Bloc eyes 'issue-based' alliances with Senate majority
MANILA -- The May elections that shut the Senate to opposition candidates left the 4-strong minority bloc "bloody but unbowed", one member said Tuesday, adding that her group would seek "issue-based" alliances with the majority poised to be dominated by the allies of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Administration-backed candidates won 9 of 12 Senate seats up for grabs in the May 13 polls. They are set to join 12 incumbents, including opposition members Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon and Leila de Lima who is detained on drug charges.
"We (opposition) may be bloody but we are unbowed... 'Yong loss namin sa midterm Senate election will only inspire us to fight better, fight harder," Hontiveros told ANC.
"Sabi ko nga, hindi pa ito yung endgame. Kami sa oposisyon, sanay kami sa mahihirap na laban (we in the opposition are used to tough battles). We are willing and able to fight the long game," she added.
The opposition will forge "issue-based alliances" with citizens organizations and "independent-minded" colleagues, she said.
"With regards the midterm election results, we will with humility and great interest continue to try to listen, understand, organize around the reasons ng ating mga kababayan (of our compatriots) for their electoral choices," said Hontiveros.
CHAIRMANSHIPS, SENATE PRESIDENCY
The minority bloc will still discuss its committee chairmanships, said Hontiveros. The issue has troubled the upper chamber, with 4 panels having several senators vying for leadership, Senate President Vicente Sotto earlier said.
Sotto needs the vote of at least 13 colleagues to remain as Senate leader, a post for which the name of election topnotcher, Sen. Cynthia Villar, was floated.
The minority has no complaint against Sotto's leadership despite their disagreement over some issues, said Hontiveros.
"Nakikita ko iyung effort niya na makipag-ugnayan sa lahat ng miyembro ng Senado, pati sa 'min sa minority, in a fair and professional way. Nakikita ko rin iyung effort niya na kahit papaano panatilihin iyung independence at integridad ng Senado," she said.
(I see his effort to coordinate with all members of the Senate, even minority members, in a fair and professional way. I also see his effort to maintain the independence and integrity of the Senate.)
Duterte increased his support in the Senate midway into his 6-year term, with many of his campaign promises pending, including rewriting the Constitution to shift to a federal form of government, overhauling the tax system and restoring death penalty.
The odds that death penalty and constitutional change would be approved in the 18th Congress "would be based on its merits... not because it is being endorsed by the President," Sotto earlier said.
With a report from Reuters