People benefit doubted from change in Senate leadership

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Renato Reyes, Secretary General - Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)
Renato M. Reyes, Jr., Secretary General – Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)

NAGA CITY, 9June2013 – It’s still about narrow partisan politics, so the people only stand to gain nothing from it.

This was how the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan described the ongoing Senate intramurals which saw Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile resign before his imminent replacement by administration senator Franklin Drilon. It is widely believed that Drilon has the votes of his colleagues once the session of the 16th Congress opens on July 22, 2013.

“It’s all about the jockeying for 2016. It’s about which faction of the ruling elite has the advantage of controlling the Senate. It’s about the Aquino administration wanting to strengthen its control over the Senate and wanting to secure an advantage for the 2016 presidential polls. There is no lofty principle involved in the leadership change. It’s just narrow partisan politics at work,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“Senators should stop making it appear that the leadership change is for our own good. It’s not. They should stop saying that there will be accountability and a better senate. There won’t . The people do not stand to benefit from this change in leadership. Whether it’s an Enrile presidency or Drilon presidency, the Senate remains fundamentally the same,” Reyes added.

Bayan expressed concern that a Drilon presidency in the Senate would give the Aquino administration greater control or influence over the Senate.

“The Aquino regime has so far retained its control of the Lower House and is now poised to solidify its control over the Senate. Do not expect any checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches,” Reyes said.
Looming conflicts

Bayan however warned that this may not be the last leadership change in the Senate as there may be changes in the alignments among political parties leading up to the 2016 elections.

The President’s Liberal Party is not the majority party in the Senate. It relies on coalitions with other parties.

“It appears that everything will now be weighed against the 2016 polls,” Reyes added.

Bayan and its allied groups are gearing for a nationwide mass protest actions on July 22, the opening of Congress. This forth State of the Nation Address marks Aquino’s 3rd year in office.

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