MEMBERS of the new majority expressed relief after they booted out Liberal Party (LP) senators from their committee chairmanships last Monday.

Senator Manny Pacquiao confirmed that 16 senators including himself decided last Sunday that the LP senators should be removed from the majority because of their different positions on various issues.

Pacquiao revealed they had their meeting in his house and a majority of them believed that the LP senators should be clearly identified as those from the opposition.

“Ayoko ng pulitika. Kasama mo nga pero hindi mo naman kakampi at sila pa ang bumabaril sayo,” Pacquio said.

Pacquiao also clarified that they have no plans to oust Senator Aquilino Pimentel III as Senate President.

“Wala naman kaming nakikitang problema sa liderato niya,” Pacquiao said.

Senator Cynthia Villar who took the agriculture committee from Senator Francis Pangilinan said it was a wise decision to draw the line on who belongs to the majority and who should stay with the minority, saying that it has created a lot of confusion.

For his part, Pangilinan said their ouster from the key committees they used to chair had nothing to do with their performance.

“The only instances we were divided in the majority were on the issues of the Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the extrajudicial killings, the investigation of corruption in the Bureau of Immigration, and the Lascañas testimony."

“It is, therefore, inaccurate and factually erroneous to say that the reorganization was due to hampered work,” Pangilnan added.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said that she decided to join the majority bloc when the 17th Congress opened last July under the premise that it will push for a strong and independent Senate.

“Sadly this is no longer the case. Thus, I decided to concede the chairmanship of the committee on health and move to the minority,” she said.

Now with the minority, Senator Bam Aquino said they will still continue their work as elected senators as he stressed that "they owe it to the Filipino people."

“Trabaho pa rin po. Ang taong bayan po ang pinagkakautangan natin and we have to do our job as elected officials,” Aquino said. (Camille Balagtas/SunStar Philippines)