Pangilinan eyes Senate presidency

May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010
Virgil Lopez
Sun Star Manila

SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said he is joining the race for the Senate presidency, pending endorsement from the Liberal Party who reportedly picked Senator-elect Franklin Drilon for the post.

Pangilinan said he is more than willing to lead the Senate to reflect a strong partnership in dealing the country’s problems between President-apparent Noynoy Aquino and the Upper House.

“Naniniwala ako na dahil ang kagustuhan ng taumbayan ay mapunta ang Pilipinas sa bagong direksyon, dapat siguro sa Senate presidency race ganun din,” he said in a radio interview.

Last week, the Liberal Party (LP) unanimously selected Quezon City congressman-elect Sonny Belmonte for speakership with Drilon anointed to regain the position he held in the Senate from 2001 to 2006.

Senators Manny Villar and incumbent Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile will be the strongest contender for the post, according to Pangilinan.

“These are just my plain assumptions of who will fight for the post,” he said.

The 15th Congress will open its first regular session on July 26, where the new president is expected to deliver his first State of the Nation Address (Sona).

When asked if he is willing to coalesce with the senators allied with the rival Nacionalista Party of Villar, Pangilinan said the LP should make strides to reach out and form a unity.

“Well, for me, as long as they are willing to support for the success of the government of incoming president Noynoy, then we are open to talk with them,” he said.

“It is imperative for the LP to reach out and strengthen the greater unity behind Senator Aquino. Our country is facing deep problems and we cannot move forward if we don’t have greater unity among ourselves,” Pangilinan explained.

There are only four LP members in the incoming Senate, namely: Pangilinan, Drilon, and Senator-elects Ralph Recto and Teofisto “TG” Guingona III.

Earlier on his concession speech, Villar said he is willing to work with his fiercest rival in the presidential elections.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago earlier surmised that Villar will be reelected as Senate President due to the intact line-up of his allies.

Aside from Defensor-Santiago, reelected Senator Lito Lapid has thrown support to Villar in a television interview last Saturday.

With the new Senate composition, those who are perceived to ally with the billionaire lawmaker are Senators Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., siblings Pia and Alan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda and Bong Revilla.

A candidate should muster at least a simple majority of the 23 senators, or equivalent to 13 votes.

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