MANILA – Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday said his party PDP-Laban is open to the idea of Senate President Vicente Sotto III remaining at the Senate's helm when the 18th Congress opens in July.
Incumbent senators and presumptive winners in the recently concluded midterm elections earlier agreed to keep Sotto as the Senate President, a post previously held by Pimentel, President Rodrigo Duterte's close ally in the chamber.
Pimentel said his political party has not yet discussed the matter but noted that none among his partymates was aspiring to take the Senate presidency.
“Hindi pa kami nakapag-meeting as a group. But so far, in all honesty, wala naman ni isa na nag-express ng interest to become Senate President,” Pimentel said.
(We've not had a meeting as a group. But so far, in all honesty, none of them has expressed interest to become Senate President.)
Any aspirant would need to muster 13 votes to secure the Senate presidency, Pimentel said.
Pimentel said his 22-month stint as Senate President was more than enough for him.
As for the issue of committee chairmanships, Pimentel said he is more interested to keep the trade and industry panel and let go of the committee on electoral reforms.
“Iba naman, you give chance to others. Pero kung walang kumuha ibalik sa akin,” Pimentel said.
(Let others have it, you give chance to others. But if there are no takers, give it back to me.)
Pimentel, meanwhile, said the situation is different at the House of Representatives, where the PDP-Laban will fight for the speakership.
He is optimistic that the Lower House will be led by a party-mate given the presence of 80 PDP-Laban members in the chamber.
He said the party’s likely bets for the speakership include Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, who was ousted from the speakership last July, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco.
“We will have rules on how to choose, kung sino ang mapili, whoever is chosen. Kung mayroong magre-rebelde (if someone rebels), we will have to keep them out of the party. Istrikto na kami ngayon (We are strict now),” Pimentel said.