Sotto on being majority leader: Ayoko na nga

Ayee Macaraig

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(UPDATE) Sen Vicente 'Tito' Sotto says he's sympathizing with Sen Juan Ponce Enrile, who resigned the Senate presidency

QUITTING, TOO. Sen Vicente 'Tito' Sotto III says he's resigning to sympathize with Sen Juan Ponce Enrile. Photo by Rappler/Ayee Macaraig

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – After the resignation of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, his close ally Sen Vicente “Tito” Sotto III also resigned as Senate majority leader.

Sotto tendered his resignation after reading highlights of his accomplishment report on the last session day on Thursday, June 6. 

“It is with pride although tempered with necessary humility that by the grace of God, I registered a perfect attendance as majority floor leader in the daily plenary sessions of the 15th Congress, I’m never late and performed an important role in the impeachment trial,” Sotto said. 

“As the curtain falls on the regular session of the 15th Congress and its legal life draws its last breath at the end of June this year, please consider my position as majority leader co-terminous therewith. I wish the next Senate of the 16thCongress well and the interest of the Filipino people be served faithfully and well,” he added.

Sotto later said in an interview, “They don’t need to replace me on July 22 because I already resigned. If I did not do that, I will be a carryover up to the 16th Congress eh ayoko na nga eh (I don’t want the job anymore.) As of today, I consider myself resigned.” 

He added that his resignation is “no big deal” because he will be likely replaced on July 22. “I just want it ahead. We’re no longer the majority, what’s the use?” 

Before the start of session, Sotto already told reporters he will step down. 

“After the 3rd reading scenarios, we will pass the resolutions affirming the adjournment sine die, and then I will submit my accomplishment report and probably even before that, the accomplishment report of the Senate President and after I submit my accomplishment report, I will inform the Senate that I am resigning as majority leader at the end of the 15th Congress.”

Asked what triggered his decision, Sotto said, “Pagod na ako. Mahirap, napakahirap.” (I’m tired. It’s difficult, very difficult.)

“I don’t think I can top the time, effort, blood, sweat and tears I put into the last 3 years into the next 3 years so let’s leave it at that. Sabi nga nila quit while you’re ahead.”

He added that his resignation will pave the way for new officers to be elected in the 16th Congress. 

Sotto said his resignation is a way of sympathizing with Enrile, who stepped down amid criticism of his selective handling of Senate funds.

Isa sa mga factors. Nawalan na ako ng gana. Pagkatapos ng 3 taong binuhos mo, ganoon lang ang mangyayaring pagbibintang sa leadership natin.” (It was one of the factors. I lost interest. After spending 3 years here, this is all our leadership gets.)

The senator added that his resignation is a way of transitioning to the new minority. 

“It will be a diligent minority, as diligent as the leadership that we provided in the 15th Congress. No absence, no tardiness.” 

He said the new minority will see how the majority will handle issues facing the Senate, including why its Public Relations and Information Bureau sent out a fake e-mail announcing the withdrawal of the senatorial candidacy of Sen Gregorio Honasan II last May. 

Sotto said Assistant Majority Leader Honasan will take his place.

As majority leader, Sotto was in charge of the Senate agenda, and trafficking bills introduced on the floor.

He became controversial for opposing the Reproductive Health law and for plagiarizing online articles in  speeches against the measure. –  

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