'Not my calling': Villar doesn't want to be Senate president

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2019 08:08 AM | Updated as of May 16 2019 12:37 PM

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MANILA - Reelectionist Sen. Cynthia Villar, who is on course to top the 2019 senatorial elections, said Thursday she will "most probably" reject possible nominations to be Senate President, which she said was "perhaps not my calling." 

Villar had 24,913,442 votes as of 5:26 a.m., with nearly 98 percent of results counted, based on data from the Commission on Elections transparency server. Her fellow reelectionist Sen. Grace Poe was in second place with 21,122,345 votes. 

Asked if she is gunning to become leader of the Senate, the 68-year-old Villar said: "Hindi (no). I'll go back to the Senate committee on agriculture and food, and environment and natural resources." 

"'Pag ikaw ang nasa committee... matutulungan mo iyung mga stakeholder ng mga committee na iyun. It's a matter of priority. Nagustuhan nila (voters) ako because of my work in agriculture and environment so I'll go back to that," she told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda." 

(When you're in a committee, you can help the stake holders of hat committee... The voters liked me because of my work in agriculture and environment so I'll go back to that.) 

She said she will "most probably" reject nominations to become Senate President, adding "parang hindi iyun ang calling ko." 

(It does not seem to be my calling.) 

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto needs the vote of at least 13 colleagues to retain his post as leader of the upper chamber after the election. 

He backed the reelection bid of Senators Villar, Poe, Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and Bam Aquino.

Re-electionist senator Cynthia Villar takes the stage during a campaign sortie in Barangay Bagong Silang in Caloocan on May 3, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

2022 PLANS 

Villar, whose husband, Manuel Villar, lost in the 2010 presidential elections, earlier told ABS-CBN News that she was leaving her political future to "destiny."

"'Pag first time [tumakbo], destiny na iyun, hindi na iyun pinagbabalakan. 'Pag sa 'yo, sa iyo 'yun, hindi na dapat pagbalakan," she told Umagang Kay Ganda. 

(If you run for the first time, that's destiny, you don't plan for that. If it's for you, it's yours -- it shouldn't be planned for.) 

Topping the senatorial elections is a traditional springboard for higher office. Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo topped the 1995 senatorial elections. Her vice president, Noli de Castro, led the 2001 Senate vote. 

Poe, the topnotcher of the 2013 senatorial elections, lost to President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 despite leading in pre-election surveys. 
 
Villar suited up for the Senate campaign as "Mrs. Hanepbuhay," a successful mother and entrepreneur. The Villar family controls property giant Vista Land. 

The President's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, chairperson of regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, backed her reelection. 

"The manner I did the campaign siguro led me to become number 1. Of course, sinuportahan tayo ng administration, siguro additional help iyun," said Villar. 

(The manner I did the campaign probably led me to become number 1. Of course, we were also supported the administration, that may have been an additional help.) 

Click here for ABS-CBN's election results.