Cayetano or Pimentel seen to challenge Drilon in Senate
THE new administration coalition has yet to choose between senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III as its candidate for the highest position in the Senate, Senator Cynthia Villar said on Tuesday.
Villar is part of the Nacionalista Party (NP) which forged an alliance Monday with presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP-Laban.
“Hindi pa sure [but] Mayor Duterte will have a candidate,” she said when asked if the coalition has already picked its candidate to challenge incumbent Senate President Franklin Drilon, vice chairman of the Liberal Party.
Asked if there were names being floated to contest the Senate presidency, Villar said: “Sinasabi nila, it’s a choice between Koko and Alan. Ewan ko kung finalize na kung sino sa kanila.”
Pimentel is the president of PDP-Laban while Cayetano is a member of NP, which is headed by Villar’s husband, former senator Manny Villar.
In the Senate, Pimentel is the only PDP-laban senator. The NP has three members – Senators Villar, Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes, who has accused Duterte of having at least P2.4 billion in various bank accounts.
Trillanes has also filed a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against Duterte for alleged ghost employees in Davao City but the mayor strongly denied both allegations.
Asked if the NP would be grooming its partymate to become the next Senate President, Villar said Cayetano has yet to express his desire for the post, adding that the party has not yet discussed who will be its candidate for the chamber’s top post.
“We’ll just defer to the decision of the President,” she said.
But Villar believes that either Cayetano or Pimentel would have a “very good” chance of getting the majority support of the Senate.
Unlike in the Senate, Villar was more confident that the new administration coalition will get the majority votes needed for its candidate for Speakership in the person of incoming Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez.
She said the NP, which has about 50 representatives, will coalesce with the National Unity Party (NUP) at the House of Representatives. She also expects party-list groups and some LP members to join the coalition.
“Majority na yun saka meron din namang sasamang mga LP, hindi naman lahat ng LP will remain with LP maraming boboto sa kandidato ni Mayor Duterte,” Senator Villar added./rga
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