Recto, Escudero ‘recruited’ to join Senate majority bloc
Newly installed Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto claimed on Tuesday that he and Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero were “recruited” to join the Senate majority bloc after the latter reached a decision to kick Liberal Party (LP) senators out of their posts in the chamber.
“That was purely a majority decision, we in the minority have no part in it. We cannot interfere in their affairs and they cannot (interfere) with ours,” Recto said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
“When they (majority) decided, we were informed and (they) recruited me and Chiz to assist in forming a meaningful legislative agenda and scrutinizing and fiscalizing bills in the Senate. I view my new role as Pro-Temp as such—purely legislative, crafting meaningful legislation. No more no less,” he added.
Recto was the Senate Minority Leader until he was elected Monday to replace then Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon. Escudero was also part of the minority but he was elected to replace Senator Benigno Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV as chair of the committee on education.
Drilon and Aquino are part of LP. Their party president, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, was also removed as chair of the committee on agriculture and replaced by Senator Cynthia Villar while Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, who ran under the LP-led ticket in the last May elections, was also removed as chair of the Senate committee on health.
The three LP senators—Drilon, Pangilinan, and Aquino—as well as Hontiveros, immediately transferred to the minority group after their removal from their posts, joining the last opposition member, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Before joining the majority bloc, Recto said he talked to Trillanes, who he said would have wanted him to stay with the minority.
“Yes, we discussed it. He understood. He preferred I stay as Minority Leader. I enjoy being the Minority Leader. But at this time, Frank, Kiko or Bam should take the role,” Recto said.
Now that he is now with the majority group, the new Pro Tempore vowed to remain “independent-minded.”
“My convictions are the same. I am against the death penalty, against shifting to federal system, against EJK (extrajudicial killings), etc. I will remain an independent thinker and will continue to work hard crafting legislation/policy,” Recto added in a separate text message. RAM/rga
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