Villanueva to join Senate majority bloc but remains independent
Senator-elect Joel Villanueva said he has already made up his mind to join the new majority bloc in the Senate but still wants to keep his independence.
Villanueva disclosed that he met with Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Thursday and they agreed on the legislative agenda of the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
He described the meeting, which lasted one and a half hours, as “happy” and “positive” although he did not sign a resolution electing Pimentel as Senate President in the next Congress.
“Hindi ako pumirma but he (Pimentel) was happy enough that I committed to support Mayor Digong (Duterte),” Villanueva said over the phone on Friday.
“I’m willing to sign the resolution but there’s no need to rush it because he already has the number. May 14 signatures na siya (He already has 14 signatures).”
“He took my word that I’m supporting whoever gets the majority. I will join the majority,” he further said.
A simple majority or 13 of the 24-member chamber is needed to elect a Senate leader.
During the meeting, Villanueva said Pimentel did not insist that he sign the resolution.
“He did not want me to sign it with reservations,” the incoming senator said.
But he added: “I’ll have no problems having Koko as the next Senate president.”
Villanueva said they did not talk about committee assignments although it was earlier reported that he would get the labor committee if he joined the majority bloc. JE/rga
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