Liberal Party (LP) senators were removed from their positions in the Senate committee chairmanships this Monday, February 27. In addition, Senator Franklin Drilon was stripped off as Senate President Pro Tempore. With this, Senator Senator Risa Hontiveros moved to senate minority bloc. Shortly, Vice President Leni Robredo reacted on this matter.
At the start of the Senate session that day, Senator Manny Pacquiao moved that the position of Senate President Pro Tempore be declared vacant. He nominated Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto to replace Sen. Drilon, who did not oppose and even second the motion. Recto’s nomination was approved by 17 out of the 23 senators.
After a very short break, Sen Pacquiao moved that the chairmanship of the committees on agriculture, and education, and heath be declared vacant. Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who chairs the committee on agriculture, was replaced by Senator Cynthia Villar. Pangilinan, who is the husband of Megastar Sharon Cuneta, is also the LP President.
Chair of committee on education Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV was replaced by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, while committee on health chair Sen. Hontiveros was replaced by Senator JV Ejercito. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV temporarily replaced Sen. Recto as chairman of the minority bloc. Nevertheless, his post will still be decided later.
Later, Sen. Pangilinan told reporters that LP had already sensed these changes of committee chairmanships will eventually happen. “We saw the writing on the wall. Talagang hindi sila papayag dahil sa ‘ting pambabatikos sa mga patakaran ng pamahalaan lalo na dito sa extrajudicial killings (EJKs) pati sa death penalty.” He said.
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Credit: Senator Risa Hontiveros Facebook
Credit: Leni Robredo Facebook
Meanwhile, Sen. Hontiveros said she decided to decided to concede the chairmanship of the Committee on Health, and moved to the minority because she feels that the old Senate majority bloc has no more respect in human rights. Likewise, VP Robredo said that the Duterte administration is obsessed with power, but still LP will not be silenced.