Kiko: LP could tap allies to bag Senate presidency

June 11, 2010

Amita O. Legaspi
June 11, 2010

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan estimates that the Liberal Party could get 12 votes in the Senate — only one vote short of the 13 needed to secure the Senate presidency.

In a weekly news forum at the Senate, Pangilinan said the LP could be considered as a minority as it only has four members in the chamber but they could tap their potential allies in helping them get the top post.

The senator earlier said that a friendly Senate is essential to the administration of President-elect Benigno Aquino III, and thus offered himself to be the LP’s candidate for the Senate presidency. (See: Pangilinan makes himself available for Senate Presidency)

The LP members in the Senate in the 15th Congress, aside from Pangilinan, are returning Senators Franklin Drilon and Ralph Recto and neophyte Senator Teofisto Guingona III.

Drilon is also reportedly eyeing the Senate top post.

Pangilinan said among the LP’s natural allies were incumbent Senator Francis Escudero and incoming senator Sergio Osmeña III, who both supported the candidacy of Aquino.

Osmeña, in a text message to GMANews.TV, said if Pangilinan is the candidate, “regardless of his party, I will support him.” Escudero, on the other hand, did not answer text messages and calls on the matter.

Pangilinan also said he believes the LP can work on persuading Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, “after all he was endorsed by Kris (Aquino).”

He is also hopeful of getting the support of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate ProTempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Senators Edgardo Angara and Gregorio Honasan II, who have said on various occasions that they are willing to work and help President-elect Aquino.

He also had a talk with Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.

“Nothing definite from Sen. Angara. We have also spoken separately with Sen. Migs Zubiri. We have also spoken with Jinggoy, JPE (Enrile’s initials). We continue to try and work in reaching 13 so we can build a strong majority,” Pangilinan said.

“Everything is up in the air although we are continuing having dialogues, discuss, explore with different senators,” he added.

The vote of at least 13 senators is needed to elect a Senate President. Under the Constitution, the chamber has 24 members but in the present set up, there will only be 23 as Aquino, who has a mandate as a senator until 2013, will vacate his seat to assume the Presidency on June 30.

Pangilinan believed the LP would finally be able focus its attention on who it will field to become the next Senate President.

He said the party’s concern over the last few weeks were the canvassing of votes and proclamation so they were not able to discuss the Senate presidency.

“Nakatutok lang kasi sa proclamation, ngayong tapos na ang proclamation magkakaroon na ng oras na talakayin ito,” he said.

He said they will be having a meeting next week to discuss the matter with Florencio “Butch” Abad, LP’s campaign manager.

“Sometime or early next week (ang meeting) kasi si Butch Abad is abroad, and kasama siya dun sa process nung pagpapasya,” Pangilinan said.

He added there have been consultations, meetings and discussions on the matter in the past weeks. “In the end, you will see that there’s only one candidate from the Liberal Party for the position of Senate President.”

He said they are undergoing three layers of conflict resolution, first between him and Drilon, second, among the LP members in the Senate and, third among the senators who would choose the Senate President.

Asked if Aquino will be helping them resolve the issue, Pangilinan said the President-elect would want them to make the decision without him dipping his hands on the matter.

View oriinal post on GMANews.TV