MANILA – Senate President Vicente Sotto III has a good chance of retaining the Senate presidency in the upcoming 18th Congress, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday.
At least 14 senators have signed a resolution expressing support for Sotto’s continued stay as Senate President, although 3 of them – Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, and Gregorio Honasan II – will end their term and would no longer be around when the new Congress opens on July 22.
Lacson said the number of senators who will support Sotto will increase as members of ruling party PDP-Laban are also expected to sign the resolution.
“Prior to this, we had a meeting with the PDP-Laban group… and they indicated they would support SP Sotto to continue as SP,” Lacson told reporters.
Three PDP-Laban senators-elect, namely Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Ronald dela Rosa, and Francis Tolentino, are set to join the chamber next month when the new session of Congress opens.
Go has already declared his party would support Sotto. Tolentino, through his brother Rep. Abraham Tolentino, also conveyed his support for the current Senate leader, Lacson said.
The resolution supporting Sotto was read during Monday’s session, putting the manifesto on official Senate records.
Lacson said the same resolution is also expected to be read on the floor when the new Senate opens in July. This will be followed by the election of the Senate President, Senate President Pro Tempore, Senate majority leader and the announcement of who will be the Senate minority leader.
As Sen. Manny Pacquiao solicited support for Sotto, Sen. Cynthia Villar, who is being egged to seek the chamber's leadership, confronted the boxer-turned-lawmaker on the move.
Lacson said there is a possibility that the Senate majority will break up if some of their colleagues insist in challenging Sotto’s leadership.
“It’s a possible scenario… It doesn’t matter. It’s better that you have a mix of those allied with the administration and those who are not. That will result in a more balanced Senate,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Despite the latest developments, Lacson remains hopeful that the seeming crack within the majority bloc will still be mended via tomorrow’s scheduled super majority coalition caucus to be hosted by Pacquiao where committee chairmanships will be one of the main topics.