‘Clear lines have to be drawn,’ says Pimentel on Senate shakeup
“Clear lines have to be drawn” in order to best achieve the Senate’s legislative agenda, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel said after Liberal Party (LP) senators and an ally were ousted from key posts in the chamber on Monday.
“Work in the Senate has been hampered by the blurring of the lines between the majority and the minority to the detriment of public interest. There have been instances where the majority, instead of closing ranks, ended up divided,” Pimentel said in a statement.
“The majority of senators decided that to best achieve the Senate’s legislative agenda, clear lines have to be drawn,” he said.
After they were stripped of their posts and chairmanships, LP Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, and Bam Aquino immediately jumped to the Senate minority group, along with Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, who ran with LP-led ticket during the last elections.
Drilon was ousted as Senate President Pro Tempore and was replaced by former Minority Leader Ralph Recto; Pangilinan was removed as chairman of the committee on agriculture and was replaced by Senator Cynthia Villar while Aquino’s chairmanship of the education committee was given to Senator Francis Escudero, who was part of the minority bloc.
Hontiveros, on the other hand, was booted out as chair of the committee on health and was replaced by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito.
Following their removal from their posts, Pangilinan, Drilon, Aquino and Hontiveros decided to join the new minority group along with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Despite the sudden change in Senate leadership, Pimentel assured that the chamber would remain “independent and true to its role as the last bastion of democracy in our country.”/ac