14 senators back Sotto as new Senate president


SENATE Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd may replace Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd as head of the chamber next week after majority of senators signed a manifesto, in the form of a Senate resolution, calling for a leadership re-organization, Senate insiders disclosed on Thursday.

According to a source, 14 members of the Senate majority bloc already signed the resolution electing Sotto as the new Senate president.

Section 16, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, mandates the Senate to elect its president by majority vote of all its members.

The chamber at present is composed of 23 senators, its number reduced by one with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano resigning as senator last year upon his appointment as Foreign Affairs secretary.

The source said among those who expressed support to the leadership change were Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Sen. Grace Poe is still out of the country but has expressed her intention to back Sotto’s election as the new Senate chief.

Sotto in an interview on Thursday said a caucus would be called by the majority bloc to discuss the reorganization on Monday.

Another source, however, said since that there was already a sufficient number of senators supporting the move, the resolution could be presented in plenary any day next week to implement the change.

Section 10, Rule VIII of the Rules of the Senate, provides that the term of office of the Senate president shall begin upon his/her election and end when his/her successor has been elected.

Pimentel, in previous interviews, had expressed readiness to step down as Senate president if that is the sentiment of majority of senators.

Another source said Pimentel was hoping that the change in leadership would happen in October when he files his certificate of candidacy for the 2019 polls. Pimentel is seeking reelection.

The source added that Zubiri would likely take the place of Sotto as Senate majority leader, while other positions would remain unchanged.


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