Drilon concedes to ‘Kiko’

July 2, 2010

Kris Bayos and Rolly Carandang
Manila Bulletin
July 2, 2010

LP fielding Pangilinan for Senate President


The Liberal Party (LP) announced on Friday that Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan will be its candidate for Senate President after Senator Franklin Drilon conceded in his favor.

LP President and former Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas said Pangilinan was chosen after a month-long consensus-building process among four LP senators, including Teofisto Guingona III and Ralph Recto, party leaders, and President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, in his capacity as a member of the party.

“There was a fundamental agreement between Senator Pangilinan and Senator Drilon that whoever among them was chosen by the party, none of them will desert us. Walang iwanan,” he said.

In a press conference at the LP headquarters in Quezon City on Friday, Drilon stressed that he did not find it difficult to arrive at the decision because of party unity.

“More than the position, what is important is to be able to push and support the legislative agenda of President Aquino. Everything else is secondary that’s why the rest of us transcended personal ambitions just to ensure party unity behind the President,” Drilon

Despite this, it is still a long way for Pangilinan to bag the Senate presidency as he still needs the majority’s support as required by the rules.

But Pangilinan thanked Drilon for giving way to his bid. He said Drilon’s decision will make it easier for him to get the support of other senators and come up with the majority coalition.

“In the initial talks, it was difficult for me to get their nod because we haven’t decided on who to officially field for the Senate presidency. But because of this development, we are confident that consultations with other senators will be clear cut,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and other three or four natural allies of President Aquino are set to coalesce with the four LP senators. As LP’s bet for the Senate presidency, Pangilinan should get at least 13 senators to back his bid.

But despite the challenge of coming up with the “Magic 13,” Pangilinan said he hasn’t talked to anybody from the Nacionalista Party, which he believes is fielding Senator Manuel Villar Jr. for the most coveted post. He added that with Villar’s perceived plan for reelection, the race to the Senate Presidency will be a two-cornered fight.

Pangilinan said he does not intend to negotiate with Villar to concede, adding that “we can’t stop him (from running), but he can change his mind. But if you ask me if I’ll talk to him to get his support, I don’t think so.”

With the looming ascension of Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte as Speaker of the House, Pangilinan said that if he becomes Senate President, the Upper Chamber will maintain its independence as a part of the legislature.

“The Senate is a collegial body. As a Senate President, I will have to persuade my colleagues to share my visions for an activist Senate that is willing to experiment, take risks, and be creative in finding solutions to problems. My track record of being independent minded will speak well of the leadership I am offering,” Pangilinan added.

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