HOUSE Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Tuesday he was all set to take the functions and responsibilities as leader of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress.
Belmonte, vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party, acknowledged the importance of having a “strong minority” in the House to ensure the checks and balances in the government.
“My inclination is to be the leader of the minority because, to be very frank, there must be a presence of the minority and that is a part of democracy,” Belmonte told reporters.
He said he was committed to be a “vocal and responsible fiscalizer” of the opposition under the Duterte administration.
He said he would fully support the new administration for as long as its policies do not violate the laws and the Constitution.
“I will be very cooperative. We will give the new president all the chances to make good,” Belmonte said.
“For as long as it is within the Constitution and legal limits, I will l give my one-
hundred-percent backing [to the Duterte administration] because he was elected by the people and their expectations are high.”
Belmonte said President Benigno Aquino III wanted his party mates in the LP to join the “super majority” in the House to be established by the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
He said he was negotiating with Davao del Norte Representative-elect Pantaleon Alvarez, the incoming speaker, to allow the LP members who would join the majority to stay in their party instead of joining the PDP-Laban.