Hontiveros in talks with Pimentel, wants 'genuine' Senate minority regardless of number

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 27) — Sen. Risa Hontiveros is now in talks with Sen. Koko Pimentel about a possible alliance for the Senate minority as the supermajority shapes up in the 19th Congress.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday, Hontiveros revealed that she and Pimentel have recently had a "productive" discussion, signifiying the latter's inclination to form a minority with her.

"I've spoken especially to Sen. Koko," Hontiveros said. "I'm glad that we are both strongly inclined to form a minority together. I can't speak for him here but I'm glad na productive ang unang pag-uusap namin (that we've had a productive dialogue)."

Pimentel already said in the past that he is leaning towards joining the lone opposition senator because he wants to ensure that there will be a segment of the Senate that will check the majority.

READ: Pimentel leaning towards joining the minority in 19th Congress 

Pimentel told The Source earlier this month that he is not making any active efforts to be part of the majority or to endorse anyone to the Senate presidency.

Hontiveros said she is also reaching out to other colleagues, and she sees some others possibly reaching out to her.

So far, she and Pimentel have not yet touched on who could be the next Senate minority leader, but they will likely have more dialogues in the future before the next Congress convenes.

But how will the next minority leader be chosen? Hontiveros said they could follow a previous tradition in the chamber which entails either she or Pimentel running for the Senate presidency, since the defeated bet could likely get the minority leadership.

"May iba pang route na magsignify ako halimbawa at magsignify ang gustong pumasok sa minority at the outset na hindi lalahok sa botohan para sa senate president, from the get go sasali na sa minority," she explained.

[Translation: There is another route that we could take, where I or anyone could signify that he wants to join the minority at the outset and will not participate in the election of the senate president, so from the get go, he will join the minority.]

"Basta kung ano man yung maging exact number namin eventually ang importante para sa akin (Whatever will be our exact number eventually, what matters to me ) is, we, the genuine minority, is able to fully exercise our various roles," she said.

Hontiveros is the lone senator from the opposition to have entered the "Magic 12," ranking 11th with 15.4 million votes in this year's polls. The rest of her allies are either retiring or were defeated in the Senate race.

Pimentel previously protested the endorsement of now president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. by a rival faction in the ruling PDP-Laban party. His father, the late Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., co-founded the party to fight the 20-year rule of late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, which was marred by corruption, abuses, arrests, and killings.

The 18th Congress will close on June 30, the day Marcos Jr. assumes office. The 19th Congress will convene on July 25.