MANILA - Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros, the original lone opposition figure in the Senate under the 19th Congress, questioned on Tuesday the election of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano as the Commission on Appointments Minority Leader.
Cayetano’s nomination was moved by GP Party-list Representative Jose Padiernos.
In the Aug. 16, 2022 letter forwarded to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri by Senate Secretary Renato Bantug, Cayetano was among senators elected as CA members.
Bantug’s letter to Zubiri identified the following as part of the CA’s majority bloc representatives:
- Sen. Nancy Binay
- Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano
- Sen. JV Ejercito
- Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero
- Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
- Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go
- Sen. Loren Legarda
- Sen. Imee Marcos
- Sen. Grace Poe
- Sen. Francis Tolentino
- Sen. Cynthia Villar
Bantug, in the same letter, solely identified Hontiveros as being “on the part of the Minority.”
The same list was also read during the CA’s Plenary Session.
A press statement released by Cayetano identified him as a legislator “under the Independent Minority” bloc.
Cayetano, upon hearing the list, immediately inquired about his identity as a CA member. Zubiri said it was a “mistake” on the part of Bantug.
“May I ask that that be corrected and I be considered as part of the Minority?” Cayetano said. Zubiri took note of the request.
What followed after such clarification was the election of Cayetano as CA Minority head, which did not sit well with Hontiveros.
"I wish to express for the record my serious concern over the election of a CA minority leader who is not an original member of the minority in the Senate," the lady senator said.
“I know Mr. Chairman, that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Senate, we may freely make its determination of who belongs to the minority. But making determinations to assuage less-than-institutional considerations strikes at the very heart of democracy," she said.
"Hindi pwedeng majority tayo, o independent tayo, o minority tayo sa iba't ibang panahon para sa iba’t ibang layunin.”
According to Hontiveros, “It is important for bodies such as these to have clarity as to the positions of each members. This is important for lines of accountability, and important to ensure that we have a genuine minority voice.”
Cayetano, after hearing Hontiveros’s manifestation, was quick to thank his colleague, as he assured to work steadily with the Minority bloc.
“There's so much work to be done, and I hope to be working with everyone. Not only with the minority, but also with the majority,” he said.
FROM THE ARCHIVE