Aquino swears in 80 allies in Senate, House
MANILA, Philippines -President Benigno Aquino III led the oath-taking of his newly elected allies and party mates from the Liberal Party (LP) in Malacañang, Thursday, June 27, including 76 congressmen and 4 senators.
The new additions will increase the number of LP solons from 47 out of 287 in 2010 when Aquino first took office, to 110 out of 292.
In the Senate, the number of LP members will stay at 4 out of 24, with senator-elect Benigno "Bam" Aquino taking the place of outgoing LP Sen Francis Pangilinan.
President Aquino swore in senators-elect from his coalition, Team PNoy, including LP's sole winning bet Bam Aquino, and Nacionalista Party (NP) members Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Cynthia Villar. The LP has forged an alliance with the NP for the 16th Congress, which starts in July.
First-time senator Aquino joins senior LP senators Franklin Drilon, Teofisto Guingona III and Ralph Recto, but the LP can also expect support from NP. In the 15th Congress, the NP had 5 senators, a number that remains after Villar won her senatorial bid to replace her husband, outgoing Sen Manny Villar.
NP's Trillanes and Cayetano also won their re-election bids, putting the number of LP and NP in the Senate at 9 out of 24.
Of Aquino's 12 bets, 9 were successful in their senatorial bids. The other 5 were sworn in on Thursday, June 13 along with other LP governors and elected officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Those who were sworn in two weeks ago were senators-elect Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Loren Legarda, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.
In the House of Representatives, the LP now has 109 members, more than double the number it had in 2010.
Party stalwart Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad has said their numbers could grow as he expects some "independent" candidates to join them.
The oath-taking comes over 6 weeks since the 2013 midterm elections. On Friday, June 27, members of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) and the National Unity Party (NUP) are scheduled to take their oaths also before the President.
Both parties also formed an alliance with the LP during the 2013 elections.
"This shows that the President recognizes the importance of continuing the alliance hammered during the last polls," Marikina Rep and LP spokesperson Miro Quimbo told Rappler. "His reform agenda cannot be carried by LP alone. It will require a galvanized support coming from the other coalition partners, if we are to ensure its success."
Also present at the event were Interior Secretary and LP stalwart Mar Roxas and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. - Rappler.com