Senate ousts Drilon, LP senators from key posts

February 27, 2017 at 16:49

Senate ousts Drilon, LP senators from key posts

The 4 ousted senators join the Senate minority bloc

Published 4:12 PM, February 27, 2017

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MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday, February 27, stripped 3 Liberal Party senators and their ally of committee chairmanships, following the arrest of their party mate Senator Leila de Lima.

It was neophyte senator Manny Pacquiao who motioned to remove from key positions LP senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, as well as Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros. Akbayan is allied with the LP.

Drilon was removed as Senate President Pro-Tempore, Pangilinan was relieved as agriculture committee chairman, and Aquino was sacked as education committee chairman. Akbayan’s Hontiveros was also removed as health committee head.

As Senate Pro-Tempore, Drilon was the 2nd highest Senate official and an ex-officio member of all standing committees in the chamber and in the powerful Commission on Appointments.

The revamp came after De Lima’s arrest last Friday, February 24, and the 31st anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution last Saturday, February 25, which was attended by the ousted senators all clad in black.

Minority bloc

No senator objected to Pacquiao’s motions, with the 4 senators even seconding his motions.

The 4 senators then moved to join the minority bloc, together with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Drilon said De Lima would also join them but Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said it’s best to wait for the official confirmation from the lady senator.

Before the session started, LP president Pangilinan said they would not be surprised if they would be ousted from their posts following the detention of De Lima.

Recto is new Pro-Tempore

Replacing Drilon as Senate President Pro Tempore is Senator Ralph Recto, who used to belong to the minority.

Senator Francis Escudero also left the minority bloc as he replaced Aquino as the new education committee chairperson.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s close allies, Senator Cynthia Villar and Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, are the new agriculture and health committee chairpersons, respectively.

Villar replaced Pangilinan while Ejercito replaced Hontiveros.

The first sign of a breakup within the so-called “super-majority” coalition in the Senate came about in December last year, when Vice President Leni Robredo, an LP stalwart, was eased out of the Duterte Cabinet. She was forced to quit as housing secretary.

Robredo’s resignation prompted calls at the time for the LP to bolt the majority coalition, but the LP senators hedged and eventually decided to stay. –



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