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Pimentel prefers to keep Senate presidency but ready for leadership change

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If he could have it his way, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday confessed that he would not want to give up his position anytime soon.

“Kung ako ang tatanungin mo kasi kung pwede sanang hindi na di ba?” he said in jest when asked about the impending “turnover” of the upper chamber leadership to Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III in a widely perceived as “power-sharing” agreement they had when Pimentel assumed the Senate presidency in July 2016.

But Pimentel himself admitted that everyone should be open to changes.

“Ganito kasi ‘yan, we should not be too attached to the position. Kung may change sa sentiment (of colleagues), we should follow the sentiment,” he said.

Pimentel admits that the possibility is indeed not remote but not within the week.

“Well there might be (changes). (The) possibility po lahat, parati naman ‘yun, (so) we should always be ready. Sabi ko nga ‘might.’ So kung meron ng petsa, eh di there will be (leadership changes),” he said.

Pimentel said they would have had majority bloc caucus today but it was deferred to a later date in deference to the death of a former colleague, the late Senate President Edgardo Angara.

But for some obvious legal reasons, Pimentel further admitted that it may pose as a problem to the Senate if he stay on as upper chamber leader while he seeks re-election in 2019.

“From my point of view, my term ends (at) noon (on) June 30, 2019. So even if I get re-elected, that doesn’t mean I bring along the title of Senate president. therefore at 12 noon (of) June 30, 2019 there is no Senate president if I’m still the Senate president at that time. So ‘yun ang gusto kong maiwasan sana and that’s what I’m telling my colleagues,” he said.

Also, Pimentel said that since he’s the president of the ruling PDP-Laban, he has to attend to the needs and prepare the party for the coming midterm elections.

“Not only because (I’m the party president but) I am also a candidate. So I have to prepare for the slate of the party nationwide. So hindi lang ako busy sa filing ng COC (certificate of candidacy) o buong partido ang inaasikaso ko, I am also busy nowadays on political matters,” he said.

Asked if he and Sotto already talked on the latter’s assumption to the senate presidency, Pimentel answered in the affirmative.

“Nag-usap na kami pero ang (pag-u) usap namin is mag caucus kami (na majority bloc). Ang usapan lang ng majority kasi (is that) the majority decides on the leadership,” he said.

One thing is certain though, Pimentel said, any leadership change is not likely to happen within the next few days.