Sotto says at least 11 senators pushing him for Senate presidency
At least 11 senators are “grooming” reelected Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III as the next Senate President, the senator himself said on Friday.
Sotto made the revelation after learning that some of his partymates in the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) have expressed support for the chosen candidate of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte for the Senate presidency.
“I suggest, huwag nilang pakialaman ang leadership ng Senate. NPC or not, wala silang pakiaalam. Kasi susuportahan nila ang gusto ng President, e kung hindi yan ang gusto namin?” an irked senator said over the phone.
“NPC ako, hindi nila ako susuportahan? E di magpapaalam na ako sa partido,” he said.
(I suggest they not meddle with the Senate leadership. NPC or not, they shouldn’t meddle. Because they will support the President’s choice, and what if that’s not what we want?
(I’m from NPC, and yet they won’t support me? If so, then I’ll leave the party.)
Sotto said his partymates should not commit right away to anyone, especially on the issue of leadership in the Senate.
“They should not commit right away because they don’t know if an NPC [member] is being groomed by many senators to be Senate President. Hindi alam ng NPC leadership na may kino-consider na iba ang maraming senador (The NPC leadership don’t know that other senators are considering others)…”
He said at least 11 senators are pushing him to run for Senate president.
“I am being considered for the post…” Sotto said.
In fact, he said, his own partymate, newly-elected Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, had committed to support him should he decide to run for Senate president.
“Ang commitment nya sa akin, pag ako ang tumakbo, susuporta sya sa akin (His commitment to me was that he would support me if I run),” Sotto said, adding that Gatchalian made this promise in front of other senators.
But Gatchalian, in an earlier interview, said he would support Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who he said is reportedly being considered for the post.
Cayetano was Duterte’s running mate during the last elections but he belongs to former Senator Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP).
“Dito po sa (Here in the) House, sa lower house may formal coalition ang NPC and PDP- Laban so in effect the general direction is to support the new administration and their legislative measures. So with that being the case, sa Senate should be the same,” Gatchalian said.
“Ngayon (Now), I believe the anointed one si (is) Alan, sa alam ko ha…Ang alam ko si Alan (from what I gather, it’s Alan),” Gatchalian added.
“I think ang support natin is to (our support is [with]) the administration,” he added.
But asked what if his partymate, Sotto, also seeks the Senate presidency, Gatchalian said: “Well, dapat pag-usapan yan (That needs to be discussed).”
“I think the general idea and general direction is to support the administration. Gusto nating magkaisa e (We want to be united). At the end of the day, isang bansa lang tayo, gusto nating magkaisa (we’re only one country, we want to be united).”
NPC president and Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao echoed Gatchalian’s statement, saying the party, which just signed a coalition agreement with Duterte’s PDP-Laban, will support whoever the incoming President picks to be his candidate for the Senate presidency.
Aggabao said there were talks that Duterte would choose between Cayetano and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who has just announced his intention to run for the post.
“Whoever is the designated Senate President ni (of) President Rody [Duterte], I expect that NPC will support him,” Aggabao said.
Also asked about the possibility of an NPC senator gunning for the post, the party president pointed out that, “based on history kelangan kung sino ang kapartido ni President, yun ang magiging Senate President (whoever the partymate of the President is becomes Senate President).” CDG/rga
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.