Senate's stand on Cha-cha puzzled Koko Pimentel: 'Para kaming na-hostage'

Senate’s stand on Cha-cha puzzled Koko Pimentel: ‘Para kaming na-hostage’

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 01:52 PM January 17, 2024

BUDGETING PROCESS: Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III raises his concern on the budgeting process of the legislative branch following the bicameral conference committee (bicam) report on the P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024 Monday, December 11, 2023. Pimentel said the unprogrammed appropriations had increased by roughly P450 billion from the original proposal made by the President in the amount of P281.9 billion. “The original proposal of the President was P281.9 billion but the ending is P731.4 billion or an increase roughly of P450 billion as a result of the bicam meetings. It’s close to tripling the proposed unprogrammed appropriations by the executive. May we know what happened?,” Pimentel asked. Sen. Sonny Angara, chairperson of the Committee on Finance, said the main reason for the increase was to carve out a fiscal space in the programmed appropriations for other items that were proposed by both senators and congressmen. (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Has the Senate been held hostage to dance to Charter change (Cha-cha)?

It felt that way, at least according to Senate Minority Leader Aquilino  “Koko”Pimentel, after the Senate leadership  launched on Monday its own bid for Cha-cha.


“Nagulat lang ako parang na fast-track yung kilos sa Senado,” Pimentel said in a phone interview with Senate reporters on Wednesday.


(I was just surprised that the actions in the Senate were fast-tracked)

“So sana hindi kami nag react ng ganyan. Parang knee-jerk reaction, para kaming na-hostage sa isang sitwasyon na napa Cha-cha tuloy.”

(So I hope we didn’t react that way. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction, and it feels like we’ve become hostages in a situation that forces us to Cha-cha)

“Ang alam ko ayaw ng Senate na sumayaw ng Cha-cha pero nung tinugtog na yung music ng Cha-cha, pinalakas yung volume, e napasayaw din pala,” he lamented.

(What I knew was that the Senate didn’t want to dance to Cha-cha, but when the Cha-cha music started playing, and the volume was turned up, then suddenly it dances to it too.)

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri himself filed on Monday Resolution of Both Houses No. 6, proposing amendments to specific economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.


The resolution was also signed by Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, and Senator Sonny Angara, who  is being eyed to lead a subcommittee that will tackle the amendments.

According to Zubiri, no less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. asked the Senate to take the lead in the review of the economic provision. 

This suggestion was mentioned when the Senate and the House of Representatives leaderships met with the President last January 11 following reports of a people’s initiative being conducted for Cha-cha.

“The proposal subject of the people’s initiative could led to a constitutional crisis, destabilizing our bicameralism and upsetting the system of checks and balances,” Zubiri  warned then.

Pimentel insisted the Senate should have not been held hostage in the situation.

“Dapat hindi ganun na para kaming, thru our leadership, ang kilos namin para kaming na hostage sa isang sitwasyon kaya tuloy sige sige na kung yan ang gusto ninyo, sayawin na rin natin,”  he said.

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(It shouldn’t be like that where, through our leadership, we are like hostages in a situation that because that is what you want, let’s just go ahead and dance to it)

TAGS: Cha-cha, Koko Pimentel

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