Pangilinan quits Senate chief race

July 25, 2010

Maila Ager
July 25, 2010


MANILA, Philippines—On the eve of the opening of the 15th Congress on Monday, Senator Francis ”Kiko” Pangilinan announced that he is withdrawing from the Senate presidency race, saying that pursuing his bid would only keep the chamber “fragmented and disunited.”

“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 help make it happen by voluntarily stepping aside,” Pangilinan said in a statement on Sunday.

“After prayer and reflection, 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,” he said.

Pangilinan belongs to the Liberal Party, the political group of newly elected President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. The only other LP members in the Senate are Senators Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, and Teofisto Guingona III.

Pangilinan admitted that he could not get the 13 votes needed to get elected Senate president.

“I realize today that there are political realities and developments that prevent us from securing the needed 13 votes resulting in a deadlock or stalemate,” he said.

“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 pagkakaisa ay nagkakanya kanya. This does not serve the national interest. It is a disservice to our people who want to see in our leaders efforts at solving the country’s many problems. Instead they see political maneuvering and posturing,” he added.

Pangilinan thus urged his colleagues in the Senate to set aside their differences and unite, pointing out the Filipinos’ expressed 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 make it happen,” he said.

“It has been a 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,” he added.

Pangilinan’s decision to withdraw from the race also came two days after incumbent Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile declared Thursday that he was willing to keep his post so long as he would be assured of the needed number.

And with a group of senators claiming to have a “growing consensus” for his continued stay in office, Enrile was optimistic that his colleagues pushing for re-election could get at least 14 votes for him.

Aside from Pangilinan and Enrile, Senator Manny Villar was also reportedly eyeing the Senate presidency but the latter until now made no any public pronouncement on this.

Asked who he would now be supporting for the Senate presidency, Pangilinan said, “Abangan.”
With reports from Christine Avendano, PDI

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