16 – 3 still equals Senate victory
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III used simple arithmetic to show that Sen. Franklin Drilon would be the Senate President in the coming 16th Congress.
Lump together the nine newly elected senators from Team PNoy and the seven “friendly” incumbents and one would come up with 16 senators, said Pimentel, who has an undergraduate degree in mathematics.
“As a mathematician, nine plus seven is 16 but you only need 13 votes to elect the Senate President,” he said in an interview at the Liberal Party (LP) headquarters on Monday.
He thus confidently declared: “There will be a (leadership) change” in the chamber.
Apart from Pimentel, the eight other Team PNoy senatorial candidates who won in the May 13 elections were Grace Poe, Bam Aquino, Edgardo Angara, Cynthia Villar, Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Alan Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes.
The incumbent senators perceived to be supportive of Drilon are Ralph Recto, TG Guingona, Sergio Osmeña, Lito Lapid, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Pia Cayetano.
But Pimentel admitted that the cohesiveness of the group would be precarious at best.
“It’s OK if it’s not that solid but at least you have an allowance of three members to ensure an absolute number of 13 to elect the Senate President,” he said.
Pimentel recalled that it was incumbent Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile himself who said he planned to relinquish the post in the 16th Congress.
“In my one and half years in the Senate, I heard Senate President Enrile say he was willing to give up the presidency in the 16th Congress. So let’s grant him his wish,” he said in Filipino.
Earlier, Santiago said Cayetano might challenge Drilon for the leadership of the chamber.
“I think that being the younger senator, (Cayetano) could be easily persuaded to support Senator Drilon. I know Senator Cayetano, he’s a very reasonable person,” Pimentel said. Cathy Yamsuan