THERE is a new bloc in the Senate and it wants senators who are members of the Liberal Party (LP) to draw the line and decide if they will stay with the Senate majority or join the minority.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, a member of the five-member new bloc said: “I think lines have to be drawn, because you cannot be enjoying the benefits of being in the majority but at the same time you are also attacking and going against the majority,” Ejercito said.
Ejercito cited the instance at the plenary session Monday when Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd moved to divide the house to decide if the proposed resolution calling for an investigation on the bribery scandal at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) should be referred to the committee on rules to determine which committee will handle the inquiry.
Fourteen senators voted in favor of referring the resolution to the committee on rules while seven, including the LP senators objected.
“They have to make a decision already, whether to stay with the majority or with the minority,” Ejercito said referring to the LP senators.
Other members of the new Senate bloc include Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Meanwhile, Ejercito said that he doesn’t see the possible departure of the LP bloc from the majority having a major effect on the current Senate leadership.
There are now four incumbent LP senators namely Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, and Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Leila de Lima, and Francis Pangilinan.
The LP bloc along with its ally Sen. Risa Hontiveros supported Pimentel’s bid for the Senate presidency.
According to Ejercito Pimentel’s presidency is secure even if the LP bloc decides to go with the minority noting that there is no clamor for a change of leadership among the senators.
Ejercito added, “We (the new bloc) are supportive of Pimentel and if ever there are issues that are raised we try to thresh it out. What’s nice with the Senate president is he listens.”
Ejercito admitted that they are still finalizing plans of their bloc on how they would help in pushing for legislation beneficial to the people.
Drilon, on the other hand, said that the LP senators find no reason to leave the majority and the incident on Monday (see related story on heated argument between Senators Trillanes and Zubiro) is not a basis for them to do so.
“We were elected by the majority. We were part of the majority that voted for Koko (Pimentel),” Drilon added.