During the celebration of the 115th Independence Day celebration in Kawit, Cavite, Wednesday, Sen. Frank Drilon was introduced by Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya as the next Senate president.
Drilon however said Abaya was just joking.
There are indications however that he has all but clinched the position.
The votes of at least 13 senators are needed to install a new Senate chief when session resumes on July 22, and Drilon has the numbers to back up his bid.
The Liberal Party (LP) bloc will have four senators including Drilon, in the 16th Congress. The Nacionalista Party (NP) of Sen. Manny Villar has five incumbent senators who belong to the LP-led administration coalition.
With nine senators already on his side, Drilon needs at least four senators to get the position.
Team Pnoy coalition members Senators Francis Escudero, Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Juan Edgardo Angara and Grace Poe-Llmanzares also said that they would vote for Drilon.
Senator Loren Lagarda, who is also part of the administration coalition, is also expected to support Drilon, although she has not yet issued any statement formalizing her stand.
Drilon reportedly offered Legarda the post of Senate majority leader, which was vacated by Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd, her partymate in the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), but she declined.
Legarda, who was majority leader from 2002 to 2004 under the Senate presidency of Drilon, said she would rather focus on committee work.
Sen. Serge Osmena 3rd, is not a member of the administration coalition but is a known ally of President Benigno Aquino 3rd and chances are he will also go for Drilon.
Sen. Miriam Santiago, who recently said the Senate presidency will be a contest between Drilon and Alan Peter Cayetano, will likely go for Drilon.
Sen. Lito Lapid, one of the two members of the Lakas party in the Senate, will probably support Drilon’s candidacy.
The seven remaining senators including Ramon Revilla Jr. of Lakas, are likely to join the minority bloc which will be headed by former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.