Senate President Koko Pimentel yesterday defended the expulsion of four Liberal Party senators and one LP ally from the dominant, pro-Duterte administration bloc, saying clear lines have been drawn to allow the majority bloc achieve its legislative agenda.
Pimentel conceded that the legislative work in the 24-man Senate had been hampered by the blurring of lines between the majority and minority blocs to the detriment of public interest.
There had been instances where the majority ended up divided instead of closing ranks, Pimentel said.
Pimentel, president of PDP-Laban party in which President Duterte is a member, assured that the Senate would remain independent and true to its role as the last bastion of democracy in the country.
Upon the surprise motion of boxing icon Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao in last Monday’s plenary session, the Senate ousted Sen. Franklin M. Drilon, LP vice chairman, as Senate President Pro Tempore.
Also ousted from their committee chairmanships were LP senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Francis Pangilinan and LP ally Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan.
Sen. Francis Escudero, erstwhile member of the minority bloc, became a majority bloc member when he accepted the chairmanship of the Senate Education Committee vacated by Aquino.
Sen. Sonny Angara crossed party lines when he joined the Drilon group and voted, along with Drilon, Hontiveros, Aquino, and Pangilinan, against Recto’s election as Senate President Pro Tempore. (Mario B. Casayuran)