SENATORS in the majority bloc said Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th would find it difficult to gather 13 votes to unseat Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd.
Trillanes believes Pimentel’s expulsion as Senate chief would be the easiest way to remove Sen. Richard Gordon as chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee tasked to investigate corruption in government.
The former Navy captain on Thursday accused Gordon of protecting President Rodrigo Duterte, his immediate family members and his allies from being investigated for their alleged corrupt activities.
“Wala siyang numero (He does not have the numbers),” Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd said on Friday in a text message, when sought for reaction on Trillanes’ threat to instigate a revamp in the Senate leadership.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in a tweet on Thursday: “Koko will stay as SP (Senate President). The majority bloc, all 16 of us, are solidly supporting his Senate leadership.”
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri claimed the performance of Pimentel and Gordon would withstand public scrutiny. “They are doing their jobs well and I see no need to replace them,” he said.
Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao said: “Kumpiyansa naman kami sa grupo namin dahil may tiwala naman sa isa’t-isa ang majority (We are confident because we trust each other in the majority).”
Likewise, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said in a tweet: “Senate President Koko Pimentel has the support of the majority of the senators. No reason for a change in leadership at this time.”
‘Very passive leadership’
Trillanes claimed Pimentel’s “very passive” style of leadership allowed Gordon to abuse his position.
“He allowed Gordon’s demeanor. He is going nuts. He thinks he has the blue ribbon committee franchise,” he said.
Trillanes on Thursday claimed the Senate would not be able to conduct an independent and thorough investigation of alleged wrongdoings in the government if Gordon remained head of the blue ribbon panel.
He claimed Gordon’s fellow members in the majority were upset about the way he had handled investigations, such as the probe into the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China and the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
Trillanes claimed during a media forum that some senators were turned off by Gordon’s penchant for monopolizing public hearings.
“The fact that nobody wants to attend his blue ribbon committee hearings anymore is an indication that they have lost interest in participating in the probe because of how it is being run,” Trillanes said.
Aside from Pimentel, Sotto, Lacson, Gordon, Ejercito, Pacquio, and Zubiri, the Senate majority bloc includes Senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Nancy Binay, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan 2nd, Loren Legarda, Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva and Cynthia Villar.
Trillanes’ fellow minority bloc members are Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Risa Hontiveros, and the detained Leila de Lima.