PANGILINAN SAYS: Aquino’s camp just one vote shy to get Senate presidency

June 10, 2010

Maile Ager
Inquirer.net
June 10, 2010

MANILA, Philippines—President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has 12 “potential allies” in the Senate and needs just one more vote for his camp to elect the upper chamber’s next president, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday said.

Aside from himself, Pangilinan counted the support of three other Liberal Party members: re-elected Senators Franklin Drilon and Ralph Recto, and neophyte Senator Teofisto Guingona III. Pangilinan is eyeing the post.

Returning Senators Sergio Osmeña and Vicente Sotto III, and incumbent Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero are “natural allies” of Aquino, Pangilinan said during a regular forum in the Senate.

Osmeña ran under Aquino’s ticket while Escudero supported Aquino’s presidential bid.

“I’d like to think that we can work on persuading Senator Sotto. After all, he was endorsed also by Kris,” Pangilinan said, referring to Aquino’s showbiz celebrity sister Kris Aquino.

Other potential LP allies in the Senate, Pangilinan said, are Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile, Gregorio Honasan, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Lito Lapid and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

Enrile, Honasan and Estrada have publicly stated their willingness to work and help the President-elect, he said.

But the choice of LP’s bet for the post was still a toss between Pangilinan and Drilon. And LP has announced that whoever gets the 13 votes would be the party’s bet for the Senate presidency.

Thirteen votes are needed to elect the president of the 24-member Senate.

Pangilinan said Aquino was hands-off on the issue, leaving it up to his partymates in the Senate to make the decision.

But if none of any interested candidate for the post could get the number, then Pangilinan raised the possibility of having Enrile as a “compromise” candidate.

“That’s a possibility (electing Enrile) because if the blocs can’t agree, he could become a compromise candidate,” he said.

But Pangilinan said it would also “speak well” of the Senate if Enrile could not muster 13 votes.

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