Senate ‘supermajority’ showing kinks, but still united—Pimentel
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III assured on Wednesday that the so-called “supermajority” bloc in the Senate remained intact despite a colleague’s claim of a “brewing concern” against some of its members voting against the group.
Pimentel said he could accept some divisions within the majority when it comes to political issues as long as it remains united on the “substance” of their common legislative agenda.
He cited for instance the decision of Liberal Party (LP) senators, who voted against the majority that ousted Senator Leila de Lima as chair of the Senate justice committee, and on the recent decision of the majority to reconsider the committee referral of a resolution seeking a possible overhaul of the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
“Naiitindihan ko po ‘yan, that’s political e…Pero huwag kaming maghati-hati sa substance ng aming common legislative agenda of the majority. ‘Pag dun na kami maghati-hati, it’s time to rethink why we are together,” Pimentel said.
(It’s understandable, because it’s political. But we cannot afford to be divided in our common legislative agenda as the majority. Because if we disagree on that, then it’s time to rethink why we are together.)
“So don’t worry the majority is intact as far as the substance is concerned,” he added.
It was Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, who first raised the issue when asked LP senators belonging to the majority group to decide whether or not to stay with the group since they had been voting against it anyway.
Senator Richard Gordon echoed Ejercito’s sentiments.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III confirmed that there was a “brewing concern” among some colleagues that those who are in the majority bloc should not be “stymieing” its actions.
“If you’re critical then you criticize, just oppose and be in the opposition or in the minority. That’s the growing sense that I’ve been hearing from my colleagues,” Sotto said in a separate interview.
He said at least two to three senators had expressed that sentiment against the LP senators in the majority.
“You can be critical, why not…? Pero there should be harmony, there should be harmonious relationship. We should provide conducive environment in the plenary , in the session so that we can move forward and be able to pass the necessary legislation that will help the country,” Sotto said.
He, however, believes that this sentiment by some senators against the LP members could still be discussed and was not enough to cause a change in the present composition of the Senate.
Sotto did not also discount the possibility that there will be a new majority bloc should the LP senators decide to join the minority group .
There are four LP members in the majority and they are Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Bam Aquino III, and Leila de Lima. Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, who ran under the LP ticket in the May 2016 elections, is also part of the majority. IDL
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