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Pimentel prefers to be part of minority in next Congress

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Pimentel prefers to be part of minority in next Congress
File photo shows Sen. Koko Pimentel.
Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said Tuesday that he prefers to be part of the minority in the upcoming Congress, adding he is not that interested in the current alliances being forged right now to join the Senate majority. 

"I'm flexible enough to belong to the majority or to the minority, but right now, I'm not really moving so that I will belong to the majority. 'Yung mga galaw nila, sila nalang po, sabi ko hindi na muna ako sasama sa galaw ninyo. (I said I will not join the others in their moves to form the Senate majority)," Pimentel said in an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday. 

"Marami na gumagalaw (There are many things happening), except that I'm not so interested in all of these alliances that they're building," he added. 

Pimentel, the son of the co-founder of PDP-Laban, used to be the executive vice chairman of the now-ruling PDP-Laban until a national council meeting led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on July 2021 stopped recognizing him. He earlier said he will appeal to the resolution of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declaring Cusi's faction as the legitimate members of now-ruling PDP-Laban.

If Pimentel decides to join the minority in the 19th Congress, the two-term lawmaker may be working closely with re-electionist Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the lone opposition bet who made it to the so-called "Magic 12" in this year's polls. She previously said she "looks forward to being an active member of the minority."

Pimentel, however, clarified that being part of the minority doesn't automatically mean opposing the President of the Philippines. 

When asked who among the senators has backing to become Senate president, Pimentel said he cannot give any comments since he has inhibited himself from any moves in forming the Senate majority. 

"I did not involve myself or I will not involve myself in all of these movements to form the Senate majority," he said. 

To become Senate president, a senator must get the majority vote of all the members of the upper house. 

The 18th Congress is set to adjourn sine die on June 3. The 19th Congress will open on July 25. 

In this year's polls, twelve spots were up for Senate seats, with over 60 candidates vying for the positions. The official results are expected to be out on Wednesday. 

RELATED: Majority of leading Senate bets are from prominent clans

Based on the latest unofficial tally reflected on the Comelec's transparency server, actor Robin Padilla is leading the Senate race with 26.45 million votes, followed by Rep. Loren Legarda (Antique) with 23.99 million votes and broadcaster Raffy Tulfo who has 23.17 million votes.

Senate expected to maintain independence

If the official tally reflects the partial results, lone opposition bet Hontiveros will be surrounded by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte and candidates of the "UniTeam" slate. 

Sen. Sonny Angara on Tuesday, however, said he believes the Senate "will always maintain some degree of independence", citing the diversity of the members which will make up the Upper House in the 19th Congress. 

"I think the 18th Congress provides a good model for the upcoming 19th Congress in terms of work ethic, leadership, productivity. Debates were long and robust but much legislation was passed to help our countrymen during a very tough time in our history," he told reporters over Viber. — Angelica Y. Yang

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