MANILA, Philippines — President Aquino’s Senate allies expressed on Tuesday their continued support for the leadership of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile amid rumors of a coup in the chamber.
Senator Ralph Recto, a member of the ruling Liberal Party and one of those rumored to take over the Senate presidency in the event of a successful coup, said he was not interested in the post.
“There is no truth to that. No one has ever spoken to me about that. I’m not interested. I think the Senate President is doing well,” he told reporters.
Recto said the coalition of the LP, the Nacionalista Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition would only be for next year’s elections and not for a change of leadership in the Senate.
“The coalition is not for a coup but for the elections. To be able to elect more people to the Senate to pass certain things. That’s basically what it’s all about,” he added.
Asked if the LP, NP and NPC members in the Senate would be enough to vote Enrile out, Recto refused to be baited.
“That’s not being discussed,” he said.
Recto said he was not aiming to become Senate President as he would rather not put in the extra hours that would be needed.
“I want to spend more time with my wife. I don’t want to go home late at night,” said the senator, the husband of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos Recto.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, another LP member also being mentioned as a possible replacement for Enrile, denied any knowledge of a coup in the offing.
“I am not aware of any change in leadership in the Senate. If there is one, I’m not a part of it,” he said.
Enrile said it would be “okay” if he were to be voted out of the Senate leadership. He said he had always expected to be replaced everyday.
“The obligation of a Senate President is quite heavy. Hindi ka makapasyal (you have no time to hang out),” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III dismissed the coup talks, saying he was confident that any such attempt would not be successful.
“As a matter of fact, I know for a fact that the present administration is very pleased with Senator Enrile’s leadership in the Senate,” Sotto told reporters.