Kiko needs one more vote

June 17, 2010

Hannah L. Torregoza
Manila Bulletin
June 17, 2010

Liberal Party (LP) Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan is one vote short of capturing the Senate presidency in the 15th Congress, a senior colleague in the Senate said on Thursday.

Incumbent Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Pangilinan has the numbers to be the next chief of the Senate, downplaying insinuations made by allies of Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. that they already have the numbers to install the former Senate leader back into the position.

As this developed, a supposed list of 12 senators affirming their support for Pangilinan’s Senate presidency bid has started circulating.

Pangilinan is included in the list together with Enrile, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Francis Escudero, Sergio “Serge” Osmena III, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan, and detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

In a text message, Pangilinan, however, would neither confirm nor deny the list.

“We will neither confirm nor deny that. Maraming listahan na binubuo ngayon sa pagitan ng mga senador. Maaring isa lamang yan sa maraming listahan,” Pangilinan said.

Interviewed over radio DWIZ, Enrile said he has given his “verbal commitment” to back the Liberal Party’s candidate for Senate president.

“Yes, I made a verbal commitment, I will join them. I will not join the former Senate president, because I am not a hypocrite. I stand by what I said. Walang personalan (no personal feelings involved),” Enrile said in the vernacular.

Enrile said he is certain that Lacson would be back and would eventually join the Liberal Party since he has vouched for President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s presidential bid.

Lacson has gone into hiding after murder charges were filed against him for the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.

On the other hand, Enrile said he believes Trillanes would back Pangilinan’s bid should the local courts finally grant the Senate’s resolution for the detained senator to be allowed to participate in sessions through teleconferencing.

When asked about Drilon, Enrile said the senator-elect is having difficulty securing the vote of Sen. Osmeña who is also a member of the Liberal Party.

Both Pangilinan, Drilon, and Villar are being eyed as the next Senate President. As far as he is concerned, Enrile said Villar has only six senators on his side.

Villar is perceived to have the support of Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Joker Arroyo, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Sen. Loren Legarda, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Manuel “Lito” Lapid.

Earlier, Santiago disclosed that she has signed a draft resolution supporting VIllar’s bid to be the next Senate president.

Senator Edgardo Angara also said his seven-member bloc would also decide whom they would put up for the Senate leadership.

Enrile said his own bloc, composed of four members, would take a united stand on who they would field as the next head of the Senate.

“Kami naman sa grupo namin, all for one and one for all kaming apat, eh. Ngayon, kung sasama kami sa Liberal Party, 11 kami,” Enrile said.

Enrile said it is inevitable that Senators Angara and Juan Miguel Zubiri would later join their group bringing the numbers to 13.

The presidency of the Senate is decided by at least 13 votes of the majority of its members.

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