Belmonte visits Duterte; LP-PDP-Laban coalition talks up
DAVAO CITY —Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is in talks with members of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) for a possible coalition with the Liberal Party in the 17th Congress.
“We have been actually in negotiations with Congressman Alvarez for a few weeks…,” Belmonte told reporters before his meeting with Duterte.
He said one of his reasons for visiting Davao City was to pay a courtesy call on the incoming President. A meeting was scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Department of Public Works and Highways office in Panacan, where Duterte meets his guests.
An Inquirer report earlier said that Belmonte and the Liberal Party would join the majority bloc in the 17th Congress with Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as the Speaker.
Belmonte clarified that the decision to coalesce with the PDP-Laban only applied to members of the House of the Representatives and not the whole LP.
The outgoing Speaker also said that PDP-Laban was his first political party after the Edsa People Power in 1986.
“In the case of Speaker Belmonte, wala namang lipat-party. Balik-PDP lang,” Alvarez quipped.
Belmonte also said that Congress would not be a rubber stamp of the incoming administration.
“Even with the majority now I have to talk to them…It doesn’t mean na ’andu’n ka sa majority yes-man ka or vice versa nasa minority ka yes-man ka. May sarili ka naman sentido o common sense or prinsipyo,” he said.
Other parties that have joined Duterte’s coalition include the Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, National Unity Party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and Party-List Coalition./rga
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