Will Belmonte battle Alvarez for Speakership?

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

House Speaker Sonny Belmonte and incoming Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez

MANILA - 16th Congress House Speaker Sonny Belmonte is currently weighing his political fortunes after presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte endorsed the Speakership bid of his partymate, incoming Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez in the 17th Congress.

"Still studying my options," Belmonte told ABS-CBN News Thursday when asked if he will join the majority or the minority in the next Congress.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles informed ABS-CBN News that Alvarez is indeed Duterte's choice. "(Mayor) Duterte wants Pantaleon 'Bebot' Alvarez to be the Speaker of the 17th Congress," he said.

Asked what he will do about this, Belmonte said: "Just continue working with LPs [Liberal Party] and their allies."

"I also know Bebot. We served in Congress during (Manny) Villar's Speakership. Then PGMA [Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo] got him as her DOTC [Department of Transportation and Communications[ head, serving more than a year."

READ: 2 Davao solons open to House Speakership

Belmonte is on his final term while Alvarez is on his first term after an absence of 15 years.

Belmonte first assumed the Speakership in 2001 after then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed the presidency.

He was minority leader under the Estrada administration and initiated the impeachment of Estrada. Belmonte was also Arroyo's partymate in Lakas.

Now, Belmonte is the partymate of Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, the frontrunner in the unofficial tally for vice president. Their partymate, Mar Roxas, conceded defeat to Duterte.


Robredo is said to be the Liberal Party's Plan B to reclaim power by impeaching Duterte.

Belmonte, however, squelches all talk of impeaching Duterte. "A lot of b****. Somebody's gimmick. One guess? By the way, l am on record as completely against any such talk, even if only for political effect."

Belmonte expressed his well wishes for Duterte. "I wish him well and a successful presidency for the sake of our people," he said.

READ: Marcos warns of Liberal Party's 'Plan B'