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Pimentel says open to joining Senate minority; political dynasties are legal

/ 05:11 PM May 17, 2022
Pimentel says open to joining Senate minority; political dynasties are legal

FILE PHOTO: Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday expressed his disinterest in building “alliances” in the Senate, as well as his willingness to work as part of the Senate minority.

“I’m not so interested in all of these alliances that they’re building because I’m open to not belonging to the majority…I’m flexible enough to belong to the majority or to the minority but right now, I’m not really moving so that I will belong to the majority,” he said on CNN Philippines’ The Source.

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“If I get left behind, therefore, I will belong to the minority. Okay lang sa akin (It’s okay with me),” he also said

Set to end his second term as senator in 2025, Pimentel steered clear from naming a senator whom he eyes for the position of Senate President.

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“All of us can aspire to be Senate President. Ang tanong lang naman, at the end of the day, is do we have the numbers? At least 13, including yourself na. You must have thirteen, then you will become Senate President,” he explained.

Politics as a ‘legal’ family affair

Political dynasties in the Philippines have strengthened their hold in the upper chamber of the 19th Congress, based on the partial and unofficial count of the Commission on Elections.

Former public works secretary Mark Villar, taking the sixth spot in the so-called “Magic 12” with 19.2 million votes, was poised to work with his mother Cynthia Villar in the Senate, while former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, at the seventh spot with 19 million votes, would join his sister Pia Cayetano in the upper chamber.

Brothers JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada, with 15.6 million and 14.9 million votes, respectively, have also landed coveted spots as the leading senatorial candidates for the 2022 elections.

Asked about his opinion on expecting more members of dynasties to hold Senate seats, Pimentel emphasized that the “will of the people” must be followed under a democracy.

“Kahit disagree ka na this should not happen or hindi competent ‘yung isa, it’s the people who will tell you, ‘this should happen because we believe that the winning candidate is competent.’ Kaya nga ako, ang concern ko lang parati as a democrat or a believer in democratic processes…is [that] the results must be accurate na ‘yun talaga ang pinili ng taumbayan. That is my number one concern and then, policy change nalang po ‘yan – an anti-dynasty law. But since wala pa, it has not passed. Therefore, as far as legality is concerned, that is allowed.”

According to Article II, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

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As of this writing, no law has been passed banning political dynasties in the Philippines.

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TAGS: election 2022, Koko Pimental, political dynasty, Politics, Senate
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