Drilon, Kiko LP bets for Senate chief

May 17, 2010

Aurea Calica
Philippine Star
May 18, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – The Liberal Party (LP) will field either former Senate president Franklin Drilon or Sen. Francis Pangilinan for Senate president while it is also strengthening the party’s ranks in the House of Representatives.

LP campaign manager Florencio Abad made the disclosure as Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., who ran for president under the Nacionalista Party (NP), was reported to be eyeing his old post as Senate president after he lost in the May 10 elections.

Drilon said in a text message that the LP would field only one candidate for Senate president.

“The party will decide shortly who it will field,” Drilon said.

Pangilinan said he was ready to take on the job if he would get the support of the LP senators along with other colleagues willing to help LP standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III succeed as president.

“What is important is that we have a Senate that will be an able partner of the president in pushing for the changes that our people seek to be realized when they voted for Noynoy in this landslide victory,” Pangilinan said.

“We owe it to our people to fulfill their hopes for change and reforms by helping Noynoy succeed in ending pervasive corruption and widespread poverty. A supportive Senate is critical if Noynoy is to succeed. Now more than ever, we need a strong and working unity between Congress and the president to move our nation towards a new and progressive direction,” Pangilinan said.

Abad said the Senate has a different set of dynamics and was less predictable than the House.

He said the LP is still trying to forge partnerships and coalitions with members of the other parties to clinch the Senate and House leaderships.

Abad said Quezon City Mayor Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, who is incoming congressman of the city’s fourth district, had started consolidating support for his bid for speaker.

Abad disclosed they have been talking with members of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, the NP and the Nationalist People’s Coalition and were confident that an LP bet would get the House’s top post.

He said though they were still lacking in numbers at the moment, history had shown that members of the House tend to gravitate to the new president because of the vast powers of the chief executive.

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