His polarizing nature and resolve have nailed the Speakership post for Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte in the 16th Congress with 245 votes, his third victory in as many races.
Belmonte, who has served as the Speaker of the House in the 11th and 15th Congress, was cited for shepherding the 15th Congress towards making game-changing legislations and measures such as the Reproductive Health law, the Sin Tax law, the impeachment of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and former Chief Justice Renato Corona, without necessarily burning bridges.
“We need a Speaker who can meet the challenge, is dynamic, can lead by example, can make sacrifices, who asks questions, and can say no when necessary,” Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento said in his nomination speech for Belmonte.
Belmonte is Sarmiento’s party-mate in the ruling LP.
Representative Nonong Andaya of Camarines Sur agreed with Sarmiento, stressing that it is already public knowledge that Belmonte is a turnaround specialist , with a knack of rehabilitating firms in dire straits, whether a city government, or a heritage hotel, the national airline or the pension fund.
“Performance is better appreciated if presented not with frills but with facts. It takes a leader with guts and grit to push for those bills as well as a fair leader to encourage a free and full debate on those,” Andaya pointed out
“Some of us may be rehired, some of us will be fired. It is up to our employers, the people, to make that decision. But it is up to us to choose a leader who will bring the best in us in the next 1,000 days and thereby boost our chances of getting rehired instead of being retired.And that man is Feliciano Belmonte,” Andaya added.
San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora emerged as the other winner on Monday with 18 votes, finishing second behind Belmonte for the House Minority Leader post.
Zamora once served as the Executive Secretary of former President Joseph Estrada, the first President in Philippine history to be convicted of plunder in 2007.
Zamora, a bar topnotcher, narrowly beat Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez who only mustered 16 votes.
Zamora got the upperhand over Romualdez when he got the backing of the seven-strong Makabayan bloc, which groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, Alliance of Concerned Teachers and Anakpawis, on Saturday.
The San Juan legislator was also surprisingly supported for the Speakerhship race by Aurora Rep. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, the aunt of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s ally and Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara.