MANILA -- Lawmakers rallied behind the leadership of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte as they criticized as unfair and baseless a report that he was in danger of losing his post because of the delayed release of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF).

House Deputy Speaker Ma. Isabelle Climaco said the ouster report was baseless because the Speaker has the full confidence and support of old and new members of the House.

“In fairness to the Speaker, he has been demonstrating good and sensible leadership since we chose him three months ago. We should not judge him on the sole basis of the PDAF release, but on the numerous accomplishments of the House in terms of legislative output,” said Climaco.

Climaco, representative of the first district of Zamboanga City, said it was totally wrong to blame the Speaker for any delay in the release of the PDAF, which in the first place is the responsibility of the executive and not the Speaker.

Representative Rodolfo Valencia (1st Distirct, Oriental Mindoro), chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development, said the House remains solidly behind Speaker Belmonte.

A daily newspaper reported that the delay in the release of pork barrel funds is causing "restlessness" among the lawmakers. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)