• LP ‘exodus’ to super majority has Aquino blessings


    PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd and other top officials of the Liberal Party (LP) have been consulted and given their go-signal for members’ exodus to join the so-called super majority in Congress to support incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda, Malacanang Palace said.

    In separate interviews, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, an LP stalwart, and Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. both confirmed that Aquino was consulted by erstwhile Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on the party’s inclusion in the majority coalition primarily to get hold of powerful committees.

    “Yes, the decision of [Drilon] has clearance from the party hierarchy,” according to Abad, who also told The Manila Times that the LP lawmakers will “generally” support the incoming government’s legislative priorities.

    “In general, yes [we will support], especially if the priorities of the new administration sustain the economic growth, promote inclusive development and safeguard the country from the dire consequences of climate change,” he said.

    Coloma agreed, saying such decisions that will affect the future of the party must have the imprimatur of its leaders.

    “I am affirming [Abad’s] statement that they [Belmonte and  Drilon] consulted the President and the LP leadership and that they received clearance for their respective decisions,” he pointed out.

    Political analyst Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political Reforms said the LP’s move is
    crucial in “keeping themselves in the political game.”

    He hinted, however, that the “exodus” may be likened to the mythical “Trojan Horse,” a method to infiltrate the ranks of the opposite camp.

    “They can still maneuver in the future. It [Trojan Horse] is one scenario,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Drilon also on Wednesday confirmed that the LP bloc in the Senate has agreed to coalesce with Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and back Senator Aquilino “Koko”  Pimentel 3rd’s bid for the Senate presidency.

    “I wished to announce that last night the major political parties in the Senate have agreed to have an alliance, principally the Liberal Party and its allied parties,” he said at the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum.

    Drilon, also the vice chairman of the LP, said they have six members of the party in the 17th congress plus the members of its allied groups represented by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and incoming Sen. Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan.

    Senator Vicente Sotto 3rd of the NPC has seven or eight in his bloc, according to Drilon, which means that their coalition will have more than enough senators to elect Pimentel as the head of the chamber once the 17th Congress opens next month.

    Drilon agreed to be the Senate president pro-tempore while Sotto will be the Senate majority floor leader.

    He admitted that the current set-up is unusual because Pimentel  is the only PDP-Laban senator in chamber but he will be the Senate president.

    “This is to show that yes, we are willing to support, in general, the legislative agenda of this administration,” Drilon said.

    When asked if there will be no changes in the set-up between now and July 25, he replied, “It’s cast in stone.”

    The Senate chief said even if majority of the senators have chosen a partymate of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte as the next Senate president, the institution will remain independent.

    Drilon noted that while the Senate intends to support in general the legislative agenda of the executive branch, they will maintain their independence.

    “You look at the tradition of the Senate, and the tradition has always been [that]we act independently of the executive branch,” he said.

    Drilon explained that they decided to support Pimentel for the sake of unity and stability and instead of wrangling they agreed to support the lone PDP-senator and assume the post of Senate president pro-tempore.

    The decision of LP to team up with NPC and support Pimentel is a big blow to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s bid for the Senate presidency.

    He earlier claimed to have obtained the commitment of at least 15 senators.

    With 17 senators agreeing to back Pimentel, there will only be six senators left– Francis Escudero, Antonio Trillanes 4th, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Cynthia Villar, Richard Gordon and  Juan Miguel Zubiri–for Cayetano to convince.

    Reach out        

    Pimentel, in a separate interview, said they are not closing its doors on the other senators who were not initially included in the coalition, noting that he will continue to convince Cayetano and at least four other senators to join them.

    He added that if Cayetano would agree to join them, he could bring four more senators to bring their number to 22 and make it a super majority.

    “I will have to stop at 22 because there should be a minority,” he said.

    Pimentel added that he expects Escudero and Trillanes to represent the Senate minority because the two do not belong to any group in the Senate and that they have not reached out to any of the existing blocs

    “I agree that there should be a minorit, so let it be. In fact, I encourage that someone or some group should be interested in being minority,” he said.

    On  committee chairmanships, according to  Pimentel,  the powerful blue ribbon committee, could be given to Cayetano if ever he agreed to join the majority.

    When asked if he already informed Duterte about the incoming composition of the Senate leadership, he said he is yet to inform the President-elect about it but he believes that Duterte already heard about it.

    Pimentel will be meeting with the 17 senators and have them sign a  resolution making him Senate president.


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    1. In order that President Duterte’s move to stump out corruption to succeed, these corrupt to the hilt LP senators and congressmen must not be allowed to join his party. Their exodus to the ruling party is for their self preservation and save their own skins!!

    2. Juan T. Delacruz on

      This type of strategy may work for PNoy as well. They will form a strong friendship and camaraderie, and the end result? pagbigyan ng isa’t isa paminsan-minsan at give and take lang. Kung sabihin ni Duterte na ibalik ninyo si Ninoy dito para pagbayarin ko sa ginawa niya sa PDAF. Sabihin naman yung mga LP turncoats kay DU30- Bosing, pabayaan na po natin at ipaubaya mo na lang sa amin si Ninoy, kawawa naman, at isa pa, bagong kasal siya at pinakasalan pala niya yung bagong nakilalang boypren. PNoy won again, di ba?

    3. This is just a grim reminder to those drunk with power…nothing is forever, political parties with 6yrs shelf life only!!!

    4. Actually, President Aquino supporting Duterte, to get rid of crimes, drug in Philippines. Duterte Mother is a great supporter of Cory, thats why Coy gave a mayorship to duterte at that time, PDP laban, is a party that support aquinos before.and the one whou fought for marcos regime. Pimentel will be a senate president, in support for duterte and what aquinos started, will be implemented and improve more by dutertes group. Mabuhay ang PILIPINAS!

    5. Kalokohan! Lokohin nyo lolo nyong panot! Nangngahulugan ba niyan na uto uto kayong mga congressmen? O gimmick na paalam paalam, ang sabihin nyo wala na kayong pakinabang sa kaban ng bayan na nauuto nyo si Noynoy na tanga. Alam naman ninyong tatanga yan pakinabang blues lang ang ginusto nyo diyan. Dapat di magtiwala ang bagong Presidente sa inyong mangunguto. Salamat wala na sa puwesto si Noynoy…salamat naman!

    6. baloney.
      noykapon wouldn’t touch du30 with a ten-foot pole during the campaign;
      and you’re saying he agrees for lp to support rody?
      pure hogwash;
      truth is he can no longer control lp members wanting to leave the party;
      the once powerful lp party is now a mere shadow of its former self;
      noykapon, mar, butch, josep, proce, are the only ones left.

    7. I believed Prof. Ramon Casiple that the exodus of the LP’s to form a ” Super Majority ” is a ” Trojan Horse “. First the Liberal Party’s stalwarts particularly Pnoy, Abad, Abaya and those senators who received DAP bribes to impeach SC Corona will be shielded from any suits and second they will have a better say in the senate than if the LPs will be the minority.
      I am sure that President Rody Duterte is very much aware of this as Drillon and Belmonte gave his administration the SILVER PLATER EASILY WITHOUT A FIGHT, A TROJAN HORSE.