Philippine Star

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez slows down Charter change train

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 23, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — In a change of tack, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday stepped back from the House of Representatives’ original plan to hold a plebiscite simultaneous with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.

Alvarez also said he was just joking when he warned congressmen and local executives that the House would cut off funding for those who refused to support the shift to federalism.

Albee Proud of his biggest catch

FUNFARE By Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 6, 2017 - 12:00am

TAIPEI — “Guilty!” Without much ado and even before we could accuse him of anything, Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Bantug Benitez pleaded “no contest” when asked how he lost his innocence. Blushing a bit, Albee started doing arithmetic.

According to Albee, in big-game fishing, a 30-kilo fish is considered the smallest catch.

House OKs bill on land expropriation for mass housing

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 1, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill that will strengthen the government’s right to expropriate land for mass housing. 

House Bill 159 of Quezon City Rep. Christopher Belmonte got unanimous approval from the House plenary on Wednesday night. It allows expropriation of land even if the ownership issue is still under court litigation.

PDP-Laban shutting doors to new members to prepare for 2019

( | Updated October 9, 2017 - 1:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday said that the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan party will no longer accept new members by the end of November.

Pimentel, also the president of PDP-Laban, said his party mulled closing doors to potential members after several others jumped ship from their respective parties. He, however, clarified that the recruitment drive will continue until the end of next month.

The PDP-Laban president said that their party needs sufficient time to prepare for the May 2019 national and local elections.

Pimentel bares six potential PDP-Laban senatorial bets

By Audrey Morallo ( | Updated October 6, 2017 - 3:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Friday announced six potential senatorial candidates of the administration Partido Demokratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan for the 2019 midterm elections.

Pimentel, who is the president of PDP-Laban, said that half of the party's 12 candidates for the senatorial elections could include himself, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte), presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, Rep. Karlo Nograles (Davao City), Rep. Geraldine Roman (Bataan) and Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Negros Occidental).

Duterte urged to prioritize mass housing

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 28, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  A senior administration lawmaker has urged President Duterte to issue an executive order allowing the utilization of idle government lands for purposes of establishing on-site, in-city or near-city housing projects for the poor.

“An order from the Palace or a law authorizing the use of idle government lands in Metro Manila to put up in-city housing is a key to address the increasing housing backlog in the capital,” Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez said.

‘House can pass BBL by yearend’

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 19, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is optimistic the House can pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and the 2018 budget before yearend.

“If there will be no problem with the Constitution, the House can finish the deliberation before Christmas,” Alvarez said in Filipino during an interview with radio station dzMM yesterday.

Lawmakers to temper P6 diesel tax

By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 19, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Congressmen are trying to find ways to temper the proposed P6 tax on diesel, which they believe will immediately increase its pump price by the same amount and result in higher transportation and consumer prices.

Congressmen are trying to find ways to temper the proposed P6 tax on diesel, which they believe will immediately increase its pump price by the same amount and result in higher transportation and consumer prices. (Philstar File Photo)

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas have given their colleagues up to Monday to submit their proposals before the House tackles the bill containing the planned diesel tax in plenary session.

‘Government housing program may collapse due to Kadamay precedent’

By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star)
Updated April 26, 2017 - 12:00am

PANDI, Bulacan , Philippines  – Lawmakers yesterday warned of the possible collapse of the government’s socialized and low-cost housing program after several beneficiaries refused to pay their monthly amortization to the National Housing Authority (NHA), citing the thousands of shelters given for free to members of a militant urban poor group.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez made the warning after inspecting the housing units here that have been illegally occupied by over 5,000 members of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

Ejercito and Benitez chair the committees on housing and urban development in the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, which are conducting a joint inquiry into the issue.