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/ 07:07 AM January 26, 2019

Comelec releases official list of senatorial, party-list bets

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to release on Saturday the official list of senatorial and party-list candidates in the upcoming May polls. Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the number of senatorial aspirants was cut to 77 and party-list groups to 134. The poll body received 152 applications for senator and 182 for party list. The 77 senatorial aspirants may be further trimmed to 63 as Jimenez said they were awaiting on Friday the release of the certificate of finality on the cases of 14 candidates who may still be removed from the list.—Jovic Yee

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GMA seeks P350-M funding for urban housing in budget

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday pledged to ask the bicameral conference on the proposed 2019 national budget to provide P350 million to help more than 8,000 urban poor families buy the land they have long been occupying. During the hearing of the House oversight committee on urban poor housing, Arroyo heeded the request of residents of urban poor communities in Quezon City. She said her request was for the bicameral conference, cochaired by Sen. Loren Legarda and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., to give P350 million to the Department of Public Works and Highways  for the purchase of lots and reblocking of the National Government Center (NGC) in Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City. The NGC, a 422-hectare property located on Commonwealth Avenue, has been set for distribution to qualified recipients under  Republic Act No. 9207, or the National Government Center Housing and Land Utilization Act of 2003 which converted the NGC for socialized housing to qualified lot owners.—Melvin Gascon

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Sandiganbayan grants Syjuco’s request to travel

The Sandiganbayan third division has granted former Iloilo Rep. Judy Syjuco’s motion to travel to Singapore from Feb. 7 to 22, to accompany her husband who will undergo chemotherapy. Syjuco’s husband, former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) director general Augusto Syjuco Jr. has also filed a similar request for the anti-graft court’s first division. The original motion sought travel from Feb. 7 to 18 only, but in her urgent supplemental motion, Syjuco sought an extension since her husband’s doctor would administer a new drug on the former Tesda director general who has been diagnosed with leukemia. The Sandiganbayan third division set a P460,000 travel bond for Syjuco, to guarantee  compliance with the conditions of her travel.—Patricia Denise M. Chiu

Alejano: Deployment of soldiers to BOC unconstitutional

The plan to deploy 150 soldiers to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to prevent smuggling is unconstitutional, opposition Rep. Gary Alejano of Magdalo party-list said on Friday. “This is a violation of the Constitution. Doing customs-related work is not the job of a soldier. That is not the mandate of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Alejano said in reaction to Customs chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero’s announcement to recruit “standby” soldiers for customs work. Guerrero, a former AFP chief, announced on Thursday that the BOC had reserved some 150 “warm bodies” from the military to help  prevent smuggling in the corruption-plagued agency. But Alejano said that instead of using the military in cleaning up the BOC, the agency should focus on addressing the root causes of the problems.—DJ Yap

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TAGS: Alejano, Arroyo, Comelec, news, Syjuco
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