Enrile allows Drilon to court Senate allies

Enrile tells Drilon his allies will not be 'obstructionist' and work with the administration in the 16th Congress

'NOT OBSTRUCTIONIST.' Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile assures likely Senate President Franklin Drilon that his allies will work with the administration in the 16th Congress. File photo from Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines – “We will not be an obstructionist.”

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile gave Sen Franklin Drilon this assurance as the two met over the Senate presidency and the 16th Congress on Thursday, May 30.

In a statement on Friday, May 31, Drilon revealed that the two met in a Makati hotel as the Liberal Party (LP) stalwart seeks the Senate leadership in the new Congress.

“Senator Enrile expressed no objection to my seeking the support of the senators presently identified with him or the so-called ‘macho bloc’ (Senators Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Gringo Honasan, and Tito Sotto), so that we can all work together on measures that can improve the lives of our people,” Drilon said.

Drilon’s statement comes after he admitted that he is eyeing the Senate presidency.

The administration coalition is poised to replace Enrile’s group as the new majority following Team PNoy’s 9-3 victory over Enrile’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the May 13 polls.

The only 3 UNA candidates who won are Sen Gregorio Honasan II and senators-elect JV Ejercito and Nancy Binay.

Drilon, Team PNoy campaign manager, also said that Enrile assured him that UNA  will be a “constructive opposition” in the Senate.

“Enrile told Drilon that while UNA will actively engage the Liberal Party-led majority coalition in policy debates in the Senate, Enrile assured him that UNA will not obstruct legislation needed to address pressing national problems such as poverty and unemployment,” according to the statement Drilon issued.

Enrile’s allies have conceded that Drilon’s group has the numbers. Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada has said that he is ready to become Minority Leader or give way to Enrile or any of his other colleagues.

In the 15th Congress, Enrile and his allies opposed key administration measures like the sin tax reform law and the Reproductive Health law. They sided with the administration though in convicting former Chief Justice Renato Corona. 

Enrile’s assurances to Drilon come as no surprise after pronouncements from UNA that it will continue its role of being “constructive partners” of the administration. UNA calls itself the constructive opposition.

Villar meeting, too

A close ally of President Benigno Aquino III, Drilon is vice chairman of the LP. He was Senate President in 2000, and 2001-2006. 

He has secured the minimum number needed for the Senate presidency, 13 votes, with Sen Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party agreeing to field a common candidate with the LP. Drilon and Villar met last week to discuss the Senate leadership.

LP and NP forged a partnership under Team PNoy along with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

“Sen. Villar assured us that the NP will continue to support the President and his legislative agenda in the Senate and that there will be a common candidate of the coalition in the Senate,” Drilon said.

He added, “The people sent a clear message with this election: let’s continue with what the President started 3 years ago.”

In an interview earlier this week, Drilon said that while the Senate presidency is not yet in the bag, he is ready to assume the post.

He identified the following as key measures for the 16th Congress:

  • amending the charter of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to conform with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro
  • Fixing fiscal incentives
  • Mining law

“I believe given our experience, we have been there before, been there, done that. We can help with the President’s agenda if the 13 [senators], the majority in the Senate, would feel we can deliver the mandate that we got in the last election then I’m willing to serve. I will not be coy about it,” Drilon said. – Rappler.com 

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.