Either Kiko or Drilon for LP’s Senate president bet

May 18, 2010

Johanna Camille Sisante
May 18, 2010

It will be a toss-up between Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Senator-elect Frank Drilon for the Liberal Party’s bet for the Senate presidency.

Drilon, who had held the post for five years, said the party would decide who to support for Senate President when Congress session begins in July.

“Interesado ako ngunit yan po ay pag-uusapan sa partido kung sino sa amin ni Kiko Pangilinan who has also expressed interest in seeking the highest post in the Senate (I am interested but the party will decide between me and Kiko Pangilinan),” said Drilon, who is also LP chairman.

On Monday, Pangilinan said he was willing to seek the Senate Presidency if he gets the nod of his colleagues in the LP.

“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,” the senator said.

LP standard bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is the prospective winner in the 2010 presidential elections. He currently has a five million-lead over his closest rival, former president Joseph Estrada, based on the partial, unofficial tally of 90.26 percent of the total election returns. [See: Eleksyon 2010 dashboard]

LP spokesman and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III said Drilon and Pangilinan would talk to each other on how they can gather a total of 13 votes to get elected as the chamber’s leader.

“Who among Senator Frank or Senator Kiko gathers 13 votes, including theirs, becomes Senate President. Of course, the elected LP senators’ inputs will play a big part in the process,” Tañada told GMANews.TV in a text message.

Drilon said he would not urge any incumbent or incoming senator to support his possible bid for the Senate presidency until he has obtained the LP’s blessing.

This early, however, a veteran lawmaker who is not an LP member noted his observation that Drilon seems to have an “edge” over Pangilinan.

“Ang advantage ni Franklin sa Liberal Party, nandun na siya for a long time. He was a supporter of Noynoy for a long time and then of course anti the former administration kaya sa madaling salita kung yun lang pag-uusapan palagay ko may edge siya laban dun sa kanyang mga katunggali sa loob ng kanyang partido (Franklin’s advantage is he has been in the Liberal Party for a long time. He was a supporter of Noynoy for a long time and of course, he’s against the former administration so if those will be the only basis, I think he has an edge over his rivals within his party),” said Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who was also previously Senate President.

Aside from Drilon and Pangilinan, LP senators in the incoming 15th Congress are Ralph Recto, Sergio Osmena III, and Teofisto Guingona III.

Whoever the LP fields for Senate president may see a tough rival in Senator Manuel Villar Jr., who has conceded to Aquino in the presidential race and is reported to be eyeing a return as president of the Senate.

“Both Senator Villar and Franklin Drilon are my friends, and si Franklin during his term as Senate president he was fair to all in the same that Manny was also trying to be fair to everyone,” said Pimentel in the same Unang Hirit interview.

“Kung pag-usapan natin yung competence, yung dalawang yun kaya nila ang trabaho (If we’re talking about competence, these two can handle the job),” he added.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago had earlier said Villar Jr., who was ousted as Senate President in November 2008, is likely to regain his post as head of the chamber because of the new alliances he nurtured. [See: Villar likely to become Senate President again, says Miriam]

Among Villar’s allies are Senators Defensor-Santiago, Pia Cayetano, Alan Peter Cayetano, and incoming senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

He is also likely to get the support of his running mate Senator Loren Legarda and Senators Edgardo Angara and Lito Lapid.

Incumbent Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had earlier said that he would not seek the post so his colleagues can have a free hand in choosing their leader.

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