WATCH: Cynthia Villar refuses to sign resolution backing Sotto leadership

Camille Elemia

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WATCH: Cynthia Villar refuses to sign resolution backing Sotto leadership
'Huwag n'yo ko idadamay sa away n'yo. Bakit hindi n'yo kausapin si Sotto at mga kapartido ninyo para matapos ang gulong ito?' an irked Senator Cynthia Villar tells senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Manny Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Cynthia Villar on Monday, June 3, refused to sign the resolution expressing support for the continued leadership of Senate President Vicente Sotto III in the incoming 18th Congress.

Villar confronted PDP-Laban members and senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Manny Pacquiao, as the latter was routing the draft resolution to senators before Monday’s session. Pimentel is the party president, while Pacquiao served as the campaign manager of the slate in the 2019 polls.

“Bakit ako pipirma dyan? Kung ipahamak n’yo ang aking kapartido? Ako nakapirma dyan. Hihintayin ko na maayos si Pia at si Imee. ‘Di ba tama ‘yun?” Villar told Pimentel and Pacquiao. (Why would I sign that? What if you put my partymates at a disadvantage and I already signed that? I should wait for Pia and Imee. Isn’t that right?)

Senators-elect Pia Cayetano and Imee Marcos are set to serve in the 18th Congress, which will open on July 22. Villar, Cayetano, and Marcos are members of the Nacionalista Party.

A visibly irked Villar said: “Huwag n’yo ko idadamay sa away n’yo. Bakit hindi n’yo kausapin si Sotto at mga kapartido ninyo para matapos ang gulong ito? Bakit ako isasali ninyo?” (Don’t drag me into your mess. Why don’t you talk to Sotto and your partymates so this mess will end. Why would you involve me?)

Villar also confronted Pacquiao for presenting some PDP-Laban senators as Sotto supporters.

“Kasi ikaw dinala mo kay Sotto ‘yung kapartido mo, sabi n’yo maggoo-good time lang kayo. Eh biglang sinabi n’yo na supportive sila kay Sotto,” she said. (Because you brough your partymates to Sotto. You said you will just have a good time. But all of a sudden you said they are supportive of Sotto.)

Aside from Pimentel and Pacquiao, other PDP-Laban members in the next Congress are senators-elect Bong Go, Francis Tolentino, and Ronald dela Rosa.

In a separate interview, Villar explained why she refused to sign the manifesto. She also urged Pacquiao to fix the issue with some partymates, who have qualms.

“No, they are asking me to sign, I told them na ‘Ikaw, Manny, ikaw ang nagpapa-sign, ayusin mo muna ang partido mo bago ka pumirma diyan. Baka pirma ka nang pirma diyan, iyong mga kapartido mo may complaint. (You, Manny, you are the one asking people to sign it, but you should fix your party first. You’re signing that resolution while your partymates have complaints).’ In my behalf naman, I cannot sign because we have two newcomers from NP. I want to talk to them about the issues bago ako pumirma (before I sign),” Villar told repoters.

Hindi kasi maganda na pipirma ako tapos maiiwan iyong dalawa na bagong papasok sa Senado na NP. Iyon lang naman. That’s part of being a member of the party. You don’t just take care of yourself. You make sure na ang kapartido mo maayos din. Unfair naman na kayo lang ang maayos, sila hindi sila maayos (that your partymates are okay. It’s unfair ,” she added.

(It is not good that I would sign it and leave behind my partymates. That’s just it. That’s part of being a member of the party. You don’t just take care of yourself. You make sure that your partymates are okay. It’s unfair that you’re okay but your partymates are not.) 

It was Senator Panfilo Lacson who drafted the resolution backing Sotto, amid rumors of an ouster plot in the 18th Congress.

Tolentino and Marcos made the insinuations in media interviews.

Marcos earlier said there were moves to install Villar as the new Senate leader. Villar earlier denied it.

A simple majority of 13 votes is enough to overhaul the Senate leadership. At least 13 senators have signed the draft resolution. However, 3 of them are graduating senators and could no longer participate in the 18th Congress.

The heated development, however, hardly stopped Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon from addressing the elephant in the room, as he teased about the Senate presidency in front of Sotto and Villar. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.