MANILA – Even with the impending entry of President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III assured they will not be influenced by the demands of Malacañang.
Sotto said the senators will side for the betterment of the country as history showed the Senate has always been independent.
“Huwag silang mag-alala na walang oposisyon doon di naman franchise ng oposisyon mag-oppose, kasi sa amin kung ano ‘yung tama,” Sotto said.
“The Senate has historically been independent from the executive branch. We will uphold the tradition,” he added.
The Senate stood in the way of Duterte’s push for federalism, one of his key campaign promises in 2016, along with a deadly narcotics crackdown and intensive fight against corruption.
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel agreed with Sotto and said among likely winners are reelectionists Sen. Grace Poe, an independent candidate, and Sen. Nancy Binay.
Nine of 12 available seats in the Senate looked set for the administration’s candidates and the rest to “independents,” based on the latest tally from the Commission on Elections.
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said it was difficult to say if the new Senate will give automatic approval to the President’s agenda even if majority of pro-administration bets were poised to win in the elections.
“It’s difficult to say that. Don’t forget the President already has a supermajority of 17 senators,” he said.
“It hasn’t been smooth sailing for all these bills which were initially pushed by the President because they’re tackled on their own merits and senators tend to have their own positions,” added Angara. /PN