MANILA — Akbayan Party-list Rep. Walden Bello vowed on Thursday to deliver his last privilege speech as member of the 16th Congress on Monday before formally resigning as a lawmaker starting March 19.
Bello failed to deliver his privilege speech on Wednesday after Sulu Rep. Tupay Loong questioned the quorum which resulted to the adjournment few minutes after the session opened.
Congress is scheduled to go on a Holy Week break on March 20 and will resume sessions on May 4.
The party-list lawmaker said he has tendered his irrevocable resignation to Akbayan party as one of its two representatives over difference in principles.
Bello accused the House leadership of cutting the session short last Wednesday to prevent him from speaking.
House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said Bello’s resignation as representative of Akbayan is between him and the party.
“That’s internal to them, but he is a big loss to Congress because he is a very intelligent congressman,” said Gonzales.
Bello is the first nominee of Akbayan party-list and Rep. Barry Gutierrez is the second representative. Angie Katoh has been tapped by Akbayan to replace Bello.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier downplayed the resignation of Bello as he expressed optimism that there is no need to conduct loyalty check among members of the majority.
“There’s no need at all for a loyalty check because his action speaks louder than any loyalty check. We have been together here and we have able to resolve any differences among ourselves without fanfare,” Belmonte told reporters in a chance interview after Bello decided to resign as lawmaker.
He said not even a single lawmaker will follow Bello who cut his ties with President Benigno S. Aquino III for allegedly engaging in a brazen cover-up of his role in the Mamasapano carnage that left 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) dead.
Belmonte said Bello’s departure from the administration coalition in the House of Representatives has no bearing.
“Well, numerically he is a lost to the majority coalition, but really considering that more than ninety-three percent of everybody belongs to the majority here in Congress, it doesn’t really matter one or two drops out,” Belmonte said.
Bello, who chairs the House committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, announced that he had told his party-list about his decision who later gave him the green light.