SHOULD it gain leadership in both chambers of Congress, the Liberal Party (LP) of President Benigno Aquino III assured that it will maintain check and balance in the legislative department.

LP spokesman and Quezon Representative Erin Tanada issued the statement as the party's bets in the Senate and the House of Representative are gaining support from their respective colleagues.

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The party said the House Speakership will likely go to Congressman Feliciano Belmonte (Quezon City) as there were already more than 150 lawmakers backing him against Lakas-Kampi-CMD bet Representative Edcel Lagman (Albay).

According to Tanada, half of the number is from LP while the others came from the Nationalist People's Coalition, Nacionalista Party, PDP-Laban, and Lakas-Kampi.

“It is our belief that this is already in the bag for Belmonte. We have reached already the majority needed in order for him to be Speaker,” Tanada told reporters.

In the upper chamber, the LP has already endorsed Senator Kiko Pangilinan for the Senate Presidency. Senators Franklin Drilon and Manuel Villar are both said to be vying for the same position.

Senator Edgardo Angara clarified that he and his bloc are not disqualifying anyone in the Senate Presidency race, citing an independent Senate should be led by someone who puts the people's interest first, regardless of party affiliation.

“It would be a wrong assumption that we are excluding Senator Pangilinan as a choice just because he is in the same party as the President. That is a wrong conclusion," said Angara, who served as Senate President from 1993 to 1995.

Members of the Angara's group include Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senators Loren Legarda, Ramon Revilla and Manuel "Lito" Lapid Jr.

Committee chairmanship

Tanada also expressed the importance for LP lawmakers on important committees at the House including the Committee on Appropriations, which deals with the budget of government.

LP secretary-general and Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya will likely get the chairmanship post of the appropriations committee.

Although the committee appointments have not yet been discussed by the party, Tanada said they will recognize the tradition of seniority when it comes to chairmanship.

Lawmakers shifting to the LP alliance will undergo a screening process to understand the platform the party and President Aquino.

“Hopefully, they will agree what our program and platform is because mahirap naman kung hindi sila naniniwala sa mga programa namin," said Tanada.

Mandaluyong Representative Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales will likely get the House Majority Leader post.

Charter change

The Charter Change resolution of Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not get any special treatment in the House of Representatives, the LP said Monday.

“The bill will not get any special treatment, it will go under the legislative process and the difference here and between ordinary bill, it would need a vote of two-thirds," Tanada explained.

He noted that the LP has not yet made any official stand on the matter pushed by Arroyo but the emphasized that the premises of the con-con resolution seems untrue.

In her resolution, Arroyo is claiming that the Constitution is the culprit on why the country is not developing faster.

Tanada argued that a country's development should not be blamed on the laws but the government officials implementing it.

"Sa tingin ko po ay kung bakit hindi tayo umuunlad ng mabilis, it's because of the leadership," he said.

He however added that he will abide by his party's position after it has consulted with the members of House of Representatives and their colleagues in the Senate. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)