MANILA, Philippines - Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada on Wednesday said Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has already secured 10 votes for the Senate presidency.
Estrada said that with 10 senators signing a resolution of support for Pangilinan, the Liberal Party (LP) candidate would most likely win the Senate presidency.
"I think Senator Pangilinan will win the Senate presidency... Ten senators have signed the resolution, I already signed the resolution for Senator Pangilinan," Estrada told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
If Pangilinan wins the Senate presidency, Sen. Manuel "Manny" Villar of the Nacionalista Party would be losing twice in a race against an LP member.
Villar lost to LP's Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III in the May 10 presidential election.
Estrada said that Pangilinan would most likely get the 3 more needed votes with the endorsement of President Aquino.
"Malaking tulong iyan. Siyempre presidente iyan at malaking impluwensya. Galing siya sa senado at lahat kami kakilala ni Noynoy (It's a big help. He has a great influence [at the Senate] because he is the president. He came from the Senate and Noynoy knows all of us)," the senator said.
The sure votes for Pangilinan would come from his partymates Senators Franklin Drilon, Teofisto "TG" Guingona III and Ralph Recto.
Aside from Estrada, the LP also banks on the support of its "natural allies" at the Senate including Senators Serge Osmeña and Francis "Chiz" Escudero.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is also almost sure of supporting Pangilinan. Enrile is Estrada's partymate and both have clashed against Villar during the elections.
Meanwhile, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago had told reporters at the Senate that Villar has already secured 13 votes for the Senate presidency.
Senator Edgardo Angara has also told ABS-CBN News that Villar may already have the edge "because he was first to talk to our colleagues."
Angara, however, said that his group, which is considered as "the deciding block" would not make a decision until Pangilinan has talked to them.
The other members of the so-called deciding block are Senators Miguel Zubiri, Loren Legarda, Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, Manuel "Lito" Lapid, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and Vicente "Tito" Sotto III.
Legarda, however, is seen to support Villar, her runningmate in the May 10 elections.
Villar's known allies in the Senate are Santiago, Pia and Alan Peter Cayetano, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Joker Arroyo.