Amid admin turnover, Senate leadership hangs in balance
Will Senate President Franklin Drilon, vice chairman of the Liberal Party (LP), retain his post when the new Congress opens in July, or will he be replaced by an ally of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte?
Neither Drilon nor Duterte’s partymate in PDP-Laban, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, was ready to predict whether or not a change in leadership in the Senate was imminent.
While he is more confident that the incoming administration could get the support of the majority in the House of Representatives, Pimentel could not say the same for the Senate.
“Parang mas excited sila dun sa lower house kasi marami na yatang pumupunta sa Davao, binibisita yung secretary general ng PDP- Laban, si Congressman Bebot Alvarez,” he said in a television interview on Thursday.
(Those in the Lower House seem to be more excited because many of them have gone to Davao to visit the secretary general of PDP-Laban, Congressman Bebot Alvarez.)
Pimentel, president of PDP-Laban, was referring to newly-elected Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, who was reportedly endorsed by the party to run for House speaker.
“Sa Senado naman relax-relax pa, hintayin muna nating ma-proclaim sila kasi yung iba hindi pa nga sila napo-proclaim e, ayaw munang makitang eager beaver sila,” he said.
“Dun sa House, sa tingin ko ay gumaganda na ang sitwasyon dun. Sa Senate, gaya ng sinabi ko kanina, hindi pa naman kami nag-uumpisa so at any rate alam naman ng mga kasama ko sa Senado what’s best for the institution, collective decision na po ito at tingnan natin that the collective wisdom of the senators prevail,” Pimentel added.
(In the Senate they are still relaxed; let’s wait for the proclamation since for their part, others still haven’t proclaimed, they don’t want to appear like eager beavers.
(In the House, I think the situation there is improving. In the Senate, like I said, we haven’t started yet, so at any rate, my comrades in the Senate know what’s best for the institution; this is a collective decision and we will see to it that the collective wisdom of the senators prevail.)
Drilon earlier explained that in the Senate, the incumbent leaders of the 16th Congress will continue to function “until the elections take place at the opening of Congress” in July.
A majority vote of the 24 senators is needed either for Drilon to keep his post or unseat him.
Based on partial and unofficial counts of the Commission on Elections transparency server, seven senatorial bets who made it the Magic 12 would come from the LP-led ticket— Drilon, former Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) Director-General Joel Villanueva, returning Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, Ralph Recto and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
Drilon, Pangilinan, Recto and De Lima are LP members while Villanueva and Lacson are independents.
The remaining five in the Magic 12 are reelectionist Senator Vicente Sotto III, returning Senators Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri, Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian.
Sotto and Gatchalian are members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), which endorsed the presidential candidacy of Senator Grace Poe; Gordon and Zubiri are independents but they also ran under Poe’s senatorial slate; while Pacquiao is a member of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Meanwhile, the 12 incumbent senators whose term will end in 2019 are Poe, Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes, Gringo Honasan, Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda, Pimentel, and Cynthia Villar.
Poe and Escudero are independents; Honasan, Binay and Ejercito are part of UNA; Cayetano, Trillanes and Villar are members of the Nacionalista Party, Angara is a member of Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Legarda is with NPC while Pimentel and Aquino are part of PDP-Laban and LP, respectively. CDG/rga
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