Alan Cayetano is CA’s minority leader; Hontiveros airs ‘serious’ concern
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who is part of so-called independent bloc in the Senate, was elected minority floor leader of the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Tuesday.
No one objected when a motion electing Cayetano as minority floor leader was made during the CA’s first plenary session.
But after his election, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros took the floor and expressed her “serious concern over the election of a CA minority leader who is not an original member of the minority in the Senate.”
“I wish to express for the record my serious concern over the election of a CA minority leader who is not an original member of the minority in the Senate,” Hontiveros said.
While the Supreme Court has ruled that the Senate may freely determine who belongs to the minority, she stressed that “making determinations to assuage less-than-institutional considerations strikes at the very heart of democracy.”
“Hindi pwedeng majority tayo o independent tayo o minority tayo sa iba’t ibang panahon para sa iba’t ibang layunin [It is not right that we become majority or independent or minority in different season for a different purpose],” Hontiveros said.
“It is important for bodies such as these to have clarity as to the positions of each members. This is important for lines of accountability, and important to ensure that we have a genuine minority voice,” she added.
After Hontiveros, Cayetano also stood up to say he was not alluded to by Hontiveros’ statement.
“Again, Mr. President napakarami po nating trabaho [we have a lot of work to do] and I don’t feel alluded to the statement of Senator Risa because I’ve been very consistent in my advocacies and the rules of both the CA and the Senate will bear us out,” he said.
Cayetano has requested that the CA reclassify him, as he was incorrectly included in the Senate’s majority bloc. He believed he belonged to the minority.
Citing the Senate and House of Representatives rules, he said that lawmakers who do not fall with either group qualify as “independent minorities.”
READ: Cayetano siblings mull forming third bloc at Senate
“If you don’t vote for the Senate President and I would have wished to have voted for you, Mr. President and it’s not about not voting for you, you know my circumstances and my relationship vis-a-vis this administration. So may I ask that that be corrected and that I also be considered part of the minority, Mr. President,” Cayetano said, addressing the presiding chairman, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Aside from Cayetano, two other opposition members were elected assistant minority floor leaders, GP Rep. Jose Padiernos and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel.
Hontiveros is also part of the minority representatives in the CA.
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