Speaker says only few solons to join P-Noy in US

September 17, 2010 10:11 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Sept. 16 – Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Thursday said only few congressmen will join President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III in his trip to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly on September 20.

Unlike in the previous Congresses, he said there will be fewer trips for lawmakers and absolutely no junket trips.

Belmonte said there would only be less than five congressmen who have expressed interest in joining the President for the US trip but he will allow only those who will be officially invited by Malacanang.

At the moment, he said the Palace has not invited any legislator yet.

"Maybe they want to drive home a point and I respect them for that. But in the House, I have decided not to send a delegation separate from the Palace delegation," the Speaker said in his weekly press conference.

He said this will be the policy under his helm to complement the President's promise to limit his overseas trips.

Belmonte said that under the Aquino administration, not everybody who wants to join the President in his trips abroad can "hitch in" and be part of the official delegation.

He said it would also not look good to the United Nations community to bring in a large delegation in the midst of the administration’s resolve to save on resources.

"If the President needs gallery support, there are millions of Filipinos in the area who will (give it to him)," he said.

Belmonte said he will also allow a lean group of congressmen to travel on official trips, such as the meeting of the Asian Inter Parliamentary Assembly next month in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Seven congressmen are attending the event to be headed by Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara, chairman of the committee on foreign affairs; and La Union Rep. Victor Ortega. (PNA)

LAP/LGI

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