THE 16th Congress is unlikely to have a “rubber-stamp” Senate even if the chamber is dominated by senators allied with the President Benigno Aquino 3rd, a political analyst said on Friday.
According to Ramon Casiple, although the majority of the senators have agreed to support the President and his legislative agenda, the Senate will not automatically concur with what the Executive department wants.
He said that there would still be negotiations among the members of the administration coalition in the Senate on specific bills, especially those that would have effect on the possible outcome of the 2016 election.
The administration coalition is composed mainly of senators from the Liberal Party, the Nationalista Party (NP) of Senator Manny Villar, and those who are members of other parties such as Loren Legarda of the Nationalist People’s Colaition (NPC); Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Sonny Angara, Laban ng Dekratikong Pilipino (LDP) and independents Francis Escudero and Grace Poe.
“The NP may have the most number of incumbent senators but it is not the one running the government. Meanwhile, the LP may be the party in power but it doesn’t have the numbers so we can expect a lot of negotiations on various priority legislation of Malacañang,” he said.
Some observers expressed concern over the possibility of a rubber-stamp Senate with the victory of the nine Senatorial candidates of the administration coalition in the May 13 midterm elections.
“I doubt it (rubber-stamp). Although we can expect the incoming Senate to be very friendly to the President, coalition partners will always be on a look out for controversies which they can use in 2016,” Casiple added.
Senator Franklin Drilon, for his part, maintained that the Senate would exercise its independent judgment on any issue that will be brought before the body.
Records of the Senate can also show that the chamber has been an independent entity and has never been a rubber stamp of any administration.
“I challenge anyone, instead of speculating, look at the history of the Senate. We stand proud of our record as an independent entity,” Drilon said.
As for the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senators, who are likely to lead the minority bloc, they vowed to remain responsible fiscalizers and constructive partners in nation building.
The minority bloc is expected to be composed of seven senators, namely Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate president pro tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd; Gregorio Honasan, Jose Victor Ejercito Estrda, Nancy Binay and Ramon Revilla Jr.