At least 15 members of the Liberal Party (LP) headed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd are expected to take a leave from the party once Rodrigo Duterte assumes the presidency.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City on Tuesday disclosed that these 15 are the members who do not want to join the super majority coalition in the House of Representatives led by PDP-Laban–the political party of Duterte.
“The LP’s plan is to join the coalition of the majority. Most of them want to join but there is also a sizeable number who don’t want to be in the majority bloc. I suppose they will have to be an independent minority bloc then,” Belmonte, the LP vice chairman, said.
“There are at least 15 of them. They will be going on leave from the LP,” he added.
Belmonte clarified that the LP, which fielded Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd in the May 9 presidential race, is yet to sign a coalition agreement with PDP-Laban because the LP does not want to be reduced to a bite-sized group.
“We are yet to come up with any agreement with them because there are various factors in making the decision. There is a group there [PDP-Laban] that wants to reduce the number of Liberals to 20, which is way below the other groups [of political parties in the majority coalition],” he said.
“I cannot be a member of such [20-member group]. If we [in the LP in terms of membership]will be on par with other groups [of political parties], then it’s a real option for me to head the LP group in the [super majority]coalition that we want to form,” Belmonte added.
The super majority coalition in the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress is expected to be led by incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of PDP-Laban, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the National Union Party(NUP), the Nacionalista Party and 57 allied party-list groups.
The NPC, the second largest political party in the country, backed the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe.
The NUP was split on supporting Roxas and Duterte.
The Manuel Villar-led NP did not declare support to any presidential candidate.
Villar’s son, former Las Piñas City (Metro Manila) Rep. Mark Villar, then became one of the first appointees of Duterte as secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways.