Jun 052013
The administration-led Liberal Party will retain its hold on the House of Representatives in the coming 16th Congress after its candidates won the most number of seats in the lower chamber in the May 13 mid-term polls, according to data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The party, which is chaired by President Benigno Aquino III, counted 108 winning candidates in various districts across the country. Among them are House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., who led the party’s sweep in all six congressional seats for Quezon City, including those at the newly created fifth and sixth districts.

The opposition has said it intends to put forward their own bet, LAKAS president and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez – who is also the nephew of former first lady and Ilocos Rep. Imelda Marcos – against Belmonte in the next Congress.

“We’re officially declaring that we’re going to challenge the leadership of the House,” Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez told the media last May 23.

But Belmonte is confident that he will retain his post on the strength of the LP’s alliance with other parties. “We expect that we’ll form the same coalition that we did last time—principally with the NPC, NUP, and the NP (Nacionalista),” he said.

Comelec results show that the remaining 126 congressional districts went to candidates from the following groups:

* Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC), 43 seats
* National Unity Party (NUP), 24 seats
* Nacionalista Party (NP), 20 seats
* Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (LAKAS-CMD), 14 seats
* United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), 8 seats
* Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), 2 seats
* 15 other local parties

The NPC, NP, and LDP had forged a coalition with the LP in the May elections, with many of their senatorial bets running under the administration’s Team Pnoy.

At the end of June, the lower house will bid goodbye to 39 representatives who are on their third and last terms.

in July, however, the chamber will welcome 66 neophyte legislators along with 143 re-elected members and 25 returning representatives when the 16th Congress convenes.

The incoming Congress will have the largest group in its history – a total of 292 members in all composed of 234 legislators from various districts and 58 party-list representatives led by Buhay, which won three seats in the last elections.

The next lower house breaks the record of the 15th Congress which had 283 members—the chamber’s biggest membership so far—when it began in 2010.

In the last three years, however, the lower house lost a number of its members, including former Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, who was appointed as Transportation and Communications secretary in August 2012, according to data from GMA News Research.

Six members of the House died while in office – of whom three were replaced – while another three resigned but were subsequently replaced. Meanwhile, Dinagat Islands Rep. Ruben Ecleo was dropped from the roster in May 2012 after he went into hiding, following a criminal conviction for the murder of his wife.

Unlike the Senate, which has a fixed number of 24 members that are elected nationally, the membership of the House varies every Congress depending on the number of legislative districts and seats allotted to party-list groups. – YA, GMA News

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