Sotto, Pimentel to join forces vs Cayetano for Senate president?
MANILA, Philippines – Two allies of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte might face off for the Senate presidency: running mate Alan Peter Cayetano and party mate Aquilino Pimentel III.
While Cayetano claims that 15 senators had committed to him, Pimentel is forging an alliance with Senator Vicente Sotto III. Sotto said it is still not clear who between them will ultimately vie for the leadership.
Sotto said on Monday, May 30, that their group consists of 18 senators, hinting that some of those who committed to Cayetano have committed to them as well.
"Ang pirma sa isang resolusyon, pirma 'yon until approval. Eh kung nakapirma rin sa ibang resolusyon? (A signature on a resolution, that's a signature until the approval. What if the person also signed another resolution?) It negates everything else," Sotto said.
"Eighteen kami. Commitment? Madali 'yung commitment (Commitment is easy). I would not be surprised if any of the other SP (Senate president) aspirants would say that they have commitments. everybody has commitment, it’s easy to commit, the importantt thing is when you vote,” Sotto added.
Pimentel, for his part, admitted he is interested in gunning for the top Senate post. After all, he said, it is his “duty and obligation” as PDP-Laban president to try to become the chamber leader.
“I might get their support if I can convince them on federalism. We are talking because we have to agree based on principles. We should be change-minded senators so we're talking about federalism,” he said.
Despite eyeing the same post, both Pimentel and Cayetano say it's just a "friendly competition."
15 commitments to Cayetano?
But for Cayetano, if the elections were held today, he is sure he would win it.
Cayetano claimed he has the commitment of 15 senators to be the next Senate president. But, so far, only one has signed the resolution declaring him the next chamber leader – senator-elect Manny Pacquiao, who, Sotto said, also committed to their group.
Pacquiao was the first one to sign Cayetano's resolution on Sunday, May 29.
"There are about 15 that have committed, but, as I said, the voting is not today. But I believe, if personal commitment is given.... But, of course, there’s a lot of talking, a lot of persuasion,” Cayetano said in a chance interview with reporters on Monday, May 30
“Private 'yon (resolution), binuo namin. Commitments are there, but the actual signatures will depend sa paalaman sa bawat grupo nila (on their own permissions from their groups). But then di ko naman plinano sa harap ng media yon magkapirmahan. It wasn’t really for the public,” he added.
(We drafted the resolution privately. Commitments are there, but the actual signaturers will depend on the permission they get from their groups. But then I did not plan to do the signing in front of the media. It wasn't really for the public.)
Cayetano earlier said there is already a consensus among the senators. The recent positionings, he reiterated, are part of senators’ jockeying for committee chairmanships.
Cayetano claimed Malacañang is “still making calls” to senators to pitch its preferred Senate president, but he was quick to point out that this is something “normal” at this stage.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, the incumbent leader, said he is ready to yield the leadership once any senator gets the 13 votes needed to replace him.
“As I said, those who have 13 votes, just present to me the resolution. There’s no problem,” Drilon said. – Rappler.com