Francis Earl A. Cueto
The Manila Times
April 4, 2010
FEARING a vacuum in leadership in case of a failure elections, a movement for good governance and ethical leadership floated the name of Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as a credible caretaker. Kaya Natin! leader convenor Harvey Que told The Manila Times in an interview that they believe that with Pangilinan’s credentials and being a veteran in the Senate, he will be a credible caretaker with integrity.
He said that while there are other good leaders such as Senators Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd, Manuel
“Manny” VIllar Jr., Loren Legarda and Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, all of them are running in the 2010 elections.
“If the realignment will push through in case of vacuum due to a failure of election Senator Pangilinan is the most able person. He is not running and he has the experience,” he said.
Que was quick to add though that they are not pushing for a realignment now, but only in cases where the automated elections is declared as a failure.
Que said that Pangilinan possess the leadership qualities and selflessness as shown in the previous party debacle when he opted to slide down from the vice presidential race.
“He is a senior senator in the Senate for nine years, he is a champion of advocacies for youth and education and providing justice,” he said.
“He will be a good Senate President. He will preserve democracy in the country and can be a good caretaker if a failure of elections happens,” he added.
Fears of a vacuum in leadership arose after President Gloria Arroyo filed her certificate of candidacy to run in Pampanga, and that of a failure of elections.
In an event that a failure of elections is declared, there would be no leaders as even Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is seeking reelection.
Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar for his part said he would abide by the decision of senators on the issue of the Senate presidency, which will be left vacant after June 30.
Villar said that while the election of a Senate president is a normal process, it would be better if senators choose a leader whose term will end in 2013.
The election of new Senate President, preferably before the May 10 polls, was sought so that someone will take over as the country’s interim president should the May elections fail and produce no successor to President Arroyo.
The Senate president is third in the succession line in the absence of the president and the vice president.
Under the Constitution, no holdover president is allowed after June 30.
Like President Arroyo, Vice President Noli de Castro and Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr., the term of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will end on June 30.
Enrile, who is running for reelection in May, said earlier that in case of a failure of election, he would call for a joint session of Congress during which he would resign to pave the way for the election of a new Senate president whose term will extend beyond June 30, 2010.
Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Francis Escudero, Edgardo Angara, Villar, Aquino, Legarda,
Alan Peter Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, Pangilinan, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes 4th, will remain in office beyond June 30.
There was a suggestion that senators running for president and vice-president in the May elections should not be included in the selection of the new Senate president.
At present, Villar said he sees no rush to elect a new Senate president because the failure of elections scenario being painted by some sectors was speculative.
“Pero kung may mangyayari na at kakailanganin na maghalal ng isang Senate president na hindi pa tapos ang term, iyan naman ay gagawin ng Senado,” said Villar, who once held the post.
In his previous statement, Villar said any move to change the current leadership in the Senate is a matter “internal” to the chamber’s majority, a coalition backed and assembled by Malacañang.
“They have the numbers to do it. So any rigodon in the Senate is a matter internal to the majority group, which counts among its members some of the leading lights of the ruling party Lakas-Kampi,” Villar said.
Villar assured the people that he and the rest of the minority group in the Senate will continue to be fiscalizers, a role he said they have no intention of giving up no matter who the majority elects as new Senate President.
Villar said it is a numbers game in electing the Senate president, recalling how he himself was toppled from that position in late 2008. He said he paid the price for investigating corruption in high places, including the ZTE bribery case and other big scams in government.
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