Quezon city Representative Sonny Belmonte is the Liberal Party’s most senior member and is willing to cooperate with the incoming presidency of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“We have to recognize that the victory of Mayor Duterte by such a big margin, considering that he surfaced only a few months before the actual elections as a candidate. The big margin…obviously it contained a message ‘this is not business as usual’. While everyone, including himself, has to be constrained by existing law particularly by the Constitution, I’d expect he would be more innovative or more daring in some of his decisions. As long as the laws and Constitution are not violated. I believe Congress should give him (support) as much as possible.”
Hints of joining PDP-Laban
Asked categorically if he is open to switching to Duterte’s party and bring allies with him, Belmonte said, “It’s a hypothetical question and it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Certainly, lahat ng mga possibilities na iyun are open to consideration.”
He said Duterte voted for him as House Speaker when he was still a congressman at beginning of the term of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Asked if he will run for the speakership again, Belmonte said, “I’m still the leader of the Liberal Party. Aside from being speaker, currently I’m de facto leader of the LP in the house which comprises 100-120 people and if only to keep them united and to be their rallying point, I need to be a candidate for speaker unless my partymates choose another person which is okay with me.”
Belmonte talked about the advantages of having him at he helm. “During the 6 years I’ve been speaker, I earned the reputation for being fair to all of the members regardless of political affiliation whether majority or minority. I feel that’s something going in my favor plus the fact I have no axes to grind in fact. I do admire the massive victory of the incoming president. For sake of the country, I’m also supportive of his program as long as they do not contravene our basic law.”
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