Join us, Sotto invites Cayetano
Sen. Vicente Sotto III dared Wednesday the group of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano to join the supermajority of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel to show support to the legislative agenda of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.
Sotto said he was confident the supermajority of 14 senators would remain intact until July 25, and that he expected Duterte to remain neutral in the leadership contest since Pimentel is a close ally. Pimentel heads the PDP-Laban, Duterte’s political party.
Sotto, along with incumbent Senate President Franklin Drilon, decided to nominate Pimentel for being “the most allied of all.” He said they withdrew support for Cayetano’s bid because of certain differences, including his non-negotiable choices for certain committee chairmanships.
“If you are really pursuing and supporting the legislative agenda of the incoming President, you join the supermajority. Otherwise, you are not really supporting him,” said Sotto, one of 14 senators who signed a resolution nominating Pimentel to be the next Senate President when the 17th Congress opens on July 25.
The latest to sign the pro-Pimentel resolution was Senator-elect Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday.
Originally, Pimentel’s group had counted 16 senators to support Pimentel’s candidacy. But Senator-elect Joel Villanueva and Sen. Ralph Recto have said they may join the minority together with Senators Francis Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Sotto, originally backed by eight senators supporting his own Senate leadership bid, said he talked to Cayetano, who had four senators supporting him. But the latter’s choice for committee chairmanships was untenable.
“When I went back to our group, they were not excited and not happy about that kind of situation,” Sotto said.