SENATE Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd announced on Thursday that he was quitting his post, citing “exhaustion.”
Sotto’s announcement came a day after Senator Juan Ponce Enrile relinquished his post as Senate leader. Both belong to the so-called “macho” bloc in the Senate, along with Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Senator Gregorio Honasan.
“After I submit my accomplishment report, I will inform the Senate that I’m resigning as Majority Leader at the end of the 15th Congress,” Sotto told reporters.
Asked why he resigned, he said he was “already tired.”
Sotto said he made the decision way before the position is declared vacant when the 16th Congress opens in July.
He said he did not want to be accused of clinging to his post.
Also on Thursday, veteran Senator Loren Legarda rejected an offer by Senate President-in-waiting Franklin Drilon to become Senate Majority Leader.
Legarda, who won her third six-year Senate tenure in the May polls, made the announcement ahead of the surprise resignation of Enrile.
“I am not interested in the [Senate Majority Leader] post. And even if it will be offered to me, I won’t accept it,” she told reporters.
Legarda said that while she served as Senate Majority Leader back from 2001 to 2004, she now prefers to focus on her committee chairmanships.
“I have served as the Senate Majority Leader for three years, and I was able to shepherd the passage of measures into laws. I have been there, so I would let the others have their time. I would give the others who wants it a chance,” she pointed out.
Legarda admitted that the position was offered to her by Drilon.
“Frank talked to me about it, but I told him that I am not interested. I refused not because I don’t like that job, but because I want to focus on the committees. I have learned a lot as the Senate Majority Leader, so I would support anybody who would want to get the post,” she said.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP) said it was still premature to pledge any support for anybody concerning change in the Senate leadership.
“Of course, those who are interested in the Senate leadership are having talks with fellow senators, and the topic is being discussed within respective political party. Each NP senator has a position of his or her own. It is still too early to commit,” Marcos explained.
NP joined the Team PNoy coalition during the 2013 polls. NP’s three bets – Alan Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes 4th and Cynthia Villar — won.
“It is not impossible that the NP members go on separate ways on certain issues,” Marcos said.