Kiko Pangilinan withdraws bid for Senate presidency

July 25, 2010

Kimberly Jane T. Tan
July 25, 2010

A day before the Senate elects a new president, Liberal Party (LP) bet Senator Francis Pangilinan on Sunday withdrew from the race, citing the need for the chamber to unite for the sake of the public.

“After prayer and reflecting, consulting my family and our Senate allies I have decided to withdraw from the race in order to pave the way for the senators to choose another from our ranks who can unite us,” Pangilinan told reporters in a text message early Sunday.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan gave up his bid for the Senate presidency on Sunday, a day before the chamber names its new leader. photo
He said he recognized that he could not secure the 13 votes needed to secure the post, which he attributed to certain “political realities and developments.”

“Sa halip na pagkakaisa ay nagkakanya-kanya (Instead of uniting, the Senate is fragmented). Our people want to see in our leaders efforts at solving the country’s many problems. Instead they see political maneuverings and posturing,” he said.

He did not name the senator who would take his place, saying his decision of “stepping aside” from the race would help unite the Senate.

“Much as I would like to go down fighting, I realize that to continue with my bid would keep the senate fragmented and disunited. This disunity must now end…I believe I can help make it happen by voluntarily stepping aside,” he said.

He said the bid for the senate presidency was “difficult” for him and his family, but that he would do it all over again for the sake of “genuine change and reforms for our nation.”

“I would like to thank our people for their prayers and support. We fought a good fight,” he said.

Pangilinan did not mention whom he will recommend to take his place, “abangan” (watch out for it) he said.

Pangilinan made the announcement after acting Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said that some LP senators had asked him to seek the presidency again because their bet could not get the 13 votes needed to secure the post.

After that, Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Gregorio Honasan, and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III declared that they would vote for Enrile should he decide to seek the presidency once more.

Estrada earlier promised his support for Pangilinan while Honasan and Sotto were undecided. If Enrile competes for the post, he will be up against Senator Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party (NP).

Enrile noted, however, that he will not actively seek the post and will only accept it if 13 senators vote for him.

Pangilinan had secured the votes of fellow LP members Franklin Drilon, Teofisto Guingona III, and Ralph Recto. He also claimed to have the support of Senators Estrada, Sergio Osmena III, Francis Escudero, and detained Antonio Trillanes IV.

On the other hand, Villar has the support of Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pilar Juliana Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Pia Cayetano and Marcos ran under NP in the May 2010 elections.

The undecided include those known to be part of Senator Edgardo Angara’s bloc, which includes Senators Honasan, Sotto, Loren Legarda, Lito Lapid, Ramon Bong Revilla, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Pangilinan said that the “inability” of the majority in the Senate to unite behind one leader “does not speak well” of the chamber and its senators.

“We urge our colleagues in the Senate to set aside our differences and unite. Our people in the last elections expressed in no uncertain terms their desire for genuine change,” he said.

He said the Senate’s “first order of business” should be to do its job and achieve unity. — LBG/VS, GMANews.TV

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