Pro-admin senators-elect vow not to become ‘Duterte rubber stamp’
MANILA, Philippines — Four of President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies who were earlier proclaimed as Senators-elect on Tuesday vowed not to become the administration’s “rubber stamp” in the upper chamber.
Senators-elect Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, two of Duterte closest allies, issued the assurance after nine of the 12 newly proclaimed senators were either allies or supportive of the administration.
“Mukha po ba akong rubber stamp? Senador po ako. Wala pong rubber stamp sa Senado (Do I look like a rubber stamp? I’m a Senator. There’s no rubber stamp at the Senate),” Go, Duterte’s former longtime aide, told reporters Wednesday after the proclamation rites of winners of this year’s elections at the PICC Forum in Pasay City.
Dela Rosa, who was the President’s chief of police from 2016 to 2018, shared that Duterte had told him to always think of the welfare of Filipinos as he embarks on his new career as a lawmaker.
“Sabi niya sa akin (He said to me), ‘Bato you are a senator of the Filipinos, you are not a senator of Duterte. Gawin mo ang trabaho mo para sa kapakanan ng Pilipino (Do your job for the welfare of the Filipino),” he said.
Meanwhile, two successful reelectionists who were also Duterte’s allies assured that the Senate will be independent.
“We want to help the President. We want to help the people, but they also expect independence from the senators,” said reelected Senator Sonny Angara in a separate interview.
The Senate race’s topnotcher, Senator-elect Cynthia Villar, for her part, called on the members of the Senate and House of Representatives to set aside their political differences and remain independent.
“The Senate or the entire Congress, after all, is a collegial body. The laws we craft or legislate must consider all interests. A strong and independent Senate has always been our goal ever since,” Villar said in a speech after the proclamation rites.
Villar and Angara were among Duterte’s preferred senatorial candidates.
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