Kris backing Kiko as Senate head

June 18, 2010

Christina Mendez  
The Philippine Star
June 18, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis Pangilinan of the Liberal Party is gaining headway in the race for the Senate presidency after the sister of president-elect Benigno Aquino III, Kris Aquino-Yap, approached some senators to vote for him, sources said.

Pangilinan supposedly has the support of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, and Senators Francis Escudero, Sergio Osmeña III, Vicente Sotto III, TG Guingona, Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Sources said Aquino-Yap herself called some senators to gather support for Pangilinan, who supported Aquino’s presidential campaign.

Including himself, Pangilinan now supposedly has the support of 12 senators. He needs one more vote to be installed as Senate president.

In an interview with dwIZ, Enrile said he has made a verbal commitment to support Pangilinan. He said retaining the Senate presidency “remains a faraway dream” for him.

He said Lacson, who has gone into hiding, and Trillanes, who is detained, will support Pangilinan if they are allowed to vote. Enrile believes Lacson will come out of hiding to clear his name and participate in the election.

“I believe Ping (Lacson) will return, and when he does, he will not join (Manuel) Villar’s group,” he said.

Enrile said only Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Joker Arroyo, Alan Cayetano and his sister Pia, and Bongbong Marcos support Villar.

He said even if Senators Loren Legarda, Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid are expected to support Villar, they are unpredictable.

Enrile is optimistic that Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Sen. Edgardo Angara will support a Senate led by the Liberal Party.

Early this week, Santiago said Villar has the number of votes needed to be Senate president.

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