Bello resigns as Akbayan representative, calls Aquino disgraceful
MANILA, Philippines—Representative Walden Bello has resigned from his post as Akbayan lawmaker, the critical administration ally said Wednesday.
In a text message, Bello said he resigned because of his losing support for the President “who is washing his hands of responsibility of a mission he planned and executed” and for covering up the botched operation.
“I have given notice of my intention to resign as Akbayan (repreprentative) though I will remain in the party,” Bello said in a text message statement.
“I am withdrawing support because I can no longer support a President engaged in brazen coverup of his role in the Mamasapano tragedy,” he said.
“I am withdrawing support because I cannot support a man whose behavior is a disgrace to the presidency. As far as my future in Congress, I think our code of conduct as a party is that I cannot continue to represent an organization with which I have major policy disagreement such as on the question of support for the administration,” he added.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported earlier that Bello cut his ties with Malacañang due to President’s pronouncements of washing his hands in the botched Mamasapano operation that left 44 Special Action Force (SAF), 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters and five civilians dead.
“I can no longer support this President. He can go ahead and scratch me off the list of his allies, as his spokesperson Abigail Valte has already implied,” Bello said in the report.
In an ambush interview, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Bello is not a loss to the administration coalition.
“Numerically, yes, but considering that more than 90 percent of everybody belong to the majority in Congress, it doesn’t matter whether one or two drops out,” Belmonte said.
The Speaker said there is no longer a need for a loyalty check among the majority peers.
“I think it’s good for him and good as well for Congress that he can concentrate on other things,” Belmonte said of Bello.
Bello led Akbayan in supporting President Aquino in the 2010 elections. The Akbayan partylist had allied with the Liberal Party when its former representative and party chair Risa Hontiveros ran and lost for a senatorial seat both in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
A number of Akbayan members are holding government posts, including Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas, PhilHealth Insurance Corp. Office Director Hontiveros, Commission on Human Rights Chair Etta Rosales and National Antipoverty Commission Chair Joel Rocamora.
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