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Sotto: Winning president’s choice for Senate President not always elected by peers to top post

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Sen. Vicente Sotto III, who is vying to become an alternative Senate presidency in the 17th Congress, recognised on Monday (May 23, 2016) that the President’s blessings could help in the bid of a senator to get majority votes for the top Senate but it does not follow that the President’s ‘anointed’ one usually bags the top Senate post.

“It helps, it always helps kaya lang meron mga experiences in the past na yung nagging Senate president eh hindi gusto nung president ng Pilipinas,” Sotto said in an interview upon resumption of the session of 16th Congress.

Sotto, who is the most senior senator in terms of having 18 years experience, noted that past Senate presidents since the time of former president Corazon Aquino until the latter’s son, President Noynoy Aquino, were usually not those desired by the former presidents. He cited historical patterns to prove his point.

“Umpisa nung ’87, ang gusto ni Cory si Nep (Neptali Gonzales) ang naging SP, si (Jovito) Salonga; nung ’92 ang gusto ni (Fidel) Ramos si Letty (Shahani) or (Teofisto) Guingona, si Nep ang hinalal tapos gusto pa ring gawin nila guingona pero si (Edgardo) Angara ang nag kudeta kay Nep, ayaw din ni Ramos. Tapos kinudeta si Angara ni (Ernesto) Maceda, ayaw din ni Ramos. Puro ayaw yun eh. Kinudeta uli si Maceda ni Neptali, kami na nila Orly (Mercado) yun,” Sotto added.

Sotto recalled that the same situation also happened during the times of former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Tapos ’98, Erap. Ang gusto ni Erap…di ko matandaan pero ang in elect namin si (Marcelo) Fernan, running mate ni mitra. Kapalit si ninong blas. Pero ok na yun, si Erap ok kay ninong blas…tapos si (Franklin) Drilon ok din kay Erap,” he said.

“Eto napansin ko, tingnan nyo records. Ang Senado, pag nag e elect ng 12 senators, may inindorso yung pres, usually yung president hindi nakakakuha ng more than half. Laging opposition binoboto ng tao. Parang ayaw ng tao na ang Senate eh subservient. Napansin ko rin yan,” he added.

Apart from Sotto, those who have been open about their interest to become Senate president are: PDP Laban’s Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Sen Alan Peter Cayetano, of Nacionalista Party. All three are expected to contest the Senate presidency from incumbent Franklin Drilon in the incoming 17th Congress.