LP senators plotting payback against Koko: Ralph or Sonny eyed as next Senate President
The departure of Alan Cayetano from the Senate has sparked hopes of the Liberal Party-bloc senators to wrest control of the Upper House from Senate President Koko Pimentel as payback for kicking them out of the majority last February.
A Politiko source said the LP bloc, which held a special meeting last Monday, has moved to gather 12 of 23 votes to install either Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto or Senator Sonny Angara as the new President.
The source said the LP bloc wanted either Recto or Angara as Pimentel’s replacement as a sort of compromise as both were seen as moderates in the Senate.
There are two things that need to happen for LP to succeed in its revenge against Pimentel for kicking them out of the majority with a 17-6 vote in the Senate shakeup last February.
First, Senator Leila de Lima, who is currently detained at Camp Crame for drug trafficking charges, must be allowed to vote to complete the “Yellow Five” group which includes Minority Leader Frank Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, and Risa Hontiveros.
Second, the LP bloc plan to convince the “Classmates” group of Angara,, Win Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, Migz Zubiri and JV Ejercito to make the switch through generous allocation of committee chairmanships, including the Senate presidency.
Angara, a member of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), ran under Team PNoy in 2013. Villlanueva was part of the LP ticket when he ran in 2016. Zubiri has a history with Pimentel who continues to remind the public about how his was cheated out of four of his first six-year term as senator in the dogfight for the 12th spot in the 2007 senatorial election (he only assumed office in 2011). Ejercito’s mother, San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, is facing a recall petition from the son of Rep. Ronaldo Zamora,a member of Pimentel’s Partido Demokratikong Pilpino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
With Recto, an LP member but part of the Senate majority, and Antonio Trillanes, a constant thorn on the side of President Rodrigo Duterte, the LP bloc would get 12 votes enough to unseat Pimentel.
The Politiko source said these rumblings have placed the Office of the Senate President on full alert in the next two months before the President’s State of the Nation Address.