By Handog Malaya Vera, Manila Legarda and Gerry Albert Corpuz
MANILA, Philippines-Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday urged the 23 senators comprising the incoming Senate to stop presidential sister and popular TV host actress Kris-Aquino Yap from intervening in the affairs of the Senate.
According to news report, Ms Aquino had allegedly called several senators to back Sen. Francis Pangilinan in his bid to become the next Senate President.
In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said senators should tell Ms Aquino that the latter has no business in the affairs of the Senate and the 23 senators should stop her lobbying offensive in favor of Senator Francis Pangilinan, a staunch ally of his brother- President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.
“Who is Ms Kris Aquino-Yap to tell and dictate the 23 senators that her brother President Aquino wants Senator Pangilinan to be next Senate President? Why not let her brother president do his job? We hope the Senate will rise above the occasion and completely reject this brazen and blatant political arrogance of Ms. Aquino,” Hicap said.
“If Pangilinan wins the Senate Presidency because of Ms Aquino’s aggressive lobbying stint, and not because of merits and good track record, then there is really something wrong with the majority of Senators who will vote for Pangilinan,” added Hicap.
The Pamalakaya leader found active lobbying of Ms Aquino-Yap for Sen. Pangilinan extremely offensive and grossly insulting not only to the collective wisdom of the 23 senators but also to the collective intelligence and political sentiment of 94 million Filipinos.
“If President Aquino wants Pangilinan to be the next Senate President then by all means he should come out in the open, declare his support to Pangilinan and rally his allies in the Senate to vote for Pangilinan. At this point, Aquino is already showing that he is a future lame duck President by allowing his sister to do the job for him,” added Hicap.
Hicap said the active involvement of Ms Aquino in choosing the next Senate President and members of the Aquino cabinet suggests that Kamag-Anak Inc. really exists and politically active. “Kris is an epitome of what do we mean by Kamag-Anak Inc.,” he stressed.
Pamalakaya clarified it has nothing against Sen. Pangilinan as lawmaker, although the group noted that for a while, the Senator had been a close ally of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and was instrumental in rejecting all election protest during the congressional canvassing of the 2004 presidential elections.
But Pamalakaya said Pangilinan bounced back when he called for the resignation of Mrs. Arroyo in 2005 at the height of Hello Garci cheating scandal in 2005 and supported the broad anti-Arroyo movement since then. The group said it also recognized the advocacy of Pangilinan against extrajudicial killings and his stand to have the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) reviewed or repealed.
Sources said Ms Aquino’s endorsement of Pangilinan made headway for the latter in the race for Senate President. Sen. Pangilinan reportedly has the support of Liberal Party and non-Liberal Party senators composed of senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Francis Escudero, Sergio Osmena III, Vicente Sotto III, Teofisto Guingona III, Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes IV. #