Senator Risa Hontiveros stresses importance of genuine minority bloc in Congress

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PASAY, PHILIPPINES - 2022/05/18: Senator Risa Hontiveros delivers a speech during a media press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center. Some newly-elected Philippine senators give their views and opinions regarding the incoming new government of President-elect Ferdinand
PASAY, PHILIPPINES - 2022/05/18: Senator Risa Hontiveros delivers a speech during a media press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center. Some newly-elected Philippine senators give their views and opinions regarding the incoming new government of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and share their insights as they start to work in the senate. (Photo by Josefiel Rivera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Reelectionist Senator Risa Hontiveros, the lone candidate from the opposition who managed to be included in the “Lucky 12” in this year’s Senatorial Elections, said that a genuine minority bloc in Congress is important in order to fully reflect the will of the people in the legislature.

In an interview with Christian Esguerra’s Facts First podcast, she emphasized that opposing views are not necessarily bad, and sometimes, it yields good insights through amendments to bills being debated on the floor of Congress.

Para lang siguruhin na honest broker ‘yung majority, without taking away ‘yung reyalidad na maraming miyembro ng majority, or maybe every member ng majority at one time or another ay posibleng mag-raise din ng kanyang critical or opposing view,” Hontiveros said.

(In order to ensure that the majority is an honest broker, without taking away the reality that many of their members, if not every member, will at one point in time offer his or her critical or opposing view.)

Hontiveros is currently in talks with Senator Koko Pimentel to build the minority bloc in the Senate, and she said that they are talking to two to three other senators about the possibility of them joining the caucus.

Importante na bukod sa mga independent-minded na majority, essential na mayroon institutionally sa loob ng Senado or ng House na official formal na minority … para i-represent naman yung mga mamamayan na maaaring hindi sumuporta at least sa simula ng administrasyon para doon sa mga debate, hindi lang iisang panig ang maririnig o masusunod,” Hontiveros added.

(It is important for an independent-minded Senate that there’s a formal institution of minority within the House or the Senate … to represent constituents who have not initially supported the current administration so that in the debate, it is not just one side that’s being heard or followed.)

She also stressed the point that not because you are in the minority, you don’t get to influence the legislative direction of the upper house. “Kapag tunay ang minorya at epektibo tulad ng mayroon kami ngayon … nakakatulong pa nga kami nang higit in passing bills na pareho kaming [majority] naniniwala,” said Hontiveros.

(If the minority is genuine and effective like what we have right now … We are more than helpful in passing bills with which we both agree on.)

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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