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‘Seatmates’ side with Sotto after finding Koko too soft to lead


POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

Senators who unanimously voted to make Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III Senate President are joining forces to replace him with Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III after finding his leadership lacking in the most trying of times.

Politiko learned that among the factions dismayed with Pimentel is the “Seatmates,” which is composed of Senators JV Ejercito, Sonny Angara, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva.

The group has since expanded to include Senators Nancy Binay, Loren Legarda, Richard Gordon and Cynthia Villar.

A source told Politiko that the “Seatmates” lost confidence in Pimentel because of his inability to stand for the Senate when it clashes with the House of Representatives.

One particular incident that disappointed the senators was Pimentel’s lackluster response to the House leadership’s insistence for a joint voting on Charter change when the two chambers convene in a Constituent Assembly (Con Ass).

Pimentel merely said he will file a resolution calling for a separate voting with the House on Charter change. He did not oppose the plan in public or called out his counterparts from the lower chamber for suggesting joint voting.

Those who ended up taking the cudgels for the Senate instead were Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Panfilo Lacson.

With Pimentel failing to “man up” for the Senate, the “Seatmates” found it easy to support Sotto’s bid to become Senate President.

Save for Pimentel and Sotto, 15 members of the majority bloc have signed the resolution to elect a new Senate President.

The majority bloc will hold a caucus Monday afternoon (May 21) to discuss the chamber’s reorganization.

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