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‘Di naman rush! Senate majority open to Pimentel extending stay as Senate president

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by Xave Gregorio

The Senate majority bloc is open to letting Senate President Koko Pimentel stay at the helm of the chamber, even if all but two of them have signed a draft Senate resolution electing Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto as the new leader of the upper house.

“Siyempre pagbibigyan kami kay SP Koko dahil after all magkakasama pa rin kami kahit magpalit ng liderato kasama pa rin namin siya sa majority,” Senator Ping Lacson said after being asked on DWIZ what the Senate majority bloc would do if Pimentel asks for an extension.

“So didinggin namin siya kung ano talaga ang kanyang dahilan o kung talagang hihiling niya, pwede defer muna dahil ‘di agad maimplementa. So we’ll pick it up from there,” Lacson continued.

Sources say Pimentel is seeking an extension as the Senate’s leader even if 15 senators in the majority bloc are already backing a move to replace him with Sotto.

While the majority bloc would hold a caucus on the matter shortly before the plenary session on Monday (May 21), Lacson said it does not mean that the Senate shakeup would happen the same day.

“Ang paguusapan kung kailan ito ie-execute o i-implement. Sa Lunes ba o sa isang linggo o susunod na linggo,” he said.

Earlier, Lacson said Pimentel would be replaced by Sotto on June or July or, at the latest, October, when the Senate President would file his candidacy for re-election.

But after a draft Senate resolution signed by nearly all of the members of the majority bloc electing Sotto as Senate president surfaced last week, it appears that the leadership change in the chamber is bound to happen sooner.

When it does happen, Lacson said Pimentel is free to choose the Senate committee he would be chairing.

“Ang napagusapan namin, ano ang gusto niyang committee ibibigay namin sa kanya. At lahat kami willing bumitaw sa isang major committee na hawak namin para ibigay sa kanya kung gusto niya,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lacson also confirmed that the majority has chosen Senator Migz Zubiri to become the next Senate majority leader, replacing Sotto when he becomes Senate president.