MANILA, Feb 25 (Mabuhay) – Senator Franklin Drilon denied on Monday that he is earnestly seeking the election of all Liberal Party (LP) senatorial candidates so that he can reclaim the Senate presidency.
“I will not dignify those statements because I am not a candidate [but] they are barking up the wrong tree,” Drilon said in a statement.
He issued the statement after United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said the 12-0 aim of LP is not for President Benigno Aquino III but for Drilon, who had served as Senate president from 2001 to 2006.
“The cat is finally out of the bag. Now we know that the motivation is pure lust for power, and not selfless support for the President,” Tiangco said in a statement over the weekend.
“We also know why Senate President [Juan Ponce] Enrile is being targeted by the LP and their operators. It is in the service of Drilon’s ambition to reclaim the Senate presidency which he held during the Arroyo administration,” he added.
When the 16th Congress opens sessions in late June, Enrile will no longer be the Senate chief since his term would have expired by then. In January, Enrile offered to vacate his post, only to be retained by a vote of majority of his colleagues, Drilon included.
‘Future Senate president’
Tiangco made the assertion after re-electionist Sen. Koko Pimentel, who is running under the LP coalition, last week introduced Drilon as the “future Senate president” during a sortie in Iloilo City.
Drilon, who is the campaign manager of the LP-lead coalition, is from Iloilo. Drilon acts as LP vice chair.
But in his statement, Drilon said they are “more focused on presenting Team PNoy as a team which fully supports President Aquino’s platform of good governance which in turn has resulted in an improved economy and better social and health services.”
“Let’s just move on and instruct what the people are looking for and what this campaign is all about. And this campaign for the Team PNoy is a campaign on good governance. It’s a platform that we should carry on, until the end of the elections,” he said.
He likewise said that it is the members of the 16th Congress who will choose the next Senate president.
“These are the issues in the campaign and the Senate presidency in the 16th Congress is a question that the senators will decide upon as an independent body, since the Senate has been known for its independence by law and by tradition,” he said.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives will elect its officers when it opens session in June. According to the Senate rules, the officers of the Senate shall be elected by the majority vote of all its members.
“Should there be more than one candidate for the same office, a nominal vote shall be taken; otherwise, the elections shall be viva voce or by resolution,” it said.
The Senate president, along with the members of the Senate majority, determines which senators get the committee chairmanships and memberships.
When the 16th Congress opens sessions in late June, Enrile will no longer be the Senate chief since his term would have expired. In January, he offered to vacate his post, only to be retained by a vote of majority of his colleagues, Drilon included. (MNS)