• Koko Pimentel likely to win more backers

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    SENATOR Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd is likely to get two more senators supporting his bid for the Senate presidency after Senator-elect Joel Villanueva said that he will join the Senate majority.

    While Villanueva did not categorically say that he will join Pimentel’s bloc, the incoming senator noted that he is committed to join the majority.

    Fourteen senators earlier signed a resolution manifesting their support for Pimentel as Senate president.

    Villanueva also admitted that he was offered the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Labor by Pimentel and Sen. Alan Peter Cayeteno, who is also eyeing the Senate presidency.

    But Villanueva said he has not given his commitment to either of the two aspirants.

    The incoming senator said his first choice was really to head the Senate Committee on Education, but since it was not offered to him, he will settle for any committee.

    Although he has not yet signed the resolution backing Pimentel, he believes that Pimentel will be the next Senate president based on the number of senators supporting him.

    Aside from Villanueva, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito is also expected to join the majority bloc of Pimentel for him to be given a chance to push for his advocacy on modernizing the country’s railway system.

    Ejercito, in an earlier interview, admitted that he is having difficulties choosing between Pimentel and Cayetano because both are his friends.

    The senator however said that he will likely choose the bloc which he thinks could help him push for his advocacy.

    Asked what Senate committee chairmanship he is hoping to get, Ejercito said he would prefer the Public Services Committee because public transport is one of the matters handled by the panel.

    The Public Services Committee handles all matters affecting public services and utilities; communications; land, air, river and sea transportation including railroads, inter-island navigation and lighthouses; and the grant or amendment of legislative franchises.

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