendments to the Foreign Investment Act of 1991.

House resolution seeks 6-month freeze or reduction in SLEX tolls

A LEGISLATOR filed a resolution Monday seeking to suspend or lower tolls charged on users of South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) while the road is experiencing severe congestion.

Albayalde resigns amid drug ‘recycling’ probe

THE PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief stepped down from his post on Monday, weeks ahead of his retirement from the service amid allegations of his involvement in a case of illegal drug “recycling.”

Weather-based crop insurance bill filed in House

A LEGISLATOR has re-filed a bill which seeks to create a weather-based crop insurance scheme for farmers to protect them from climate change and weather disturbances.

Higher SSS, GSIS pension rates proposed

A LAWMAKER has filed two separate bills proposing to increase the monthly pension rates for both private and public sector retirees.

Urban farming bill filed

A LAWMAKER has refiled a bill which seeks to convert idle lands in the metropolitan area into agricultural spots to grow crops to ensure food security.

Bill eyes health warning for products with high sodium content

TWO LAWMAKERS have filed a bill requiring a health warning for food products with high sodium content.

CoA orders charges vs Mexico mayor

THE COMMISSION on Audit (CoA) has ordered the filing of charges against Mayor Teddy C. Tumang of Mexico town in Pampanga for irregularities in the purchase of construction materials amounting to P39.2 million.

Nationwide round-up

A LAWMAKER has filed a bill that would provide an additional personal tax exemption on individuals taking care of their elderly parents.

PACC recommends charges vs 12 NHA officials over Yolanda housing

THE PRESIDENTIAL Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Wednesday recommended the filing of administrative charges against 12 officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA) due to alleged anomalies in the P4-billion housing program for Typhoon Yolanda victims in the Eastern Visayas Region.

Court junks P1-billion suit vs Marcoses

THE COUNTRY’S anti-graft court has rejected for insufficient evidence a 31-year-old lawsuit accusing the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos and his wife Imelda of using dummies to amass more than P1 billion in ill-gotten assets.

House panel studying 5% tax on POGO revenue

REPRESENTATIVE Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, the Ways and Means committee chair from the second district of Albay, said the panel is studying his proposal to impose a 5% “franchise tax” on revenue generated by Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

House sees passage of water dep’t bill by Jan.

THE House of Representatives is expected to approve on final reading by January a bill that seeks to establish a Water department, Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda of the second district of Albay 2nd said Monday.

Sandiganbayan drops charges vs ex-MRT3 GM

THE SANDIGANBAYAN Sixth Division on Monday dismissed the graft charges filed against former Metro Rail Transit-3 General Manager Al Sanchez Vitangcol III and his co-accused, Wilson T. De Vera, over the alleged $30 million extortion attempt on representatives of Czech company INEKON Group.

Anti-red tape agency files case against Batangas mayor

THE ANTI-RED Tape Authority (ARTA) on Monday filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against Mayor Lester D. De Sagun of San Nicolas in Batangas for violating Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business And Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

Lawmakers cite priorities in remaining session days

THE P4.1-TRILLION proposed national budget for 2020 as well as remaining packages of the comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP) will take up much of lawmakers’ time when they return to work on Nov. 4 and before they take their Dec. 21-Jan. 19 Christmas-New Year break, key legislators said on Sunday.

House bill proposes national level coordination of coastal policy

A LEGISLATOR has filed a bill proposing a scheme for sustainable coastal management which creates a national committee to coordinate the efforts of local governments.

Robredo to remain VP, says lawyer

VICE President Ma. Leonor G. Robredo will remain vice president however the Supreme Court rules on the election protest of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. her lawyer said yesterday.

House resolution seeks to tap CCT funds to procure palay

REPRESENTATIVE Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte, Jr., the Deputy Speaker from Camarines Sur’s 2nd district, filed a resolution to tap P29 billion worth of rice subsidy funds to procure palay, or unmilled rice, and make the social welfare department distribute rice directly instead of cash.

Manila worst-ranked regional city in ‘smart’ list

METRO Manila ranked 94th out of 102 in a “smart city” survey seeking to gauge the use of technology in improving the lives of residents conducted by Swiss business school IMD’s World Competitiveness Center and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Bill to limit holidays for productivity

ALBAY Rep. Jose Ma. S. Salceda has filed a bill that seeks to limit the number of holidays to increase company productivity.

Nationwide round-up

National Police chief Oscar D. Albayalde had sought a halt to the dismissal of 13 rogue cops accused of recycling illegal drugs seized from legitimate police operations in 2013, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron N. Aquino told senators yesterday.

House bill seeks to expand NTC enforcement powers

A LEGISLATOR has filed a bill which seeks to expand the power of the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) to impose fines and sanctions on the telecommunications industry.

Meat importers blame smuggled pork for swine fever outbreak

MEAT importers said smuggled pork is the likely source of the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak because such meat products skipped the inspection process that legal imports are subjected to.

FDA not equipped to validate claims of sugar use in beverages

THE Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday that it does not have the technical capacity to determine whether beverages are sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which affects how beverages are taxed.

TUCP party-list files security of tenure legislation as HB 4892

THE TRADE UNION Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Party-list said it has filed its version of the Security of Tenure bill, one of various versions of the legislation in play seeking to end the practice of contractualization after a previous bill passed by Congress was vetoed.

House body zeroes in on POGO taxation in next crackdown phase

AS PART of an overall government bid to better track Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO), the House of Representatives Ways and Means committee is drafting a bill that aims to make it easier to collect taxes from the sector.

Tussle over revenue pits UHC vs infrastructure

LEGISLATORS have declared their intent to block the use of road tax revenue on health care, saying that the proper use of the proceeds is to maintain and improve infrastructure.