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Boholano solon first opposition Ethics chair

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Aug. 29 -– Bohol Second District Rep. Erico Aumentado has claimed the record as the first opposition lawmaker chosen to chair the House Committee on Ethics which serves as “The Ombudsman” of the legislative body.

Aumentado’s selection came after a meeting between House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Minority Leader Edcel Lagman.

Later, Lagman informed the Bohol lawmaker that his selection was a judgment call of the Speaker who thanked Aumentado for accepting the chairmanship.

“Everyone feels you are a fair-minded person Eric, especially me. Thanks for accepting,” Belmonte told Aumentado in an SMS.

In the over 100 years history of the House of Representatives, the chairmanship of the Committee on Ethics was always given to the majority administration congressmen because of the very sensitive position which deals on all matters related to the honor and dignity of the chamber and the members’ privileges.

It 1999, Aumentado — as chairman of the same committee — stood single-handedly to block the resolution signed by 119 congressmen urging the Supreme Court to allow then Cong. Romeo Jalosjos to attend all sessions in Congress and committee hearings.

Aumentado argued that the resolution was “a violation of the separation of powers under the Constitution between the legislative, the judiciary and the executive departments of government aside from infringing on the equal protection clause of the Constitution as well as being highly immoral."

After the marathon debate, many signatories to the resolution withdrew their signatures and the resolution was defeated on the floor.

Aumentado was also remembered by his peers both in the majority and minority in standing for almost 12 hours –- the longest in the history of the House -– to defend the national budget in his capacity as vice chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.

These two records of the lawmaker catapulted him to the position of Deputy Speaker in 2000 under the Speakership of Manuel Villar, now a senator. Speaker Belmonte was the minority leader at the time, and later on became also a Speaker of the House during the closing month of the 11th Congress.

Aumentado is also a member of the committees on Appropriations, Public Works and Highways, Agriculture and Food, Basic Education, Tourism, Good Government and Accountability, Local Government, Transportation and Natural Resources. (PNA)

scs/Angeline Valencia/rsm

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