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DAVAO CITY — Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. is in talks with members of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP-Laban (Party Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan) for a possible coalition with the Liberal Party in the 17th Congress.

Sonny told the reporter before he had meeting with Duterte that “We have been actually in negotiations with Congressman Alvarez for a few weeks…,” A meeting was scheduled at 04:00PM at the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) office's in Panacan where Duterte meets his guests.

Sonny said one of his reasons for visiting Davao City is to pay a courtesy call to the incoming President.

Sonny and the Liberal Party will join the majority bloc in the 17th Congress with Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as the Speaker, an Inquirer reporter said earlier.

Belmonte clarified that the decision to coalesce with the PDP-Laban only applies to members of the House of the Representatives and not the whole Liberal Party.

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PDP-Laban was his first political party after the Edsa People Power in 1986, Sonny said.

Alvarez said that “In the case of Speaker Belmonte, wala namang lipat-party. Balik-PDP lang,”.

Congress won’t be a rubber stamp of the incoming Duterte administration, Sonny added.

“Even with the majority now I have to talk to them. . .It doesn’t mean na andun ka sa majority yes-man ka or vice versa nasa minority ka yes-man ka. May sarili ka naman sentido o common sense or prinsipyo,” he said.

Other political parties that have joined Duterte’s coalition include Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, National Unity Party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and Party-List Coalition.

Source: Inquirer.net

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