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Drilon: No valid reason to replace Sotto as Senate president

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Senator Minority Leader Franklin Drilon sees no compelling reason to oust Senator Vicente Sotto III as Senate president when the next 18th Congress opens on July 22.

The 17th Congress adjourns sine die on June 7. The Senate and House of Representives will open jointly the 18th Congress on July 22.

Drilon made the remark on Sunday amid reports that neophyte Senator Francis Tolentino allegedly urged reelected Senator Cynthia Villar to challenge Sotto’s leadership when 19th Congress opens in July.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also crafted a resolution expressing support for Sotto’s continued leadership in the 18th Congress.

“Unless Sen. Sotto committed a mortal sin, I don’t think any senior senator will care to listen to a neophyte senator if he or she moves to campaign for a change of leadership,” Drilon said in a radio interview.

The veteran lawmaker said that the leadership of the Senate would eventually be decided by the members of upper chamber and “not Malacanang.”

“‘Yung minority po hindi kasali sa paghalal sa pangulo ng Senado. So, hindi po kami pipirma (sa resolution) kasi makakasama kami sa majority,” he said.

“Having said that, maayos naman ang liderato ni Sen. Sotto sa Senado. He treats every one fairly. Siya po ay pangulo ng Senado at hindi lamang ng majority. At siya po ay nakikinig sa lahat,” Drilon added.

But Drilon stressed that the four-member minority bloc in the 18th Congress, consisting of Senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros and Leila De Lima, who is currently detained, would continue to perform their tasks as the minority and “fiscalizer” in the next Congress.

Fellow opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will end his term on June 30 while Senator Bam Aquino failed in his reelection bid.

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