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Masiyadong mabait! Koko’s failure to stand up to Alvarez dismays senators

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By Xave Gregorio

Many senators found Senate President Koko Pimentel “too kind,” especially when he did not adequately defend the Senate from tirades of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

“I have to be honest with you, when the Senate was under attack by the Speaker. Maraming nasaktan doon. Parang ang pakiramdam rin siguro ng marami, dapat dinepensahan ang Senado as an institution,” Senator JV Ejercito told reporters Friday (May 18) in Las Piñas.

Ejercito was referring to Alvarez’ comment last year, calling the Senate the “mabagal na kapulungan (slow chamber)” because measures passed by the House had been delayed or remained pending in the upper chamber.

This earned backlash from senators, who urged Pimentel to speak up against his partymate, Alvarez.

In response, the Senate President only said the upper chamber’s focus is on the quality and not the quantity of measures passed.

However, senators still found this lacking.

“‘Yun nga ‘yung parang naging consensus ng grupo, na sana nga mas nagsalita siya. Not to defend us personally, but to defend the institution,” Senator Nancy Binay in a separate interview.

“First time atang nangyari na ang tumitira sa Senado, kumbaga, kabahagi ng pamilya natin,” she said further.

A draft resolution to replace Pimentel has surfaced and has been signed by 14 senators so far.

Politiko’s sources say the Senate President is set to be replaced by Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto as soon as Monday (May 21).

Ejercito and Binay, despite saying that senators were dismayed by the weak defense put up by Pimentel against Alvarez, said they have no ill feelings toward the soon-to-be outgoing Senate President.

“Wala namang major issue o iskandalo or anything that would warrant na talagang maging bayolente ang transition eh, kaya nga maganda na mag-usap din sila (Pimentel and Sotto),” Ejercito said.