Belmonte downplays resignation of Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello as member

March 12, 2015 2:36 am 

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, March 11 (PNA) — Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., on Wednesday downplayed the resignation of Akbayan Party-list Rep. Walden Bello as he expressed optimism that there is no need to conduct loyalty check among members of the majority.

“There’s no need at all for a loyalty check because his action speaks louder than any loyalty check. We have been together here and we have able to resolve any differences among ourselves without fanfare,” Belmonte told reporters in a chance interview.

He said not even a single lawmaker will follow Bello who cut his ties with President Aquino for allegedly engaging in a brazen cover-up of his role in the Mamasapano carnage that left 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) dead.

Belmonte said Bello’s departure from the administration coalition in the House of Representatives has no bearing.

“Well numerically he is a lost to majority coalition, but really considering that more than ninety-three percent of everybody belongs to the majority here in Congress, it doesn’t really matter one or two drops out,” Belmonte said.

Bello, who chairs the House committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, announced that he had told his party-list about his decision who later gave him the green light.

“I have given notice of my intention to resign as Akbayanrepresentative though I will remain in the party,” Bello said in a separate interview.

He is scheduled to deliver his last privilege speech but because of lack of quorum, the session was adjourn until Monday.

Angie Katoh, who is the third nominee of Akbayan party-list is expected to replace Bello, the party-list first nominee. Rep. Barry Gutierrez is the second representative.

Akbayan party-list group is considered a power bloc in the Aquino administration as its stalwarts were among the appointees of the President, these include Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) Board Member Risa Hontiveros.

Gutierrez said Bello’s concern was tackled by party officials adding he was not surprised by the latter’s statement.

“He has expressed on several occasions since last year, and even before the Mamasapano tragedy, his intent to withdraw as one of our representatives due to diverging views on how to pursue reforms in the Aquino government,” Gutierrez said.

Caloocan City Rep. Egay Erice, a stalwart of LP, said: “The Akbayan, a coalition partner of LP, doesn't share the action of Rep. Bello. He can be removed from Congress by Akbayan due to his actions.”

Erice also said: “the enemies of reforms are just trying to magnify a single issue, exploit the grief of the widows and relatives of the SAF troopers to advance their vested interest, both the left in their aim to promote hardcore socialism, the political opposition who have axed to grind and the group of Vice President (Jejomar) Binay whosetrying to succeed President Aquino. None from the LP has left President Aquino.” (PNA)

RMA/SFM/SSC

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