MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senate President Franklin Drilon said he is giving up his seat to Senator Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III without “rancor.”
“Yes, I’m giving up my seat. I could have contested it but since the President-elect has the mandate, so we recognize that mandate. Koko Pimentel is the only PDP-Laban (Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan), senator. There’s no one else,” Drilon said.
Pimentel is president of PDP-Laban which is now being chaired by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
“Ah yes, no rancor, no rancor. I didn’t aspire for it,” Drilon said when asked why he was giving up, with open arms, the Senate leadership to Pimentel.
“All that I said was I have to provide stability to the Senate by not contesting it anymore because I have a group of eight. I have six LP (Liberal Party) [senators] supporting me and two allied parties but I said let’s provide stability as early as possible so that on July 25 we hit the ground running because there are a lot of things to do and wrangling for the leadership of the Senate should be settled as early as we can and that’s what we exactly did,” he added.
Drilon, vice president of LP, said that a total of 16 senators — eight LP and allied parties and another eight from the group of Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III — have agreed to support Pimentel as the next Senate leader in the 17th Congress, which will open on July 25.
“In so far as the Senate presidency is concerned, I have with me at least 14 signatures electing Koko Pimentel as Senate President and that can’t be changed unless those who signed will change their minds,” he said.
Asked why they decided to support Pimentel over Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’’s running mate in the May 9 elections, Drilon said: “Each would have his or her own reason but you know, we thought that by way of showing our cooperation, support for President-elect Digong, we elect a partymate.”
Cayetano has also expressed his desire to seek the Senate presidency. (MNS)