Senate fight still up in the air; new poll winners are key
New members of the Senate could make the difference in the contest for the leadership of the chamber.
So far, not all of the incoming senators have decided on who to back for the Senate presidency.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the new ruling party PDP-Laban and the lone member of the party in the Senate, has bared plans to run for Senate President.
A sizable group of nine to 11 senators is considering fielding Sen. Vicente Sotto III for the post. The name of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, the running mate of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, has also been floated as a potential contender.
But incumbent Senate President Franklin Drilon, the Liberal Party (LP) executive vice president, is not without a significant following as well.
The 17th Congress will have eight senators who are either members of the LP or ran as its candidates in the May 9 elections.
If none of the challengers gets the support of the majority, Drilon keeps his post.
Incoming Sen. Joel Villanueva, who ran on the LP ticket, said he was still undecided who to back in the race, although he acknowledged his close ties to Drilon.
Villanueva also said Drilon had an advantage and could get the numbers to retain his post. The two of them will meet tomorrow, he said.
But he also said he was close to Cayetano, the godfather of his children. The two men are set to meet soon as well. Sotto has also helped him a lot, Villanueva added.
But as to who would get his vote, Villanueva said a major consideration would be who could help him continue his advocacies by giving him the chairmanship of the education or labor committee.
“Right now, the biggest pressure to me is the 18,459,922 votes I got. I feel like I applied for a big loan, and it was approved. I want to make sure they will not have a hard time collecting from me,” Villanueva said in a phone interview.
Dignity of the Senate
Incoming Sen. Richard Gordon, who ran as independent, said in a radio interview that he would back the candidate who would protect the dignity of the Senate and improve its image.
Gordon said he had yet to give his commitment to anyone, but disclosed that he and Drilon had already talked.
Incoming Sen. Miguel Zubiri said in a text message that he was committed to support Duterte’s candidate for Senate President.
Duterte, however, has yet to announce his choice for the Senate presidency. TVJ
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