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Sotto’s back gets pat

Hananeel Bordey



The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) will not insist on a party member to lead the Senate in the 18th Congress unlike in the House of Representatives where a stalwart received full support as Speaker, since Senate President Vicente Sotto III is a happy compromise.

This was Senator Manny Pacquiao’s stance after Taguig Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano argued that if PDP wanted a Speaker from the ruling party, the same process should apply in the Senate.

In a media briefing, yesterday morning, Pacquiao said PDP is happy with Sotto’s leadership that is very supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda.

“You know the Senate is different from the House since we are happy with the Senate President and we have no problem in all the pursuits of the President, for our nation,” Pacquiao said.
“We should not talk about party affiliation but the support to the welfare of Filipinos and progress of the nation,” he added.

Undercurrents felt

Recently, talks of a change in leadership in the Senate grew louder after Senator-elect Francis Tolentino tried to push reelected Senator Cynthia Villar as an alternative.

Villar, who is a Nacionalista Party member, was in Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP) slate along with Tolentino in the last elections. HNP is a line-up endorsed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

She also refused to sign a manifesto that indicated support to Sotto but explained her refusal was not because she wanted the post.

The lawmaker even confronted Pacquiao and former Senate President Koko Pimentel to tell them to stop involving her into their rift over the Senate Presidency.

Different configurations

“They were asking me to sign. I told them, Manny, fix your own party first before signing a document. You might be affixing your signature carelessly,” Villar said in a previous interview.

She further explained that she can’t sign because there were newcomers from her party, Senators-elect Pia Cayetano and Imee Marcos, who have issues that needed to be settled first.

In some reports, Tolentino floated the possibility of forming an HnP bloc in the chamber after majority of them won the 2019 elections.

However, veteran Senator Panfilo Lacson said in a radio interview that Tolentino as a new comer is not the right person to judge Sotto’s leadership.