LP senators ousted from key posts

MANILA, Philippines - Following the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima last week for a drug case, four Liberal party senators were removed from key posts prompting them to shift to the minority bloc.

Duterte administration ally and first-time senator Manny Pacquiao motioned the removal of LP senators from key positions. No senator objected to Pacquiao’s motions, including the four senators.

Pacquiao motion oust LP senators
Senator Manny Pacquiao made a motion to replace Senator Franklin Drilon as Senate President Pro Tempore at today's senate session. Photo Credit: Facebook/Senate of the Philippines
Sen. Franklin Drilon was replaced by former Senate Minority Leader Sen. Ralph Recto as Senate President.

Pimentel congratulates Recto
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (right) congratulates newly-elected Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto after the latter took his oath on Monday, February 27, 2017. Photo Credit: Facebook/Senate of the Philippines
Sen. Francis Pangilinan was sacked as Agriculture and Food committee chairman, while Sen. Cynthia Villar took over his post.

Meanwhile, Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV was replaced by independent Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero as chairman of the Education Committee.

Akbayan Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who is a known ally of LP, was stripped of the committee chairmanship on Health and Demography. She was replaced by Sen. JV Ejercito.

The said senators said they would join de Lima and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in the minority.

LP senators react

Known for opposing numerous policies of the administration, LP senators believe they were stripped of committee chairmanships for criticizing the government.

"After arrest ni Senator De Lima, kami naman sa LP coalition. Ito'y kasama sa plano dahil hindi komportable ang administration sa aming pagiging kritiko sa ilang mga bagay. Parang gusto ata administration right or wrong, di tayo papayag sa ganun,” LP President Pangilinan said.

In his Facebook account, Aquino wrote: “I take no offense at this removal of my chairmanship in Education. But for the record, Mr. President, I would just like to state - and I hope no one will object - that this move has nothing to do with the performance of the Committee on Education.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo, who was forced to quit as housing secretary in December, said in a statement:

“What happened in the Senate today is characteristic of an administration obsessed with monopolizing power and intent on marginalizing those who have opposing views. This has happened before. In the past, this paved the way for a one-man rule.”

--Mini, The Summit Express

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