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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Statement of Rep. Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.
12 October 2018 04:56:38 PM

This is to clarify the issue on the appointment of caretaker of the lone legislative district of Batanes.

I was appointed caretaker of Batanes by former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez weeks after the death of the late Congresswoman Henedina Abad.

As a former Speaker myself, I know that the choice of caretaker is solely the prerogative of the Speaker, who must ensure that the needs of the legislative district continue to be addressed and its constituents taken cared of.

In my time as Speaker, the only hint of tradition or custom on the appointment of caretaker was that the Deputy Speaker covering the area would be designated as caretaker if the Speaker himself or herself is unable to take on the role.

Since Speaker Macapagal-Arroyo has decided not to take on the Speaker’s role of caretaker, I believe it is appropriate for Deputy Speaker Rosemarie Arenas, who represents Northern Luzon to take on the role.

It is unfair to accuse Speaker GMA of vindictiveness and partisanship. She has a free hand in the choice of caretaker, duly considering the needs of the constituents of the lone legislative district of Batanes and my inability to continue performing my duty as such.