BY ROGER M. BALANZA
After Senate President Franklin Drilon described him as the smartest ‘presidentiable’ in the 2016 election, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte has also heaped praise on Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
He is an action man, said Belmonte in a report in ABS/CBN News.
Duterte has emerged as a potential presidential candidate landing third in surveys for presidential preference that had Vice President Jejomar of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the lead followed by Senator Grace Poe.
Duterte, who has previously said he was not running for President, has fanned hopes he would join the presidential derby by saying he would reveal his plan during filing of certificate of candidacy for the 2016 elections in October.
Belmonte, a stalwart like Drilon of the administration Liberal Party (LP) of President Benigno Aquino, wants Duterte to run not for President but as running mate of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the LP’s presumed standard bearer.
He is definitely an action man, Belmonte told ABS/CBN in an interview in the Hague where he is part of the government delegation in Philippine ‘s arbitration case against Beijing over territorial rights to the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Belmonte said Duterte fits in as the “best alternative” to Senator Grace Poe who has rejected an offer to be Roxas’ running mate.
An action man like Duterte is what Filipinos need, he said.
The House Speaker also said Duterte enjoys massive support because of his strong stand against criminality.
Aquino was expected to announce the LP’s standard bearer during his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.