Senate presidency: Kiko says he has the numbers

June 19, 2010

Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
June 19, 2010

MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Francis Pangilinan of the Liberal Party said Friday he was “very optimistic” that he would be able to get the support of 13 senators he needed to clinch the Senate presidency.

Interviewed over dwIZ radio, Pangilinan said that after holding talks with colleagues in the Senate, he found out that whether or not senators supported his party mate, President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, they recognized that the latter won a landslide victory and that the people had decided to make him the country’s leader.

“And that’s why I am confident and very optimistic because of what had happened and this big support for Noynoy, I would earn the trust of at least 13 senators,” he said.

Pangilinan declined to identify who was supporting him, going only as far as saying that he had gotten the “commitment” of some senators.

Kris factor

He also did not want to comment on reports that Aquino’s sister, television host Kris Aquino-Yap, was supporting his Senate presidential bid, insisting at one point that he wanted to keep private whatever they talked about.

Pangilinan said that the Liberal Party and the groups that it planned to have as allies had not made a decision on who between him and Sen. Franklin Drilon they would put up as candidate for the Senate presidency.

Asked to comment on a statement by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that Drilon would have a problem in getting support from Sen. Serge Osmeña and that this would be considered by the party in determining who it would field, Pangilinan said, “This and other factors will come into play definitely.”

Enrile had said he would support Pangilinan in the race.

“There are many factors (to consider) for or against Frank and myself,” he said, adding that he thought he and Drilon were “qualified” and “deserving” to become Senate president.

Lucky 13

But what was important, he said, was that after one of them had been chosen as the party’s candidate, the other will lend his support.

“We’re both qualified and deserving of the post, but in the end the bottom line there is who can get 13 (votes) or more,” he said.

Aside from Pangilinan and Drilon, Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., will also contest the top Senate post.

Senate Majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has said the two groups vying for the Senate presidency still “do not have the numbers if our group is not with them.”

Zubiri was referring to the bloc headed by Sen. Edgardo Angara composed of himself, Angara, Senators Loren Legarda, Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Lito Lapid.

“Both sides will only have a maximum of 10 senators without our group of five,” Zubiri said in a television show on Wednesday night.

He said the group would be the “swing vote” in the race.

Zubiri also said he heard that the LP might end up asking Pangilinan and Drilon to agree to a term-sharing deal with the former being fielded first.

That was why, he said, the contest was going to be a “Pangilinan-Villar fight.”

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