The resolution, spearheaded by Sens. Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, was circulated on the floor yesterday amid rumors that some neophyte senators from PDP-Laban were moving to oust Sotto, who belongs to the Nationalist People’s Coalition, when the new Congress opens on July 22.
Geremy Pintolo
13 senators sign resolution backing Tito Sotto as leader
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 4, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Some 13 senators have signed a resolution expressing support for the retention of Senate President Vicente Sotto III as leader of the chamber in the coming 18thCongress.

The resolution, spearheaded by Sens. Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, was circulated on the floor yesterday amid rumors that some neophyte senators from PDP-Laban were moving to oust Sotto, who belongs to the Nationalist People’s Coalition, when the new Congress opens on July 22.

The resolution expressed the “full and unequivocal support of the senators to the continued leadership of Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III in the upcoming 18th Congress in order to maintain the Senate’s independence and uphold its proud tradition of being ‘the bastion of democracy’ in this country.”

The document cited, among others, the Senate’s approval of the various landmark measures including the Security of Tenure Bill and the Universal Health Care Act, as well as the chamber’s strong stand against billions of pesos in insertions in the 2019 national budget under Sotto’s leadership.

Others who signed the resolution were Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Sens. Nancy Binay, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Sonny Angara, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gregorio Honasan, Aquilino Pimentel III, Joel Villanueva and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Pacquiao said Sen. Richard Gordon, who was out of town, called him up and expressed his intention to sign the resolution.

Of those who signed, Escudero, Honasan and Legarda are ending their terms on June 30. With at least the vote of 13 senators needed to elect the Senate president, Sotto needs three more senators to support his retention come July 22.

Pacquiao presented the resolution on the floor, prompting Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon to question the appropriateness of his move as the chamber was rushing to approve the proposal to increase excise taxes on tobacco products.

“Is there a motion to unseat the Senate president?” Drilon asked Pacquiao. “Is this being presented to the Senate as part of the record or is this being presented to the Senate president personally?”

Pacquiao replied that it was simply a manifestation and he wanted to present the resolution to Sotto, who was then presiding over the session.

Drilon said he found it “awkward” that such a matter was being brought out on the floor.

To lighten the discussion, Zubiri joked that Drilon should also sign the resolution.

In a second discussion, Drilon teased Pacquiao that not all 20 senators from the majority bloc signed the resolution, after apparently having witnessed a testy exchange between the boxing senator and Sen. Cynthia Villar on the floor.

Prior to the discussion, Pacquiao approached Villar – who is reportedly being pushed by senator-elect Francis Tolentino to replace Sotto – to have her sign the resolution with Pimentel seated close to them.

“Why will I sign that if you will compromise my partymates? I’ll wait first that the committees of (senator-elect) Pia (Cayetano) and Imee (Marcos) are fixed,” Villar was overheard telling Pacquiao and Pimentel, who are both from PDP-Laban.

Villar told Pacquiao and Pimentel not to drag her and her party, the Nacionalista Party (NP), into their internal bickering and maneuvering to corner committee chairmanships.

SENATE PRESIDENT VICENTE SOTTO III
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