MANILA -- Despite the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to unseat a member of Congress, the House Speaker said it has no more bearing on the lawmaker's supposed disqualification.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said the disqualification case against Representative Fernando Gonzalez (third district, Albay) now rests on the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) since he has already been proclaimed winner by the poll body itself and has been duly sworn in to start his work as a member of Congress.

“I took the position that once a person has been proclaimed and has actually assumed a position and in this case has actually been participating for the last month in the proceedings, only the HRET has jurisdiction exclusively,” Belmonte said.

“The Comelec cannot touch the person anymore or take any action thereon," he added.

The petition was filed by losing congressional candidate Reno Lim who alleged that Gonzalez was not a Filipino citizen, making him ineligible to run as the Constitution states. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)