Speaker on Bieber: Let's not meddle

If he had it his way, Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte Jr. would punch Canadian popstar Justin Bieber "in the face" himself.

But wearing the hat of the highest official in the House of Representatives, Belmonte thinks it's not worth getting into.

"That's just the sort of thing we're talking about: People should say whatever they want. And I don't think that amounts to libel," Belmonte said.


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"I'd like to punch him myself in the face (for making those comments) but I don't think it's something that Congress should be getting into," the House speaker noted.

Belmonte issued the statement after foreseeing the approval of a House resolution that demanded public apology from Bieber, who earlier made fun of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao on Instagram.

Bieber, who successfully launched his concert at SM Mall of Asia concert grounds in May 2011, altered several photos of Pacquiao, who was seen lying face down after losing his latest match last week.


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On Monday morning, YACAP party-list Rep. Carol Jane Lopez and six others urged Lower Congress to declare Bieber a "persona non grata" should he refuse to apologize to Filipinos for his actions.

"It may actually get approved here. It's very hard to stop (a resolution like that) but it's more like a statement of sentiment than anything," Belmonte told Yahoo! Southeast Asia.

"But I, personally, am not all jumping into that... It should be Manny's press people who should do the attack, not Congress," he added, throwing a slight jab against Pacquiao's camp.


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A few days after Pacquiao’s loss, the Filipino boxing icon's camp featured in the headlines for allegedly beating a photographer who tried to take his picture after getting knocked out in Las Vegas.

Belmonte urged lawmakers not ride on issues concerning the way other people, Filipino citizens or not, prefer to exercise their freedom of expression.

"We're not any (penny ante) place. We have great prestige and importance as a body like the US Congress. I couldn't imagine that the US congress would do a thing like that and even us ," Belmonte said.

"It's just public opinion. We are pro-Pacquiao here, we love him... but we cannot step in if people are exercising their own freedom of expression," he added.

"That should not be an issue of the state," he noted.


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