Sotto quits as majority leader

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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 Juan Ponce Enrile stepped down as Senate President. 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.

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He said he did not want to be accused of clinging to his post.

Turned down
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, who was Senate Majority Leader from 2001 to 2004, said 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 said.

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.

Premature
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP) said it was too early to pledge support for anybody interested 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 said.

NP joined the Team PNoy coalition for the May elections, with three of its bets—Alan Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes 4th and Cynthia Villar—winning.

“It is not impossible that the NP members go separate ways on certain issues,” Marcos said.

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