Family relationships won’t impede Senate work, senators say

At least two senators have expressed belief that familial relationships will not hinder the Senate from doing its mandate as senators who were elected in the May 2022 elections are individually competent.

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go made this assurance as he was asked about the upcoming dynamics in the Senate in the 19th Congress considering the public will see a mother and son, and two sets of siblings working in the Upper Chamber.

Joining the Senate in the 19th Congress are Senator-elect and former public works and highways chief Mark Villar, son of Sen. Cynthia Villar who is reportedly gunning for the Senate presidency, and senators-elect Loren Legarda and Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

Also part of the incoming Senate are returning Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, sister of Sen. Pia Cayetano and brothers Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito.

“Eh ‘yan naman po ang pinili ng taumbayan, wala po tayong magagawa doon. Eh ‘yun po (ang demokrasya)... Nandidiyan na po 'yung resulta at mga dati naman pong senador 'yung iba sa kanila. And I’m sure very competent naman po (sila) (They were chosen by the people, we cannot do anything about it. That is the essence of democracy. The results are there and some of them have been senators before. And I’m sure that they are very competent),” said Go.

“Kaya nga po pinili ng mga tao at pinili ng majority ibig sabihin pinagkakatiwalaan. So ‘yun po ang pinili ng taumbayan (They were chosen by the people, by the majority, so it means they trust them. The people have chosen and so) we have to respect it,” he added.

Go also said that while his capacity to work with the Executive department would now be limited, this would not stop him from serving the government.

Go has been President Duterte’s close aide and special assistant even after he won as a senator in 2019.

“So ngayon po bagong administrasyon ay marahil lumiliit na po ang aking kapasidad (pagdating sa pagtulay sa ehekutibo) (So now that we have a new administration, my capacity to serve as a bridge to the executive branch is now limited),” he pointed out.

“Ngunit, hindi ibig sabihin ay titigil po ako sa pagseserbisyo. Gaya ng sabi ko sa abot po ng aking makakaya ay magseserbisyo po ako sa inyo (But that doesn’t mean I will stop serving. As I said, I will serve in the best way possible for the people),” he added.

For his part, Sen. Sonny Angara said he believes the Senate will always maintain some degree of independence given the diversity of its members.

“They are members of different parties and they bring with them their individual opinions, ideologies and advocacies,” Angara said when sought to comment on the upcoming dynamics in the Senate.

Angara also said he believes that the 18th Congress would provide a good model for the upcoming 19thCongress in terms of work ethic, leadership and productivity.

“Debates were long and robust but much legislation was passed to help our countrymen during a very tough time in our history,” he said.

“The Senate helped the President and his administration help our countrymen in their time of need with expanded and unprecedented aid programs,” added Angara.