Trillanes: Cayetano behind ‘oust Koko’ plot

SUPALPAL - Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV bared yesterday his suspicion that a group led by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is planning to unseat Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III from his post.

Trillanes told CNN Philippines that the grumblings everyone has been hearing in the Senate about a possible change in leadership are coming from the group allied with Cayetano.

The group is composed of Sens. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Joseph Victor Ejercito and Richard Gordon, who all initially supported Cayetano in his bid for the Senate presidency. Another senator who committed to support Cayetano at the time was Cynthia Villar.

“If you’re going to question loyalties, remember Senator Gordon didn’t want Senator Koko Pimentel to be Senate President. Until eventually they found out he already had the majority. They were voting for Senator Cayetano. And I suspect that all of these so-called grumblings are emanating from the senators aligned with Senator Cayetano,” Trillanes said.

“Probably Cayetano is making a move to topple Senator Pimentel as Senate president so that’s just a speculation,” he added.

Asked about the basis for his claims, Trillanes said that it was the “pattern of behavior” being displayed by this group of senators over the past few days.

He cited the statements made by Ejercito against the Liberal Party bloc and its allies, who he said should transfer to the minority because of the positions they have been taking on some key issues.

Trillanes then cited the move of Zubiri to block the referral of the investigation on the inquiry into corruption in the Bureau of Immigration to the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Reorganization, which he heads.

Just the other day Gordon also urged the LP bloc to move to the Senate minority because they have consistently been taking a stand against issues related to the administration.

“I wasn’t born yesterday and i’m not a hardcore politician but I can read these things,” Trillanes said.

Pimentel, in a separate interview over the same network, said that he has not heard any of the grumblings but was not at all concerned about losing or keeping his post.

He said that Trillanes’ suspicions were just based on his own analysis because he has not seen or heard of any movements from his colleagues. 

“If it’s time to go, it’s time to go. What I am doing is while I am Senate president, I will do my best and hope and pray that my constituents, and by this I mean the people who voted for me, the senators, will still be happy with my continued leadership,” Pimentel said.

However, Pimentel said that it is not at all unusual for a big group such as the 21-member super majority in the Senate to develop some factions.

Pimentel said that he does not mind the creation of these factions as long as the concerned senators do not lose their focus on the legislative agenda agreed upon among themselves.

With regard to the claim of Trillanes that Cayetano was behind the supposed moves to oust him, Pimentel said that it does not make a lot of sense considering that Cayetano appears to be bound for the executive branch as the next secretary of foreign affairs.

Pimentel pointed out that Cayetano has not been attending the plenary sessions of the Senate because he has been busy with the international activities of President Duterte.

“So it is difficult to think that someone like him still has a strong interest in the institution when he has not even been around,” Pimentel said, adding that Cayetano’s travels with the President were with the permission of the Senate.




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