Belmonte: New Surigao solon to take oath
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has vowed to finally swear into office the new Surigao representative in place of the disqualified Philip Pichay on May 23, or two weeks before the House adjourn to give way to a new Congress.
Belmonte made the announcement amid complaints by proclaimed Surigao Rep. Mary Elizabeth Ty-Delgado that Belmonte had been taking the law into his own hands and had been dragging his feet in ejecting Pichay from the House rolls in spite of a Supreme Court ruling on the matter.
The Supreme Court on Jan. 26 voted 11-0 to reverse the decision of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal upholding Pichay as the winner in Surigao’s congressional polls in 2013.
The SC ruled that Pichay should have been disqualified from running for a third term because of his libel conviction in 2011 which made him ineligible.
It denied Pichay’s motion for reconsideration on Feb. 16.
In a text message, Belmonte said he would swear in Delgado in open session to allow her to participate in the remaining plenary sessions.
Congress will hold its last session from May 23 to June 10.
“She is already a congresswoman. She has already been sworn in by a notary public (on Feb. 24) and that’s enough. Swearing her in (at the resumption of Congress) is just a formality,” Belmote said.
However, in an e-mail to the Inquirer, Delgado told a different story. She accused Belmonte of accommodating Pichay’s request to defer his removal from office even after the high court had already denied with finality Pichay’s motion for reconsideration and issued an entry of judgment as demanded by Belmonte.