President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that he is “neutral” in the Senate presidency contest serves as an eye-opener to those senators who are yet to join the newly formed majority bloc that supports Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd’s bid for the chamber’s top post.
Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd on Wednesday said Duterte’s pronouncement clearly indicates that he has no intention to intervene in the Senate leadership issue since the two senators who expressed interest in the post are both his friends.
Sotto was referring to Duterte’s statement during a business forum in Davao City on Tuesday that he is “neutral” and that Pimentel and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano should just fight it out.
Duterte’s declaration also debunks reports that the incoming President wants Cayeteno to be the next Senate chief.
Pimentel is the president of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the political party of Duterte while Cayeteno was the latter’s running mate in the May 9 local and national elections.
“I believe that the statement settles the issue. As a matter of fact, it would be an eye- opener to those who have not joined the majority,” Sotto said.
Pimentel reportedly met with the incoming President in Davao City on Monday where he presented a draft Senate resolution signed by the 14 senators who want him to be the next Senate president.
The 14 senators are outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senators Leila de Lima, Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay , Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace Poe, Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Sotto.
“For those who really want to join the majority, this is the best time to join, because it might be too late unless they really want to be in the minority, then so be it,” said Sotto who is the incoming Senate majority leader.
He pointed out that if a member of the Senate is really supportive of the programs of Duterte, he or she should be in the majority.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said he is hoping that Pimentel and Cayeteno would be able to find a compromise regarding the Senate leadership since both of them are supporters of the Duterte.
While Ejercito admitted that he cannot say if Cayeteno still has a chance to be Senate president, he believes that the idea of “term sharing” remains a possibility.
He is yet to decide if he will join the majority bloc of Pimentel or will stay with the group of Cayeteno, although he said he already discussed his position with Pimentel.
The senator is hoping to get the public services committee because it would help him push his advocacy to modernize the country’s rail system.