Palace denies involvement in ouster plot vs Belmonte
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - July 26, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said it has nothing to do with an alleged plot to oust Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

According to reports, lawmakers loyal to Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, presumptive standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, were plotting against Belmonte over his perceived bias for possible presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe.

“We are not involved and we have no knowledge of such issues. Our focus is on the constructive process of lawmaking,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

“We want scrupulous coordination and action on the enactment into laws of important reform programs of the administration,” Coloma said, implying that what matters is that priority legislative measures are approved by Congress.

Roxas has been languishing in pre-election surveys while Poe, who has not declared yet her intention to run for higher office, is the strongest contender in the May 2016 presidential polls.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has been accused of corruption during his decades-long stint as mayor of Makati City, came in second to Poe.

Belmonte has been perceived as supportive of Poe’s presidential bid even if he himself is a stalwart of LP, thus allegedly earning the ire of pro-Roxas lawmakers. A majority of House members in the administration coalition, however, are reportedly leaning towards Poe.

The Nationalist People’s Coalition of business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco, the Nacionalista Party of businessman and former Senate president Manny Villar and the National Unity Party (composed of former Lakas members) have shown support for Poe’s candidacy.

Amid the rumored plot against Belmonte, lawmakers from the majority and minority have reaffirmed their support to his leadership, in time for the opening of the third regular session of the 16th Congress today.

LP member and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said a majority of his colleagues cited Belmonte’s “fair and productive leadership” in the House of Representatives.

Other lawmakers belonging to different political parties who are supportive of Belmonte include Reps. Zenaida Angping (Manila), Jorge Banal (Quezon City), Jose Christopher Belmonte (Quezon City), Francisco Calalay (Quezon City), Enrico Echiverri (Caloocan), Neptali Gonzales II (Mandaluyong), Magtanggol Gunigundo (Valenzuela), Sandy Ocampo (Manila), Eric Olivarez (Parañaque), Romero Quimbo (Marikina), Gustavo Tambunting (Parañaque), Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina), Alfred Vargas (Quezon City) and Mark Villar (Las Piñas).

Castelo said party-list representatives who are members of the House committee on Metro Manila development have also reaffirmed their support for Belmonte, including party-list Reps. Johnny Revilla (OFW Family) and Samuel Pagdilao (ACT-CIS).

Quimbo dismissed efforts to unseat Belmonte, saying such will not happen owing to his invaluable contribution to the country’s legislative system.

“I find it laughable and even ironic where a Speaker, after just leading the passage of the most number of landmark legislation in the history of the House, will be threatened with removal,” Quimbo said.

“Speaker Belmonte’s ouster will be the death of our institution,” he said.

Tambunting said Belmonte “possesses the necessary leadership and fairness to unite the House that has different political colors and yet deliver on its legislative program like no other Speaker has done.”

ACIRC ALFRED VARGAS ATILDE BELMONTE EDUARDO COJUANGCO ENRICO ECHIVERRI ERIC OLIVAREZ FRANCISCO CALALAY GRACE POE GUSTAVO TAMBUNTING QUEZON CITY
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