Senate President Tito Sotto? Likely this year, says Lacson
Soon-to-be Senate President Vicente Sotto III?
Yes. According to Senator Panfilo Lacson, there seems to be an agreement between Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Majority Leader Sotto for term sharing in the 17th Congress.
Like Pimentel, Sotto is a staunch ally of President Rodrigo Duterte. At present, he is the most senior among all senators and has more core allies in the chamber than Pimentel, whose only party mate is neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao. (READ: Tito Sotto and the blurry lines of showbiz, politics)
"I understand that there's already an agreement or understanding between Senator Sotto and Senator Pimentel pero kung kailan ie-execute, o i-implement (but when it will be executed or implemented), we don't know," Lacson told reporters in a press conference on Thursday, May 3.
"Knowing Senate President Pimentel, hindi naman siya magbabago sa gano'ng klaseng usapan (he won't change his mind in that kind of agreement)."
In a text message to reporters on Thursday, Pimentel said there is "no agreement." However, he added: "But will talk to Senator Sotto immediately upon [my] arrival [from Europe]. Then hold majority caucus."
Pimentel also earlier said he is ready to vacate the post once the required 13 votes are reached.
As far as Lacson knows, the leadership change could happen either in July this year or, at the latest, in October, during the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs).
Pimentel earlier told Rappler he might resign from the top Senate post to focus on his reelection in 2019. Pimentel is also the president of the ruling party, PDP-Laban.
"In the first place, Senate President Pimentel will file his certificate of candidacy in October, so it's either in June or July when we come back after sine die or maybe October at the latest," Lacson said in a mix of English and Filipino.
When the Senate leadership changes, the committee chairmanships and memberships usually follow. But at this point, Lacson can't tell yet if other posts would be affected.
Sotto previously said he is "open" to the top post if it would be given to him.
"Sino naman ako para tumanggi (Who am I to refuse)?" he said back then.
Sotto also said on Thursday, "I will humbly accept leadership chores that my colleagues will entrust with me."
The 2nd regular session of the 17th Congress is currently on break until May 13. It is set to resume on May 14 until it adjourns sine die on June 2.
It will then resume session in the 3rd week of July, in time for President Rodrigo Duterte's 3rd State of the Nation Address and for the opening of the 3rd and last regular session of the 17th Congress. – Rappler.com
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