House leadership revamp won't affect Senate, says Sotto
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the planned leadership change in the House of Representatives would not affect the Senate and its work.
Sotto’s reaction came after the ouster plot against Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez surfaced on Monday, July 23, during the opening session at the House. It was reported that former president and now Pampanga 2nd district Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would replace him. (READ: LIVE UPDATES: President Rodrigo Duterte's 2018 SONA)
“As much as possible, walang personalan dapat itong mga posisyon naming eh… In other words, all we have to do is follow our job description and do our job well at magkakasundo-sundo kami. 'Yung mga personal eh dapat yan isinasantabi. So hindi ko ineexpect at hindi dapat magkaroon ng problema, kahit sino pa ang nakaupo sa amin,” Sotto told reporters in the Senate ahead of the opening of the session.
Both chambers of Congress must coordinate with each other on priority legislation, he added.
“With or without the change of leadership in the House, talaga naman dapat nag-uusap kami at ituloy yung mini-LEDAC eh. On the part of the Senate handa kami dyan sa mini-LEDAC eh para maprioritize kung ano yung priority ng mga senador, ano yung priority ng mga congressman, ano priorities ng Malacanang, at ito ay binubuo namin into LEDAC priority, kung ganun,” Sotto said.
Former president Arroyo had appointed Sotto as Dangerous Drugs Board chairman in 2004, months after the latter supported his best friend, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr, in the 2004 presidential polls.
“Although I came from a different political party, and we were against each other in 2004. But ganyan talaga, as I said, basta ginagawa namin ang aming job description wala naman kaming problema,” Sotto said.
No-el a factor?
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Alvarez’s remarks on the possible cancellation of elections in 2019 could have trigerred calls for his ouster.
These “created a lot of controversies and doubts in the minds of legislators,” said Gatchalian, a former Valenzuela representative.
“I think, nagkaroon talaga iyon nang hindi magandang epekto kaya ngayon ay may mga pag-uusap na pagpapalit ng liderato,” Gatchalian told reporters. “I think kapag napalitan ang leadership ng House, yung pag-uusap ng ‘no-el’ ay matitigil na rin,” he added.
But for opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who launched a coup against Ms Arroyo when she was president, talks of the polls cancellation would still flourish under an Arroyo leadership.
Trillanes noted that Mrs Arroyo would stand to benefit from a no-election scenario, considering that she is on her last term as representative.
As of posting, Alvarez is still the Speaker after the session was abruptly adjourned on Monday, following a caucus.
The row delayed the ratification of the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law, which President Rodrigo Duterte was set to sign during his 3rd State of the Nation Address on Monday afternoon. – Rappler.com