Drilon said that the new first-term senators have not even worked with Sotto for them to move to replace him as Senate president.
Office of Sen. Franklin Drilon/Released, file
No signature on reso, but Drilon voices support for Sotto as Senate president
(Philstar.com) - June 2, 2019 - 12:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Although the Senate's small minority bloc has no stake in a resolution of support for Senate President Vicente Sotto III, its leader said the bloc has no complaints against the veteran senator.

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, Drilon said that if senators in the minority—himself and Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Leila De Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV—sign the resolution, it would put them in the majority bloc. 

"Having said that, Senator Sotto has led the Senate well. He treats everyone fairly. He is president of the Senate and not just of the majority and he listens to everyone," Drilon, a former Senate president himself, said in English and Filipino.

Trillanes and Aquino will no longer be in the Senate when it meets in July for the 18th Congress. Drilon has indicated that the four remaining members of the minority would stay in the opposition.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson this week circulated a draft resolution of support for Sotto in response to talk of a move to have Sen. Cynthia Villar—wife of Nacionalista Party chief and billionaire Manny Villar—as Senate president. Sen. Villar has said she is not interested in the position but is not ruling it out.

"Depende. Everything — you have to think about when it comes, 'di ba? It doesn't follow that you like it but you have to give it a thought," Villar has said.

'New senators should watch and learn first'

In the same radio interview, Drilon said that first-term senators should focus on learning how work at the Senate is done, adding in Filipino that "changing the leadership of the Senate is not in their mandate."

"Nobody will listen to a neophyte senator who will call to replace Senate President Sotto. That's a reality that a neophyte senator must accept. If they say that they will talk to the senior senators to replace Sotto, unless Senate President Sotto committed a mortal sin, they won't follow the neophyte," Drilon, who has been Senate president four times, said.

He said that the senators-elect are supposed to write and pass laws "and not get into a leadership quarrel at once."

He said the new senators should listen and observe to learn the legislative process. He said the new senators have not even worked with Sen. Sotto so they should not be calling to replace him.

Of the 12 senators elected in the midterm polls last month, former presidential aide Christopher Go, former national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa, former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos are first-termers.

Marcos hinted last week that she would support Villar, a party-mate and who she said has been very good to her.

Tolentino, who is from the administration PDP-Laban party, has been saying in media interviews there is no guarantee that Sotto will remain as Senate president.

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