Senate will probe abuses in Rody’s anti-crime drive – Risa
CEBU CITY – Senator-elect Risa Hontiveros is pushing for a “strong” and an “independent” Senate to maintain the check and balance among the three branches of government.
She told reporters after her oath-taking at the provincial capitol on Sunday that incoming President Rodrigo Duterte could not stop the senators from conducting inquiries into his anticrime campaign.
“I am one of the senators who are saying ‘but that’s part of our mandate.’ That’s part of the oath that we also swore to the people and it is very consistent with my politics as a leader of Akbayan,” she said.
During a victory party on June 8, Duterte said he had warned some congressmen during a meeting in Davao City not to make a mistake of conducting a congressional inquiry on his anticrime campaign or they would have a fight.
In reaction, Hontiveros said that the statement of the incoming President was not only intended for the House of Representatives but also for the Senate.
She said Senate inquiries on the anticrime campaign would be in aid of legislation to create a policy framework for its implementation and to prevent any possible excesses or abuses.
Hontiveros, the chairperson of Akbayan party, said her group’s coalition with the Liberal Party would remain and they would be willing to discuss specific issues with the senators belonging to the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), especially in reaching the goal of having a “strong and independent” Senate.
“We are very open to cooperating in discussing specific issues at dahil ideological din naman ang roots ng PDP(-Laban) and I have expressed this to Senator Koko (Pimentel) that we are also confident na in getting to know each other as parties and in discussing these issues, we can also agree when we have to disagree,” she said.
She said they had no objections to Pimentel’s assumption as Senate President, saying the senator from Mindanao could unify most if not all senators.
Although many of LP members have started to shift to the PDP-Laban, she added she would remain with Akbayan, which would not cut ties with the LP.
Hontiveros took her oath of office before Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III on Sunday morning at the Capitol Social Hall.
With her were her three children – Kiko, Ianna, and Sinta.
Some of her relatives and colleagues also witnessed the ceremony.
Asked why she took her oath here in Cebu, she said this was her and her party’s way of saying thank you to the Cebuanos for supporting her.
“Even when I lost twice at the national level, Cebu had always included me in the victory. I was always in the top 12 in Cebu,” she said.
Hontiveros placed 7th in the senatorial race in Cebu in the May 9 elections, getting 528,865 votes.
When work starts at the Senate, Hontiveros said she planned to push the Bibong BHW bill, which aims to provide at least P6,000 in monthly pay to Barangay Health Workers (BHWs).
The salaries of BHWs will be taken from the sin taxes until the time when the local government units can afford to pay./ac/rga
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