The choice for Senate Minority Leader of the 19th Congress has narrowed down to re-elected Sen. Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Hontiveros said would nominate Pimentel to the position, or take it for herself, depending on the decision of the minority group in the Senate.
“I would be honored to nominate him (Pimentel) as Minority Leader or to serve as Minority Leader myself, if that’s what we finally decided,” said Hontiveros said.
She added that for the time being, said she and Pimentel are closely working together.
“First, we have to form first a minority bloc in the Senate,” she said.
Hontiveros was the only opposition senatorial candidate who won the May 9 election.
Current Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon belonged to the so-called “graduating senators.”
Two other opposition senators in the 18th Congress lost in the last elections. They are re-electionist Senator Leila De Lima and Senator Francis Pangilinan who failed in his bid for the vice presidency.
Sought for comment on the issue, Pimentel replied; “If ever it will be the two of us, Senator Risa and myself, then we have agreed that she will nominate me, or she will vote for me as minority leader.”
However, Hontiveros said nothing was final yet.
Pimentel agreed that no concrete plans have been formulated, adding that the minority bloc is usually the last group to be organized after the Senate President was elected.
Pimentel and Hontiveros were still unsure if other senators would join the opposition bloc.
Pimentel asserted however, that he was “very, very optimistic” about the possibility of having up to five members in the minority, if the siblings Alan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano, along with comebacking Sen. Chiz Escudero would join up.
“Technically, we will consider as minority all those who did not vote for the Senate President, all those who did not participate for the voting of the Senate President. So, it is only after that vote but we will look around, find out who these people are then we’ll have to meet who is our minority leader,” Pimentel explained.
With this composition, he said they could come up with a “formidable minority” since four of the six lawyers in the Senate will belong to their bloc.
The so-called “super majority” in the Senate has been formed with Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri as Senate President, Sen. Loren Legarda as Senate President Pro Tempore and Sen. Joel Villanueva as majority leader.