Equity of incumbent rule also applies to minority bloc — Drilon

SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asserted that the equity of the incumbent rule must apply to all senators whether they belong to the majority or minority blocs.

Drilon made the point amidst reports that incoming Senator Imee Marcos is eyeing the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development chaired by Sen. Leila De Lima, while returning Senator Pia Cayetano is asking for the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality headed by incumbent Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

“Sad, if true. I hope that the equity of the incumbent rule would also be applied to the committees chaired by the minority senators,” Drilon said.

“Having said that, the committee is a call of the majority. That we are stripped of the committees we now head will not diminish our resolve to scrutinize every measure and act as fiscalizer,” Drilon said.

Drilon said the two minority senators, as chairs of their committees, worked very hard in the last Congress, which resulted in the enactment of critical laws such as the Magna Carta of the Poor, the Institutionalization of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act, and Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act, among others.

“I hope the majority can take a good look at the performance of our colleagues in the minority. They have done an incredible job as chairs of their committees and they can still do more in the next Congress,” Drilon said.

Meanwhile, despite their diminished number, Drilon said the Senate minority bloc is prepared to fight “tooth and nail” to uphold the Senate’s independence and block measures that would not benefit the country.

“We are ready to listen and compromise as we had shown in the last Congress. But we are also prepared to fight ‘tooth and nail’ if need be,” Drilon warned.

Drilon said the public should not fear having a smaller minority bloc in the next Congress, saying there are mechanisms in the Senate that empower the members of the minority.

“We have a no-cloture rule that you cannot cut the debate. This rule is an effective tool that empowers the minority and prevents a bill from being railroaded,” he added.