UNA’s posturing in both chambers of Congress defended
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - June 29, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Acting Senate president Jinggoy Estrada and party-mate Senator-elect Nancy Binay yesterday defended the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) over its different posturing in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Estrada and Binay have been preparing for their roles as part of the so-called constructive opposition, comprising the minority bloc in the Senate, when the 16th Congress convenes on July 22.  However, the UNA congressmen in the House are gearing up to be part of the majority.

Binay’s sister, Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay, disclosed that the UNA bloc would join the House majority group when she took her oath before Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. the other day.

But Estrada said that the UNA bloc’s decision to join the majority at the House would not deter the UNA bloc at the Senate from being part of the “constructive opposition” in the next Congress.

“It’s not an issue,” he noted.

Estrada and Binay also said in separate interviews that the Senate and the House are placed in different situations, citing as an example the number of majority senators who are allied with the administration.

“The situation at the House and the Senate are different,” Binay said, adding that it is understandable that those who belong to the administration coalition, the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nacionalista Party (NP), would be part of the new Senate majority.

“In the Senate, since there is a coalition between LP and NP, they have the numbers to get the majority. Since we are only five members to support Sen. (Juan Ponce) Enrile for Senate president, then we will become part of the minority,” she noted

Binay will join the “macho bloc” in the Senate, composed of Senators Enrile, Vicente Sotto III, Gregorio Honasan, Estrada and his half-brother, JV Ejecito.

She also defended her sister, explaining that Abigail has been a member of the majority since the 15th Congress.  

“During the last Congress, my sister was already with the majority.  She was with Speaker Belmonte,” she added.

Estrada, however, expressed belief that the UNA congressmen may not want to work with San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, who wants to be the minority leader, because Zamora has been known for shifting political alliances.

“In my opinion, it is because they do not trust Rep. Zamora,” Estrada told The STAR. “He has been changing loyalties.”

Zamora reportedly will join the contest for speakership at the House although he is not expected to win. But whoever will be the second placer in the race will become the minority leader.

Lakas president Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is also eyeing the post of House minority leader.

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