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Revamp must not weaken Senate’s independence

WHEN the House of Representatives started organizing itself at the start of the new Duterte administration, many congressmen of the Liberal Party, the majority party in the Aquino administration, moved to join the new administration party PDP-Laban.

Senate President Koko Pimentel yesterday defended the expulsion of four Liberal Party senators and one LP ally from the dominant, pro-Duterte administration bloc, saying clear lines have been drawn to allow the majority bloc achieve its legislative agenda.

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A few days after Sen. Leila M. de Lima was arrested on drug charges, the 24-man Senate led by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday removed Sen. Franklin M. Drilon, a Liberal Party stalwart, as the Senate President Pro Tempore.

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Incoming Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III expressed confidence yesterday that the relations of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and the Senate will be smooth despite Duterte’s warning to Congress not to be a hindrance to his campaign to rid the country from the tentacles of the multi-billion-peso illegal drug trade and other criminal activities.

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Members of the Liberal Party and coalition allies have been given the first crack at major committees in the Senate based on the initial list of committee chairmanships released by Sen. Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III yesterday.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy“ Estrada has filed a resolution asking the Senate to reopen the investigation into the P35-billion so-called Peace Eradication and Alleviation Certificates (PEACE) bonds controversy.

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