Senate minority minus 3 not a big problem - Chiz

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2014 03:17 PM | Updated as of Jul 28 2014 11:17 PM

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Chiz' Escudero said the minority should not worry about their voices not being heard even if three of their members will not be around for some time.

Escudero noted there is also no issue of lack of balance in the Senate.

“Sa Kongreso noon, humigi't kumulang 260 ang majority members, kami noon nong minority leader ako, 16 lamang kami, wala naman sa numero yon, sa nagdadala at nasa boses na dinadala ng kumakatawan sa minoriya o oposisyon sa Kamara man o sa Senado,” he said.

Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. are all detained due to their plunder cases.

Escudero admitted the absence of the three has an impact on the work of the other senators.

“Dagdag trabaho in the sense na kung kanino man maa-assign yung mga komite nila, yung vice chairman o senator-designate na babalikat ng mga komiteng hinahawakan, particular ni Senator Revilla at Senator Estrada dahil wala namang komite si Senator Enrile. Magiging mabigat yon sa parte ng mga senador na maa-assign yan, dahil bawat isa sa amin ay mayron ng komite sa ngayon,” he said.

He said what is important is to have a quorum for law-making and at least two-thirds for treaty ratification.

“Sa pananaw ko ay hindi dahil hanggat may quorum ang Senado, makakapagpatuloy kaming gawin ang trabaho namin, at hanggat mayroon kaming two-thirds, maski sa pagratipika ng treaty o tratado ay magagawa pa rin ng Senado maski na nawawala o nakapiit sa ngayon yung tatlong senador,” Escudero said.

All eyes will be on the budget deliberations especially after the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and several acts under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

While the DAP is a project of the executive, the public has urged the legislative branch to speak up and ensure that it does not affect its power of the purse.

“Para sa akin, bilang chairman ng committee of finance, ang pagpasa ng taunang budget on time, for 2015 and for 2016, gayundin ang pagpapaloob ng mga repormang ibinababa ng Korte Suprema kaugnay sa taunang budget, titiyakin naming tatalima lahat yan,” Escudero said.