28 November 2008 – Friday
ON ‘NEITHER MAJORITY NOR MINORITY’ POSITION OF SENATORS AQUINO AND TRILLANES…
No less than the Constitution is clear in the issues of proportional representation which likewise applies in this matter. The equation in computing the representation in the Senate was lifted and by practice of the Senate taken from the CA computation. Article VI Section 18 of the Constitution in the creation of the CA states that the twelve senators shall be chosen on the basis of proprotional representation. One is therefore either the majority or the minority and anything in between is violation of the rules.
With all due respect, we cannot accept the proposition of some of our colleagues to be neither majority nor minority because this will create legal and procedural problems that will adveresely affect the day to day affairs of the Senate. It will raise a number of legal questions that may open Senate official acts to legal attacks. I will sympathize with Senator Aquino and his dilemma regarding supporting the leadership of Senator Enrile, he together with Senator Trillanes will have to decise whether to support the majority led by SP Enrile or whether they do not, in which case they belong to the minority.
The Constitution provides only for the majority and minority representation. Representation in the various committees, the Commission on Appointments, the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the oversight committees, and the bicameral conference committees are determined by proprotionate representation between the majority and the minority. There is no room for a 3rd block, there is no legal basis for it. It at all, the 2 senators are in coalition with the majority block, and therefore belong to the majority for purposes of determining proportionate representation. And finally, practice and precedent in the legislative branch forms part of the rules in the Senate and clearly, the practice has always been that the Senate is divided into both the majority and a minority group.