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Duterte Allies Break Impasse on Philippine House Leadership

(Bloomberg) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives broke an impasse on the chamber’s leadership Tuesday, ahead of a special session called to pass next year’s 4.5 trillion-peso ($93 billion) budget.



Alan Peter Cayetano wearing a suit and tie: Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano stands on the rostrum as new Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th Congress opening at the House of Representatives in Manila.


© Photographer: NOEL CELIS/AFP
Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano stands on the rostrum as new Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th Congress opening at the House of Representatives in Manila.

Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano on Facebook said he’s resigning as House Speaker, as the election of his challenger Lord Allan Velasco was formalized by 186 lawmakers. Duterte will meet the two lawmakers this afternoon to push for the approval of the 2021 budget, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a separate briefing.

Philippines’ 2021 Budget Hangs as Duterte House Allies Clash

The resolution of the House leadership row removes a hurdle in the passage of next year’s budget, which is seen to help boost the economy that Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said may shrink more than expected this year by up to 9%.

Cayetano and Velasco entered into a term-sharing deal last year, where the latter will be speaker starting next month. The rivalry resurfaced last month when an ally of Velasco accused Cayetano of allocating more infrastructure funds to some lawmakers — an allegation he denied.

(Adds comment from Duterte spokesman, more details from 2nd paragraph)

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What the White House and Trump allies said about his condition over the course of the day

For the public, though, the scale of Trump’s illness only became apparent on Friday afternoon, when the White House announced that the president would be headed to Walter Reed for several days. Since the diagnosis was made public early that morning, there were competing claims about how the virus was affecting Trump, leading to a sense that his condition might be worsening. To some extent, though, that’s a function of misleading claims from people not necessarily in a position to know. The administration’s message was fairly consistent — but that, too, should be taken with a grain of salt.

Here’s how the cascade of messaging played out.

12:54 a.m. Trump tweets confirmation of the diagnosis, without conveying any information about how he and the first lady, who also tested positive, were feeling.

1:05 a.m. White House physician Scott Conley provides a statement released by the administration. In it, he states that the president and first lady were doing “well at this time.”

1:27 a.m. The first lady tweets that she and her husband are “feeling good.”

4:31 a.m. Unexpectedly, Trump’s former physician, Ronny Jackson, weighs in on Twitter. The president and first lady, he writes, are “both fine and completely asymptotic [sic].” He doesn’t indicate how he is aware of this information.

Around 6:45 a.m. Jackson appears on “Fox and Friends,” where he repeats his assertions about Trump’s condition.

“He’s asymptomatic right now,” Jackson says. “And I think that’s great. I think he’s going to continue to be asymptomatic.”

Around 9:15 a.m. Scott Atlas, a radiologist who Trump tapped to assist on the coroanvirus response after seeing him interviewed on Fox News, tells the network that no one should worry about the president’s health.

“This is a widespread, highly contagious infection,” Atlas says of the virus broadly, “and this is