Hontiveros on future of opposition: We have to survive; we intend to stay

Hontiveros on future of opposition: We have to survive; we intend to stay
Sen. Risa Hontiveros delivers a speech after filing her certificate of candidacy before Comelec on Oct. 1, 2021.
The STAR/Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the lone opposition candidate likely to be elected to the Senate, said on Thursday that the minority bloc at the Senate must survive, noting that their presence is a crucial part of a working democracy. 

Re-electionist Hontiveros, who has the backing of opposition coalition 1Sambayan, entered the lower end of the so-called "Magic 12", with 15.27 million votes, based on partial results from the Comelec Transparency Server. 

"We have to survive. Hindi yan gusto lang namin. (It's not just because we want to) It's a fundamental requirement of a working democracy," she said in an interview with ANC's "Rundown" on Thursday, after she was asked about the future of the opposition.

She explained that the opposition is there to air its disagreements with the administration, and represent the voice of citizens. She added that they have always strived to contribute their fair share to the policies and programs benefitting Filipinos. 

"Long game ang pagbubuo ng ating bansa. Long game yung pagmamature ng ating heavily-contested democracy. And [as] the opposition, we intend to stay in this long and very serious game," Hontiveros said. The term "contested democracy", she said, came from her colleague and political activist Nathan Quimpo. 

(Nation-building is a long game. Maturing our heavily-contested democracy is a long game. And as the opposition, we intend to stay in this long and very serious game.)

If the final tally reflects the partial results, she will be surrounded by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration as well as by bets endorsed by the "UniTeam" slate of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., and likely vice president Sara Duterte-Carpio. 

Congress is meant to be a check on the executive but a supermajority of administration allies in both houses meant little debate on President Rodrigo Duterte's favored policies and legislation. Under the Duterte administration, the Senate majority dwindled to four members, one of whom was in detention.

Hontiveros said that the Senate can remain independent despite being made up mostly of administration allies.

"The Senate has spoken at many critical moments in the past six years, and I expect no less from us in the closing days of this 18th Congress, at kung ma-proklama nga ako, (and if I'm proclaimed) in the 19th Congress Senate," she said.

To the media: 'We'll hold the line with you'

If proclaimed senator in the 19th congress, Hontiveros said that the opposition will "hold the line" with media practitioners. 

"You are frontliners for press freedom. Last line of defense din kayo para sa contested democracy heavily besieged in the past years na demokrasya dito sa ating bansa. (You are the last line of defense in our contested democracy heavily besieged in the past years)," she said.

Hontiveros said she was speaking on behalf of all the members of the opposition as well as her colleagues in the House of Representatives. 

At present, actor Robin Padilla is leading the Senate race, garnering 26.45 million votes as of 2:02 p.m. He is followed by Rep. Loren Legarda  (Antique), who has 23.99 million votes, and broadcaster Raffy Tulfo with 23.17 million votes. 

Majority of the senate bets who made it to the Top 12 are from promiment clans— Angelica Y. Yang




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