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14 senators back Sotto for Senate President

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by Xave Gregorio

Fourteen, or a majority of senators, are already backing Senate Majority Tito Sotto to become Senate President Koko Pimentel’s replacement, a highly-placed source said.

However, a senator, who refused to be named, said the matter would still be discussed by the Senate majority in a caucus.

There are 17 members of the Senate majority bloc, including Sotto and Pimentel, which means a leadership change only needs eight votes to push through.

Pimentel is expected to step down from the helm of the Senate to focus on campaigning for his re-election in the 2019 polls.

He is strongly rumored to be replaced by Sotto within the year as fulfillment of a deal they struck at the start of the 17th Congress, but the two Senate leaders have denied this.

Senator Ping Lacson earlier revealed at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado media briefing that Sotto is set to take over in July or, at the latest, October, when Pimentel files for candidacy.

Lacson, however, apologized hours after making the statement following denials from Pimentel and Sotto.

Pimentel and Senator Nancy Binay have publicly stated that they would back Sotto to become Senate president.

In a radio interview on Saturday (May 17), Pimentel also endorsed Sotto for the top Senate seat.

“Kung meron man papalit sa akin, kung ako naman ay papalitan ang top seat diyan si Senator Sotto,” Pimentel said.