Enrile ready to surrender Senate post to Drilon

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060812_budget01Senator Franklin Drilon has been the given the go-ahead by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to talk to Enrile’s allies regarding possible changes in the Senate leadership.
Drilon said in a statement on Friday he and Enrile met last Thursday in a hotel in Makati City to discuss matters relating to the Senate leadership and the role of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the 16th Congress.
Enrile is widely believed to give up his post when the Senate resumes session, and Drilon looms as his likely replacement.
Drilon said Enrile has allowed him to seek the support of senators who are with Enrile’s camp so that they can work together on key measures.
Drilon was referring to Senate president pro tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd and Sen. Gregorio Honasan.
Drilon said Enrile assured him that the UNA will not be a “roadblock” to the legislative agenda of the administration but will take on the role of a constructive opposition.

Enrile, considered to be the UNA’s point man in the Senate, will be joined by two other newcomers who are his partymates—Jose Victor Ejercito Estrada and Nancy Binay.

Honasan said he didn’t know about the meeting between Enrile and Drilon. Neither has he talked to Enrile or Drilon about the Senate leadership.

The Manila Times tried but reach Enrile’s other allies for their reaction but could not get to them.

The Nacionalista Party (NP) of the Sen. Manny Villar earlier assured Drilon the NP would stay with the administration coalition and agreed to put up a common candidate for Senate president.

The NP has always been regarded as a crucial bloc in the chamber, having five of its members in the Senate.

Villar is ending his term and will be replaced by his wife, Senator elect Cynthia Villar.

Other NP senators in the 16th Congress are siblings Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Antonio Trillanes 4th.

The other winning senatorial bets in the May elections are Grace Poe, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th and Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.

Escudero, Angara, Aquino, Pimentel and Trillanes have already said they will support the Senate presidency bid of Drilon.

Drilon, who was the campaign manager of the LP-led coalition Team PNoy, said in an earlier television interview he is willing to assume the top Senate post in order to continue the reforms begun by President Benigno Aquino 3rd three years ago.

Among the priorities of the next Congress are the new charter that will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the rationalization of the government’s fiscal incentive program and the  mining law.

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