Senate presidency race: Pangilinan may bag post — Enrile

June 20, 2010

A. M. G. Roa
Business World
June 20, 2010

THE LIBERAL Party (LP) will likely obtain the Senate leadership if it fields Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan, said outgoing Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who has expressed preference for the looming LP bet.

Mr. Enrile, member of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino of defeated presidential bet former president Joseph E. Estrada, said the LP has the support of his group which is composed of Jose “Jinggoy” E. Estrada, Gregorio B. Honasan II and Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III.

“I will support [whoever the LP fields]… I was already approached by Kiko and Frank [Senator Franklin M. Drilon],” Mr. Enrile said in a radio interview yesterday.

Non-LP lawmakers who are likely to vote Mr. Pangilinan, said Mr. Enrile, include Francis Joseph G. Escudero, Sergio “Serge” D. Osmeña III, Antonio F. Trillanes IV and Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson.

“For me, Kiko has the edge. There are four Liberals plus the two [Messrs. Escudero and Osmeña]. That’s six. I assume that Ping will join them when he comes back, so as [Mr.] Trillanes. What I know is that they will file a motion to allow [Mr. Trillanes] to vote. It’s allowed. If that’s the case, then you’ll add our block that’s already 12.”

The number is one person short of the required 13-vote majority to obtain the Senate presidency, Mr. Enrile noted.

Mr. Trillanes has been detained for alleged involvement on attempts by rebel officers to overthrow the government, including the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003 and The Peninsula Manila siege in 2007.

Mr. Lacson, meanwhile, has been abroad since early last year to avoid an impending arrest in relation to a decade-old double murder case. He has said the case was politically motivated.

“If they will pit Frank, Serge may not support him but if they will pit Kiko the six votes will be completed,” he said.

Mr. Enrile admitted he was courted by the camp of Senator Manuel B. Villar who is also allegedly vying for the position, but said he could not throw his support due to opposing stands on a couple of controversial issues during the 14th Congress.

Mr. Villar of the Nacionalista Party lost in the presidential race.

“I can’t join the group of [Mr.] Villar. I already said that before. I had a position opposing him on the C-5 and PSE (Philippine Stock Exchange) issue. I could not [join him and just] eat my words,” he explained.

C-5 refers to a road extension project south of Metro Manila that allegedly benefited the real estate businesses of Mr. Villar, while the PSE issue involved the allegedly undue sale of shares that allowed the defeated presidential bet to earn billions of pesos from the public.
The 15th Congress will begin its session on July 26 to hear the State of the Nation address of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

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