President Benigno Aquino 3rd, the chairman of the Liberal Party (LP), has endorsed his partymate and incumbent Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. for a second tenure as leader of the House of Representatives.
Rep. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, a member of the ruling LP, broke the news to reporters on Monday.
“President Aquino has endorsed Speaker Belmonte for the Speaker post over lunch today. We are also working with coalition partners,” Evardone said, referring to the Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition and National Union Party which will form the majority bloc in the House alongside LP.
The 16th Congress, which will open on the third Monday of July, will have at least 108 LP members.
“The President has credited Speaker Belmonte for his leadership in the passage of critical measures like RH (Reproductive Health) and Sin Tax, among others,” Evardone said.
The RH law, which gathered dust in Congress for more than a decade because of staunch opposition from the Catholic Church, was passed and made into law despite the strong objections of Catholic bishops.
Belmonte first became Speaker in 2001, at the height of the impeachment trial of former president Joseph Estrada. He regained the post in 2010.
Aside from being the Speaker, Belmonte also served as the vice chairman of the LP when President Aquino assumed the presidency in July 2010.