MANILA, June 16 (Mabuhay) – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano’s alleged “dos and donts” in the selection of committee chairmanships was among the reasons majority of his colleagues decided to support another contender for the Senate presidency, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said on Wednesday.
Sotto said he and Senator Gringo Honasan earlier met with Cayetano, who at that time had the support of four senators.
“Pero noong mag-usap kami meron na kaagad syang sinasabi na position na dapat si ganito si ganyan, at meron din syang sinasabi na itong position na ito hindi pwede kay ganyan, hindi pwede kay ganun. Without naming names, ganun yung dating nya,” he said.
“When I went back to the group to tell them about what we talked about, they were not excited about it, they were not happy about that kind of situation so we decided to explore other possibilities, invite other members of the incoming Senate to join the group of nine and were able to invite Koko Pimentel.”
He was referring to Senator Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III, who got the support of at least 14 senators to be the next Senate President in the 17th Congress.
“Koko came to join us in a dialogue and he was very open. The openness of Koko Pimentel was very inviting dahil wala syang dos and donts. He just wanted the ideas, the values, the programs that we wanted to pursue,” Sotto said.
“So pagdating ni Koko Pimentel sa usapan, payag na payag s’ya. He also did not say that he wanted to be Senate President nung nag-usap kami. It just s happened that s’yempre people were thinking na s’ya naman ang party president and he’s still up for it also.”
Pimentel is president of PDP-Laban now chaired by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
After consolidating his group, Sotto said they decided to talk with the group of incumbent Senate President Franklin Drilon, who later agreed to concede the chamber’s leadership to Pimentel.
Drilon also committed his group — composed of six Liberal Party members, including him, and two other allied parties — to join the so-called “super majority” in the next Congress, which will open on July 25.
Asked what Cayetano’s “dos and donts” that did not sit well with his group, Sotto cited for instance the former’s opposition to Senator-elect Panfilo Lacson as head of the Senate committee on public order now headed by Senator Grace Poe.
“Ayaw nilang chairman ng public order si Ping Lacson e tingin namin s’ya ang pinakabagay dun,” he said.
“And then they did not want Senator Loren (Legarda) as chairman of finance. They did not want Senator (Manny) Pacquiao as chairman of games and amusement. I can’t recall the others.”
“They wanted the Senate presidency. They wanted some other committees,” Sotto added.
Sotto said that at that time, Cayetano wanted Senator Cynthia Villar to head the finance committee, which is headed by Legarda.
Cayetano and Villar are both members of former Senator Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party, which recently signed a coalition agreement with Duterte’s PDP-Laban.(MNS)