July 25, 2010
MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has withdrawn from the Senate Presidency race after failing to secure the needed 13 votes to clinch the chamber’s top post.
The Liberal Party senator said such move aims to restore unity in the Upper House.
“Much as I would like to go down fighting I realize that to continue with my bid would keep the Senate fragmented and disunited. The disunity must now end. I believe I can make it happen by voluntarily stepping aside,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
He said that he withdrew from the race after he realized that “there are political realities and developments that prevent us from securing the needed 13 votes resulting in a deadlock or stalemate.”
He said that such disunity in the Senate is a disservice to Filipinos because it shows “political maneuvering and posturing.”
He continued: “The inability of a majority in the Senate to unite behind one leader does not speak well of the Senate and the individual senators. Sa halip na pagkaka-isa ay nagkakanya-kanya. This does not serve the national interest.”
Pangilinan hopes that his withdrawal will allow his colleagues to choose a leader who can unite them.
“Our people in the last elections expressed in no uncertain terms their desire for genuine change. The first order of business for the Senate in order to do its job is to be able to achieve unity. With my withdrawal I am hopeful we can help to make it happen.”
Pangilinan shared that he decided to withdraw after prayers, reflection and consultations with family members and Senate allies.
“It has been very difficult experience for me and my family but if I had to do this all over again for the cause of genuine change and reforms for our nation, I would. We fought a good fight,” he said.
Enrile to retain post?
The vote for the Senate Presidency is set on Monday during the Senate’s opening session.
Still in the running for the Senate Presidency are Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Manuel “Manny” Villar.
Enrile has reportedly gotten the support of Villar and his allies to retain him as Senate President.
The veteran senator got the news of Villar’s reported support from Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan on Friday.
“In principle, I am willing to serve as Senate President again if I have the vote and support of my colleagues in the Senate,” Enrile said.
Enrile, who said he signed a resolution supporting Pangilinan’s bid, earlier gave Pangilinan until Saturday afternoon to show him that he has mustered the 13 votes needed to secure the Senate Presidency. – With reports from ANC and Israel Malasa, ABS-CBN News
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