LP to join PDP-Laban coalition ‘eventually’ – Belmonte

Bea Cupin
LP to join PDP-Laban coalition ‘eventually’ – Belmonte
Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez says he is confident PDP-Laban – and in effect, Duterte – will be able to have a 'super majority' in Congress 'with the support of Speaker Belmonte'

DAVAO, Philippines – From the ruling party to a member of the new, PDP-Laban-led majority. 

The Liberal Party (LP) will be joining the majority bloc at the House of Representatives, outgoing Speaker Sonny Belmonte told reporters in a chance interview on Tuesday, June 7. 

“Eventually the LP will join the coalition,” said Belmonte when asked if the party will be joining the majority bloc. 

Belmonte, vice chairman of the LP, was in Davao City Tuesday to pay a courtesy call on President-elect and outgoing city mayor Rodrigo Duterte. The meet was set by Davao Del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, who is expected to be the next House Speaker. 

Speaking to reporters at the Marco Polo Hotel, Belmonte repeatedly referred to Alvarez as the “incoming speaker.” 

The LP has seen a mass exodus of its members, typical fare in Philippine politics when a new party wins a presidential election. 

An LP legislator who declined to be named estimates that from around 120 members two weeks ago, the party now has only half that many

Among those who have since changed affiliation is Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Rodolfo Fariñas, who is now a member of PDP-Laban. Fariñas was seen at the hotel and will be joining Alvarez and Belmonte in the meet with Duterte. 

Another LP ally seen during the meet was Congressman Fredenil Castro, a member of the National Unity Party and a vocal supporter of LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II. 

The LP met the day prior, during which they agreed on the move to join the ruling PDP-Laban-led coalition, said Belmonte. At least two sources in the party earlier said that LP higher-ups want the party to remain with the majority. 

The details of the coalition deal, however, have yet to be ironed out. 

Alvarez said he was confident PDP-Laban – and in effect, Duterte – would be able to have a “super majority” in Congress “with the support of Speaker Belmonte.” 

Traditionally, only members of the majority head committees in Congress. Most of the country’s major political parties have already joined the coalition, following Duterte’s win. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.