By Raymund Antonio
Opposition senators and congressmen may be fewer in number in the incoming 18th Congress, but Vice President Leni Robredo remains hopeful they would still get things done for the people.
Robredo, the leader of the opposition, said she believed the diminished number of the minority bloc in both the House of Representatives and Senate would not affect their legislative work.
“Hindi naman ako nakikialam sa pagpili ng leadership. Pero sa akin, hindi hadlang iyong pagiging minority. Hindi hadlang iyong pagiging kaunti,” Robredo said. (I don’t meddle in choosing the leadership. But for me, being the minority and less are not a hindrance.)
“So hindi siya sa numero kundi sa quality ng mga mambabatas na parang kontribusyon ng grupo,” Robredo pointed out. (So this is not about the number, but the quality of the lawmakers and their contributions.)
The Vice President brushed off during her Sunday radio show the fact that the opposition is outnumbered under the next 18th Congress that will be dominated by administration allies.
Four opposition senators will remain in the new Senate. They are Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and Leila de Lima, who is detained in Camp Crame over alleged drug charges.
The minority bloc will be losing two members after Otso Diretso bet Senator Bam Aquino IV failed in his reelection bid while the two consecutive terms of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will end on June 30.
In the Lower House, there will be 18 lawmakers from the once-ruling Liberal Party, of which Robredo is chair.
Robredo is counting on opposition senators and congressmen would still manage to become productive in legislation and policy formulation in the 18th Congress.
“Kahit kumonti sila hopeful tayo na pareho pa rin iyong magiging performance. Kasi iyong mga naiwan naman na mga kasama natin doon hindi lang mahuhusay pero talagang iyong pagmamahal sa bayan talagang hindi matatawaran,” she said.
(Even their number is reduced. I’m hopeful the performance will be the same. Because our remaining colleagues there are not only excellent, but their love for country is undeniable.)
Top officials and members of the opposition Liberal Party are set to convene for a National Executive Council meeting before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address on July 22.