'Imbento siguro'? Sotto says no talk of ousting Pangilinan from Senate charter panel

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 02:46 PM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday belied talk that opposition Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan would be ousted as chair of the chamber’s Committee on Constitutional Amendments.

The hashtag #OustKiko trended on Twitter Wednesday morning after the senator’s daughter, Frankie, alleged that a group on Facebook is trying to push for charter change by removing the minority lawmaker from the helm of the charter panel.

"I'm the SP (Senate President) and I have never heard of such," Sotto told reporters in a text message when asked for comment.

"Baka imbento... Mabuti pa sila, dami nilang alam," he said, without mentioning names.

(It might have been invented... They know more than I do.)

Under Senate rules, majority members are allowed to pick which committees they want to chair first, before minority senators can choose the panels they want to head.

The Senate leadership is usually notified first if there are changes in committee chairmanships.

Pangilinan said that he is ready to vacate the post only if the Senate leadership would ask him to, and not because of trolls.

"I am ready to give up the post anytime if asked by the Senate leadership but certainly not because of the 'clamor' of paid online trolls," Pangilinan told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon dismissed the #OustKiko plot as a "feeble effort by the one managing the troll farm to amend the Constitution."

Constitutional amendments have been among targets of the Duterte administration, with moves to shift the country's form of government to federalism. 

The President later said it was okay if federalism may not happen within his term, but added that the 1987 Constitution must be changed.