MANILA – Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday the Philippine Senate will work with “presumptive president” Rodrigo Duterte in the next 17th Congress.
“He has the mandate of the people, we will work with him,” Drilon said in a media interview after receiving the first certificate of canvass (COC) from San Juan City at the Philippine Senate.
Drilon, vice chairman of the Liberal Party (LP) whose standard-bearer Mar Roxas conceded to Duterte on Tuesday, said they are eagerly awaiting the legislative agenda of the successor of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
“During the campaign, we were not benefited with any indication of what the legislative agenda will be, so we eagerly await his legislative agenda,” Drilon said.
The Senate leader is expecting that the first agenda that the Duterte administration will submit to Congress is the proposed 2017 national budget.
He said the transition team “must be working at this point so that the budget can be submitted on time.”
“Certainly the inputs of the incoming administration will be respected and we will expect the budget to contain the policy direction of the administration of Mayor Duterte,” he added.
Drilon strongly suggested that a transition team from the Duterte administration will be already formed and start talking to the transition team of the Aquino administration “so that there will be a smooth transfer of power on June 30.”
Drilon said the current 16th Congress will resume session on May 23 and will tackle in the first two days the remaining bills and about five bicameral conference committee reports. The 16th Congress will adjourn sine die on June 10.
“There are a number of local bills and franchise bills which we will pass on third reading, which came from the House. There are also a number of local and franchise bills which were amended by the Senate and are now in the House, and the House will adopt the Senate version,” Drilon said.
On May 25, Drilon said the Senate and the House of Representatives will convene as the national board of canvassers (NBOC) to proclaim the next President and Vice President of the country.
Drilon, who is on top of the senatorial race based on partial and unofficial results, said he looks forward working with the new senators.
“I have been in the Senate for 18 years, I think I know the institution. We will continue to protect the institution, protect the independence of the institution. I think that’s our duty,” the veteran lawmaker from Iloilo said.
Drilon said the incumbent Senate leaders, including him, will continue to function “as such until the elections take place” at the opening of the 17th Congress.
Based on the partial and unofficial results, six LP senatorial candidates – Joel Villanueva, Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Drilon – are already in the top 12 of the senatorial election.