Angara bloc claims swing vote in fight for Senate presidency

June 24, 2010

Hannah L. Torregoza
Manila Bulletin
June 24, 2010

Senator Edgardo Angara’s five-member bloc in the Senate has yet to decide on whom to support as the next Senate President in the incoming 15th Congress.

At the same time, Angara confirmed that the aspirants to the Senate Presidency have begun talking to his group.

This was also earlier disclosed by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri who is part of Angara’s bloc.

Liberal Party Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, his colleague Senator-elect Franklin Drilon and Sen. Manuel Villar, Jr. are all perceived as eyeing the Senate leadership.

Senators Loren Legarda, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. and Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Jr. also belong to Angara’s group.

Pangilinan’s camp has claimed they have the numbers to back his bid for the Senate’s top seat. A candidate needs at least 13 votes to claim the Senate presidency.

However, Angara debunked that claim, saying his group would be influential in deciding who will be elected Senate President.

But Angara said his bloc will certainly support a Senate President that would pursue an agenda of reform and change.

“We will act jointly and elect whoever presents a genuine and strategic legislative reform agenda for the Senate,” Angara said.

“We want someone who has vision and foresight, and who will prioritize laws that will propel the country’s growth, create jobs and ensure the delivery of basic social services,” he said.

“We will pick someone who will act for the higher interest of our country and the institution of the Senate,” said Angara who is also a former senate president.

Meanwhile, Pangilinan denied there is a rift between him and Senator Franklin Drilon.

Pangilinan had earlier reiterated that the Liberal Party bloc in the Senate is working closely with each other in deciding who to field officially.

He belied claims that there is infighting within the party.

“You don’t hear us slinging mud at each other,” says Pangilinan of his fellow senator, Franklin Drilon.

“Frank and I worked closely together during the electoral campaign.As Senate slate campaign manager, I campaigned heavily for Frank as much as I did for the rest of the LP Senate slate. Frank and I have  been political allies since 2001, and we will remain so even after the SP race is over. There’s no rift between us,” Pangilinan said.

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