SENATOR Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, who is poised for reelection based on the still unofficial May 9 voting tally, is confident that there will still be a minority bloc that will be formed in the upper chamber despite being the only opposition member among the 12 leading senatorial candidates.
“I will still look for comrades who will form the minority in the entire Senate, there’s twenty-four of us,” she said in Filipino in an interview with Radyo5 on Thursday. “We will start talking and hopefully, we will be able to speak publicly soon enough.”
The senator noted the importance of a minority as they ensure checks and balances within the independent institution.
“An opposition cannot be lost. The minority cannot be lost, especially in an institution like the Senate,” Ms. Hontiveros said.
In a diverse society with different branches of government, there will always be a need to reflect on a wide range of opinions, the opposition senator said.
“So that if there is malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance, it will be addressed, corrected if it is wrong, filled if it is lacking,” she said.
Nine of the top 12 senatorial bets are connected with Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. who is headed for a landslide presidential victory.
The two others ran as independent candidates — Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter S. Cayetano and TV journalist Rafael “Raffy” T. Tulfo.
As of Thursday afternoon, Ms. Hontiveros has received 15.3 million votes in the partial, unofficial tally, ranking 11th among the 64 senatorial candidates.
Ms. Hontiveros said senators will surely speak out against the Executive branch, no matter how strong the president may be, if there are serious issues concerning the public and the country.
“I, as a member of the opposition, am still at stake there, and I will really try to make us effective, especially in the coming years,” Ms. Hontiveros said.
Among the current senators, three are members of the Nacionalista party and related to some of the frontrunners: Senator Pia S. Cayetano, sister of Mr. Cayetano; Senator Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos, sister of Mr. Marcos; and Senator Cynthia A. Villar, mother of Mr. Villar.
Three others are members of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan: Senators Ronald M. dela Rosa, Aquilino Martin L. Pimentel III, and Senator Francis N. Tolentino.
Senator Mary Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares won as an independent candidate in 2019.
Other senators are under different political parties: Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara under Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino; Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay, United Nationalist party; Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go, Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan; Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid, Nationalist People’s Coalition; and Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats, the party of Mr. Marcos’s running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is also leading by a wide margin in the tally. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan