MANILA - Several senators allied with the majority bloc on Thursday said Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV's plan to unseat Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III would not prosper.
"Koko will stay as SP. The majority bloc, all 16 of us are solidly supporting his Senate leadership," Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in a tweet.
Lacson said it would be "extremely improbable" to oust Pimentel as Trillanes would need at least 13 votes to elect a new Senate leader.
Senators Manny Pacquiao and JV Ejercito also expressed support for Pimentel.
"Kumpiyansa naman kami sa grupo namin dahil may tiwala naman sa isa’t-isa ang majority," Pacquiao, a fierce administration ally, told Senate reporters.
"Senate President Koko Pimentel has the support of the majority of the senators. No reason for a change in leadership at this time," Ejercito said in a tweet.
Trillanes on Thursday morning said he would "work hard" to oust Pimentel should Sen. Richard Gordon be retained as Blue Ribbon committee chair.
The senator wants Gordon out of the powerful investigative committee saying his handling of hearings had compromised the Senate's independence.
He said he would also file ethics and criminal complaints against Gordon.
Trillanes' latest statements came amid an ongoing tiff with Gordon, which started at a Senate hearing where the two sparred over inviting President Rodrigo Duterte's eldest son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law Manases Carpio after they were linked to illegal activities.
The two eventually appeared at the Senate and denied crime links.
Sought for comment, Pimentel said Trillanes "can go ahead with his plans" as "this is a free country."
Gordon meanwhile said he had no qualms about the ethics and criminal complaints that Trillanes plans to file against him.
But he slammed his Senate colleague for dragging Pimentel's Senate leadership into their spat.
"Talaga namang qualified 'yung tao, bakit idadamay pa niya? Bakit nandadamay siya ng tao? Gumawa siya ng sarili niyang patakaran para makatulong siya sa tao," Gordon said.
-- report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News.