After LP ouster, Drilon is new Senate minority leader

MANILA, Philippines – A day after Liberal Party (LP) senators were ousted from the majority bloc, Senator Franklin Drilon was elected new Senate minority floor leader.

Drilon, an LP stalwart, was nominated by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Tuesday, February 28.

Drilon then nominated Aquino to be his assistant minority leader.

Detained Senator Leila de Lima also sent a letter indicating her withdrawal from the majority bloc.

On Monday, February 27, following Senator Manny Pacquiao's motions, LP senators Drilon, Aquino, and Francis Pangilinan, as well as Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, had been stripped of their key posts.

Drilon was removed as Senate President Pro-Tempore, Pangilinan was relieved as agriculture committee chairman, and Aquino was sacked as education committee chairman. Hontiveros was also removed as health committee head. (READ: Pacquiao tells LP they can keep some posts: 'May awa din ako')

Six senators now comprise the minority bloc, including De Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV, the fiercest critics of President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Palace denies hand in ouster of LP senators)

Drilon was replaced as Senate President Pro-Tempore by Senator Ralph Recto, who was previously the minority leader.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the revamp was necessary, as blurred lines in the chamber have "hampered" the chamber's legislative agenda. (READ: 15 senators planned LP ouster in Pacquiao's house)

Pangilinan, LP president, slammed Pimentel and pointed out that the LP senators have defended 70% of the Senate bills nearing approval into law. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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