SB likely to keep speaker's post with LP bets' victory

The Philippine Star

Posted at May 15 2013 10:55 AM | Updated as of May 15 2013 06:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is likely to keep his post in the 16th Congress as candidates of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) are winning in at least 100 congressional districts.

Belmonte and his LP ticket swept all six legislative seats, including two newly created districts, in Quezon City.

Reports said the ruling party is on the way to winning 19 congressional seats in Metro Manila.

The most likely winners include Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, representative of the lone district of Mandaluyong City, and two come-backing former congressmen in Caloocan City.

Gonzales said out of more than 220 district representatives, at least 150 are seeking re-election and most of them are expected to be proclaimed winners soon.

“About 85 to 95 percent of re-electionist lawmakers are likely to retain their seats,” Gonzales told The STAR, adding the LP will continue to be the single largest political party in the House.

Other re-electionist LP stalwarts heading for victory are Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, and Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone. Gonzales said other lawmakers belonging to the administration coalition in the House – the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), National Unity Party (NUP) and Nacionalista Party (NP) – are expected to win.

The NP has at the minimum 15 winning members, including Mark Villar of Las Piñas and Carlos Padilla of Nueva Vizcaya.

NPC spokesman and Valenzuela City Rep. Rex Gatchalian said a “substantial” number of the party’s 40 re-electionist lawmakers are sprinting to victory.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonio, who heads the 34-member NUP contingent in the House, said they expect Belmonte to be re-elected as Speaker when the 16th Congress convenes in July.

Other re-electionists set to be proclaimed winners are former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who won a second term as representative of Pampanga’s second district; her son Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo, both of Lakas; and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) won three congressional seats in the metropolis – two in Makati and one in Navotas. Its secretary-general and campaign manager, Toby Tiangco, kept his seat in Navotas.

Candidates of UNA won in at least two other districts outside Metro Manila. Manny Pacquiao was victorious in Sarangani, while former broadcaster Sol Aragones was leading in the third district of Laguna. Another UNA bet is ahead of his opponent in Iloilo.

In Camarines Sur, the winning LP bets include Leni Robredo of the third district.

Eileen Ermita-Buhain of Lakas is winning over incumbent Rep. Tomas Apacible in the first district of Batangas. It will be sweet revenge for Buhain, whose father, Eduardo Ermita, who served as executive secretary in the Arroyo administration, lost to Apacible in 2010.

The ruling LP won the most number of congressional seats in Western Visayas, home to two of its top leaders – Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Franklin Drilon, who served as campaign manager of Team PNoy. Administration allies are likely to dominate the incoming Senate and to push for Drilon as Senate president.

In Northern Mindanao, the administration party won at least two congressional seats in Misamis Oriental, one in Lanao del Norte and one in Bukidnon.

Its mayoral candidate in Cagayan de Oro City, outgoing Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno, appears on the way to victory.

The NPC appears ahead in at least 29 districts, including six in Pangasinan, four in Cagayan Valley, three in Calabarzon, and five in Central Visayas.

Among its winning candidates are Henry Cojuangco of Tarlac and Mark Mendoza of Batangas. Baby Arenas, who ran unopposed as congressional bet in Pangasinan’s third district, was set to be proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday. – Jess Diaz, Paolo Romero, Eva Visperas