Pangilinan hits Pimentel for defending Senate reorganization
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Tuesday hit Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for defending the reorganization in the Senate that prompted Liberal Party (LP) senators and allies to jump to the minority bloc.
To say that the reorganization was due to hampered work in the chamber was “inaccurate and factually erroneous,” Pangilinan, president of the LP, said in a statement.
“How can work in the Senate be hampered by the now minority members, including four from the Liberal Party, when almost 70 percent (20 of 29) of the bills now a couple of steps into becoming a law are being defended by us?” he said.
“It is simply untrue that LP Senators hampered the legislative agenda. How is this possible when two out of the administration’s three priorities—death penalty and the lowering of criminal age of responsibility—are with the justice committee and not our committees?” he further asked.
In fact, Pangilinan pointed out that the two senators, Panfilo Lacson and Sherwin Gatchalian, who voted against the passage of the 2017 national budget did not even come from the LP.
“The only other law passed so far was on the Sangguniang Kabataan, and it was sponsored by Sen. Bam Aquino,” he said. Aquino is part of LP.
Aside from Pangilinan and Aquino, other members in the chamber are Senators Franklin Drilon, and Leila de Lima, who is currently detained at Camp Crame over drug charges.
The LP senators, along with Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, were part of the Senate majority bloc until they were stripped of their posts and chairmanships Monday.
After their removal from their posts, the LP senators and Hontiveros immediately jumped to the minority group.
Pangilinan pointed out that the only instances the majority were divided were on the following issues: The Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the extrajudicial killings, the investigation of corruption in the Bureau of Immigration and the testimony of retired SPO3 Arturo Lascañas.
“In these instances, the LP asserted the independence of the Senate and it was in these instances that senators allied with Malacañang opposed our efforts,” he said.
“It is,therefore, inaccurate and factually erroneous to say that the reorganization was due to hampered work. On the contrary, it was undertaken to ensure that the Senate toes the line on issues that may have a negative impact on the administration.”
Despite having a different stance on several “life-and-death” issues, Pangilinan said the LP senators remained with the majority “because this precisely allowed us to work as our oath of office requires.”
Pangilinan assured that even if they were now in the minority, they would still continue to support the administration’s policies that improve the lives of the people but they would also speak out “against State actions that threaten them and their livelihoods.” RAM/rga
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