THE Senate presidency will be decided by majority members of the chamber, according to outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon.
“We, the senators, elect the Senate President,” Drilon said on Tuesday in a television interview aired over ANC.
He was responding to questions about a supposed meeting between Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and losing vice presidential candidate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on the Senate presidency and if the two have the power to decide who will be the new Senate chief.
“No. You know, it is often said that the Senate presidency is a gift of thirteen senators to whoever is the senator they will elect as Senate President,” Drilon explained.
Cayetano, in a recent interview, said he is still discussing the Senate leadership with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and that the latter has his personal choice.
The senator refused to give up his bid for the chamber’s presidency despite reports that Pimentel already got the support of the “super majority” composed of Drilon and Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd’s blocs.
This was confirmed by Drilon during the interview, saying the Liberal Party (LP) and its allied senators will have eight votes and Sotto also has eight votes and so they already have 16 votes.
Cayetano said he is not in favor of certain Senate committee chairmen, whom he added may hamper Duterte’s anti-crime and anti-drug efforts.
He particularly mentioned the justice and human rights committee, which will be led by Senator-elect Leila de Lima and the public order and dangerous drugs committee, which will be headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Cayetano said the justice and human rights committee should be led by Pimentel.
This means that he wants Pimentel to stay as committee chairman than to be Senate president.
“It is the senators who elect their officers of the Senate, and nobody else,” Drilon said.
On the meeting between Pimentel and Cayetano, he added that two would probably just talk about the agenda in the coming Senate, not the leadership of the chamber.
“Insofar as the Senate presidency is concerned, I have with me at least 14 signatures, electing [Pimentel] as Senate president. That cannot be changed unless those who signed will change their minds,” Drilon said.
Among those who already committed to support Pimentel apart from Sotto and Drilon were de Lima, Lacson and Senators Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay , Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace Poe, Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Pangilinan, Riza Hontiveros and Joel Villanueva.
Incoming Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao is also expected to sign a resolution supporting Pimentel as Senate president even after he signed a resolution supporting Cayeteno’s Senate presidency bid.