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Drilon to Senate newbies: Study first, leadership quarrels later

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday, June 2, offered a reality check to incoming neophyte senators reportedly eyeing a change in the Senate's leadership: Study first, leadership quarrels later.

"Sana mag-aral po muna 'yung mga baguhan. Sasabihin ko nang diretso, bilang isang neophyte, 'yung pagpalit ng liderato ng Senado ay malayo pa sa mandato natin iyan," Drilon said in a DZBB interview on Sunday. (The incoming senators should study first. I will say it directly, in the case of neophytes, the leadership change is not the priority in our mandate.)

"Inihalal sila ng taumbayan para gumawa ng batas, hindi kaagad sumalpak sa leadership quarrel," Drilon added. (They were elected by the people to make laws, not to immediately meddle in leadership quarrels.)

A Senate veteran, Drilon has served in government for over 30 years since the administration of former president Corazon Aquino. He first became a senator in 1995, when senators sought to replace then-Senate president Edgardo Angara Sr as the upper chamber's leader. 

At that time, Drilon said that as a neophyte in the Senate, he played a "mere observer" to the leadership change. "That's a reality that a neophyte senator must accept," he said.  

Drilon likewise expressed confidence in Senate President Vicento Sotto III's leadership, saying Sotto has treated all senators equally. 

"His leadership has been good. He treats everyone fairly. He knows that he is the President of the Senate and not just of the majority, and he listens to everyone," Drilon said.

Drilon's statement comes as senators-elect Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino reportedly push for election topnotcher Cynthia Villar as the new Senate president. Marcos earlier floated the notion and mentioned Tolentino as the supposed proponent of the leadership change. (READ: The rise of Cynthia Villar: How politics, money, networks made her No. 1)

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier said he was drafting a resolution that will serve as a "vote of confidence" in Sotto's leadership.

Aside from Drilon and Lacson, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Manny Pacquiao, Koko Pimentel, Grace Poe, and Joel Villanueva have expressed support for Sotto. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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