Risa Hontiveros is the new ‘opposition leader’: Leni Robredo

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Senator Risa Hontiveros takes her oath before Vice President Leni Robredo. (Photo: VP Leni Robredo/Facebook)
Senator Risa Hontiveros takes her oath before Vice President Leni Robredo. (Photo: VP Leni Robredo/Facebook)

After swearing-in her “favorite senator,” outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday (June 27) declared reelected Senator Risa Hontiveros as the new opposition leader, and vowed to support her whenever she needs her help.

“You are now our leader so please know we are always behind you, to help you if you need us. You are now the highest elected official in the opposition and we couldn’t be prouder that you are the one waving our flag,” Robredo told Hontiveros.

Hontiveros is the lone senatorial candidate from the opposition who managed to be included in the “Magic 12” in the last election. She said that she will dedicate her office for the oppressed sector of the society, and to “reject violence, oppression, disinformation and historical revisionism.”

Hontiveros also vowed to “be on the frontlines” of the country’s post-pandemic efforts, and that she will fight to increase the budget of the agencies crucial to this effort.

She also said that she will also champion pro-people legislation such as the universal social pension for senior citizens, magna carta for workers in the informal and gig economy, and a separate bill for the maternal benefits of female workers in the same industry.

Hontiveros and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, to date, are the only confirmed members of the minority in the Senate in the 19th Congress. Senator Pia and Senator-elect Alan Peter Cayetano have yet to make a decision on where they would caucus, while Senator-elect Chiz Ezcudero has decided to join the majority bloc.

Robredo also revealed that Hontiveros was one of the first to act to establish a “unified opposition,” and although the talks failed, they said that they still have no regrets.

“We both did not succeed on this front, but I am happy that, at least, you are there, standing strong. I know you will not leave us behind,” Robredo added.

Robredo is now preparing to leave the Quezon City Executive House, where she held office for the past six years. Vice President-elect Sara Duterte said that she will set up residence in the house as VP.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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