“(It’s) Worse than halo-halo. (Halo-halo is something that) You can’t store (that long)…Only for three or four days.”
– Outgoing Senate minority leader Aquilino ‘Nene’ Pimentel on the composition of the ‘new majority’ in the Senate following the coup and ouster of Senator Manny Villar as Senate President.
the so-called new majority now consists of those who voted for Villar’s ouster, namely: Senators Ping Lacson, Jamby Madrigal, Loren Legarda and Mar Roxas (opposition senators from the self-proclaimed core group of Senate coup), other opposition senators Chiz Escudero, Jinggoy Estrada, Gringo Honasan and Rodolfo Biazon, and administration senators Migz Zubiri, Edgardo Angara, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla and Richard Gordon. Escudero and Estrada were said to have provided the ‘swing votes’ to clinch the ouster. prompting Villar to utter the dramatic lines, “I lost Chiz and Jinggoy.”
meanwhile, five senators abstained: Kiko Pangilinan, Alan and Pia Cayetano and Pimentel — known staunch allies of Villar — and Joker Arroyo, who seems to just have been deemed negligible and left out of the equation by his peers (tsk, tsk). Miriam Defensor-Santiago, another ally of Villar, was deliberately or coincidentally absent for the said session.
the senators, especially those from the opposition, have a lot of explaining to do with regard to their respective reasons and motives for voting for Villar’s ouster. the reasoning that it was simply for ‘change in Senate leadership’ rings hollow in the ears, especially with the 2010 elections at hand and most of them presidential or vice-presidential aspirants — and Villar among the top choices in early surveys for presidential candidates.
more importantly, what immediately comes to mind is how this move mainly benefits no other but Malacanang. the ouster brought on a Senate revamp, with administration senators now at the helm of the Senate leadership. this development brought on fears of a pro-charter change Senate, as well as potential white-wash in the ongoing investigations on the fertilizer fund scam and euro-generals scandal. new Senate President Enrile is known to have close links with Malacanang.
however which way they put it, the ouster has marked the re-disposition of forces in the Senate and a more defined divide within the opposition. disunity in the Senate opposition is always a weakness, especially with an administration-dominated House of Representatives. ###