MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the lone opposition candidate who won in the 2022 senatorial race, vowed to work with old and new colleagues during her proclamation by the Commission on Elections on Wednesday.
Hontiveros will return for a second term with the Senate dominated by allies of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
She said number one in her list of priorities during her fresh term is to create a solid minority group.
In an interview with media, she said she is already in talks with Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III regarding the matter.
"Hindi pa nakakaupo bilang isang collective, isang minority. Mas one-on-one talks sa ngayon, exploratory. [Pero] sa maagang yugto, malinaw ang pagnanais na makabuo ng minorya gaano man kaliit o kalaki," Hontiveros said.
(We haven't sat collectively yet as a minority. We're just having one-on-one, exploratory, talks for now. But as early as now, it is clear we desire to create a minority group, however small or big.)
When asked who will lead the minority, Hontiveros said she is open to supporting Pimentel if he is interested, although the priority for now is to establish the group. Pimentel said earlier in the day he will join the minority bloc.
Despite her push for a minority that effectively functions to "check and balance and fiscalize" the chamber - the way the current group under Sen. Frank Drilon does -, Hontiveros said she hopes the bloc will also be composed of colleagues who are ready to work with the majority.
She noted that even though she was part of the minority in the 18th Congress, she was still able to pass 20 legislative measures with her colleagues in the Senate.
"Makikipagtulungan tayo sa mga dati at bagong makakasama sa Senado upang ipaglaban ang isang lipunang marangal, makatarungan at may pagkakapantay-pantay," Hontiveros said during the Comelec proclamation ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center Forum 2 in Pasay City.
(We will work together with old and new colleagues at the Senate to fight for a society that is honorable, just, and fair.)
Hontiveros ran under the slate of outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo. In her speech, the lawmaker referenced Robredo's campaign monicker "liwanag sa dilim" or light in the darkness.
"Hindi iisa ang magiging liwanag natin. Hindi tayo naghahanap ng tila iisang kandila na may sindi sa kawalan. Bagkus, ituring natin ang bawat isa na mag-alitaptap na sama-samang kumukutitap hanggang dumating ang bagong umaga," she said.
(We will not only have one source of light. We won't struggle to look for just one lighted candle in the darkness. Instead, let us treat each other as fireflies that will light up until the new day comes.)
"Walang iwanan, tuloy ang laban," she continued.
(No one will be left behind, the fight continues.)
Hontiveros said that being part of the "People's Campaign" of Robredo's presidential bid was "one of the greatest honors in her life."
"Ito ay tanda ng totoong pagmamahal kay Inang Bayan at pagnanais na pagsilbihan siya. It is a spirit that will animate us for years to come," Hontiveros said.
(The campaign showed the extent of our love or and willingness to serve our country. It is a spirit that will animate us for years to come.)