- Incoming Senate President Koko Pimentel has promised that the Senate would not be a mere rubber stamp authority to President Rodrigo Duterte
- Pimentel said that all of the senators have strong personalities and they want objectivity and independence from Malacañang
- The senator added that they are willing to probe corrupt government officials even if they are close to Duterte
According to incoming Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, the Senate of the 17th Congress would not become a mere rubber stamp of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte and that it would be objective and independent under the new administration, pointing out the strong personalities of his fellow senators.
“We are not really going to become a rubber stamp; the personalities of my colleagues are very strong and they have independent ideas and convictions,” Pimentel said in a radio interview.
Pimentel – who claims to have the support of at least 20 senators for the Senate leadership post – said that the senators of the 17th Congress are reasonable people dedicated to making it easy for good measures and proposals to push through in the Senate but they would objectively assess and study the proposals first.
Pimentel also said that he and the other senators are willing to use their powers to probe government officials close to Duterte who are accused of abusing their post or committing graft and corruption.
“If we also find a government official who abuses his authority then we would also denounce him even if he is close to the president. Our President himself is furious at abusive officials,” the senator explained.
Meanwhile, Pimentel added that Senators Richard Gordon and Cynthia Villar have expressed their intention to join the Senate’s super majority. This leaves Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Ralph Recto as the only senators left who have not yet signed the resolution supporting Pimentel as the next Senate President.
However, Pimentel clarified that he and Cayetano have already settled their issues. Cayetano was also eyeing the Senate leadership post but has opted to back him instead, Pimentel said. Cayetano was the vice presidential running mate of Duterte while Pimentel is the only PDP-Laban party mate of the President.