Escudero expected to be Senate Minority Leader in 17th Congress

  • Sen. Francis Escudero is set to become the next Minority Leader in the 17th Congress
  • He and Sen. Antonio Trillanes have decided to become part of the Minority in the incoming Congress
  • So far, 17 other Senators will be joining the Majority being led by Sen. Koko Pimentel

Senator Francis Escudero is expected to become the Minority Leader of the Upper House in the 17th Congress after he and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV announced that they would not be part of the Majority bloc to be led by Senator Koko Pimentel.

Escudero and Trillanes, who both ran as Independent vice presidential candidates in the previous elections but lost, were so far the only Senators who did not back Pimentel’s bid to be the next Senate President.

“I told him that I have nothing personally against him but, as a matter of personal principle and belief, I would rather be in the minority in the Senate,” Escudero told GMA News, explaining his decision to be in the Minority.

For his part, Trillanes said he already gave way to Escudero leading the Minority while expressing confidence that Pimentel would be leading the Senate well.

“I am confident that under his watch, the Senate’s integrity and independence won’t be compromised. Having said that, I would be joining the minority in order to freely pursue my advocacies… I will give way to Chiz,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pimentel said that he welcomes the decision of the two Senators to form the Minority, noting that it is important that there should be checks and balances to the possible abuse of the Majority.

“I agree there should be a minority, so let it be. In fact, I encourage that someone or some group should be interested with being minority. Yung tyranny of numbers ite-check nila. [They can check the tyranny of numbers]. Number 1, for example, they want a debate on certain issue and then we are silencing them or we are railroading a certain issue, they should point that out to us, they should complain. Then we will realize that, ‘oops we are abusing our numbers, we should step on the brakes, we should allow the minority to air their sentiments’,” Pimentel said.

So far, 17 Senators have backed Pimentel’s bid for the Senate Presidency, including the Liberal Party (LP) bloc led by outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon and another bloc led by Senator Tito Sotto.

However, five Senators led by incumbent Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, who is also eyeing the Senate Presidency, have not yet decided if they would joint the majority or minority.