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Sotto assures Senate independence despite shutout of new opposition senators

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Senate President Vicente Sotto on Tuesday insisted that the upper chamber will remain independent amid the prospect that there will be “no incoming” new opposition senators.

From the current 6, the Senate minority group members will be reduced to four since Sen. Bam Aquino was having a hard time getting into the “Magic 12” winning circle while Sen. Sonny Trillanes will end his term in June.

The remaining opposition senators are Frank Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and Leila de Lima. The latter, however, was detained in February 2017 at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center on drug charges.

Asked whether the Senate can still perform its “check and balance” function despite the fact that the upper chamber will be dominated by administration allies, Sotto said, “Hindi naman franchise ng opposition ‘yung pag-criticize, ‘yung pag-oppose.”

“Makikita mo naman sa amin, ang Senado is past that. If you will notice, if you will take note, makikita mo yung high trust rating. Ito ay dahil independent, nakikita, transparent mapapera, mapa-batas,” he said in a radio interview.

Sotto cited Sen. Ping Lacson who “guards” his actions. “Yun (Lacson) ang bantay ko, may pulis ako, kaya maganda.”

“Tapos, karamihan doon sa amin, talagang independent minded, transparent, at saka sincere. As a matter of fact, pag tiningnan mo, ‘yung mga in-endorse ko labing-isa ang nanalo. Hindi naman puro administration ‘yun,” he said.

“Katulad nun, si Nancy, hindi pro-administration yan, independent-minded ‘yan. Yung (pang number 11, si Bong Revilla, independent-minded din ‘yan. Lalo na si Grace Poe,” he said.

Sotto added, “Kasundo namin ang thinking, kami nila Senator Lacson. Si Manny Pacquiao, kasangga ng Presidente pero when push comes to shove, he usually sides with the Senate.”

“Kaya huwag sila mag-alala na walang opposition. Di naman franchise kung sino ang mag-oppose. Kasi hindi naman maganda yung mag-ooppose ka dahil ayaw mo,” he said.

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