Outgoing House Speaker wants Duterte’s mandate ‘become a reality’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 June) – Outgoing House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., who earlier confirmed his support for incoming Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez’s bid for the speakership, said he would like to see the mandate of incoming President Rodrigo R. Duterte “become a reality.”

“We don’t like stalemates and so forth. We have to keep on moving. Among all of us, we are all running on the theory on the promise of good governance. But only the president (is the) one single guy who embodies an idea, leadership and so forth. Whether we like it or not, kung gusto mo mag-succeed ang mandate na naibigay ng bayan, sa tingin ko we should help him see that his mandate becomes a reality,” he told reporters at The Marco Polo here Tuesday.

Belmonte and other party-mates from Liberal Party were in Davao City on Tuesday to discuss with Alvarez about joining the coalition.

“In the LP, we have discussed this openly. There are some persons with reservations in some provisions, particularly the one. I am hopeful we can thresh it out,” he said.

Getting an overwhelming support for Alavarez’s speakership, Belmonte said: “He’s got in the bag.”

Alvarez told reporters that he is confident that he would get over 200 votes to win him the speakership, These votes, he said, will be coming from members of the Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, National Unity Party, Lakas-CMD, and Liberal Party who would comprise the “super coalition.”

Among the things that Belmonte discussed with Alvarez was federalism.

Alvarez said the 17th Congress would work on three priorities of the new administration – restoring death penalty, amending Juvenile Justice Law, and calling for a constitutional assembly to pave way for federalism.

These are the three priorities of Duterte that clearly need legislative aid while they are waiting for incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Duterte’s economic team what bills they would like to push in the Lower House, Belmonte said.

On calling for a constitutional convention, Belmonte suggested that the body should be confined federalization “because there are other things that should be done in our system.

“Once called, we cannot control it. Under the law, they are an independent body, almost like a fourth front of the government,” he said.

On amending the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, Belmonte said among the changes may include changing the age of child suspect to 12 years old who can be imprisoned for committing heinous crime.

Republic Act 10630, “An act strengthening the Juvenile Justice System in the Philippines,” states a child 15 years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability.