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Zubiri douses Senate President change: Sotto is still the man

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

Senate President Vicente Sotto III will continue hold the reins of the upper chamber in 18th Congress which opens in July.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said there was no talk of leadership change in the Senate since Sotto still enjoys the “trust and confidence” of his colleagues.

“As far as I’m concerned our SP still has the strong trust and confidence of all the re-electionists coming back to the Senate plus a solid number of those remaining,” Zubiri told reporters in a text message.

“I’m not sure who wants to make a go for it but definitely the combined bloc of the ‘seatmates’ and ‘macho’ bloc is a group to contend with,” he said.

Zubiri is rumored to be next in line for the SP especially with the entry of more allies of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate. Zubiri and his father are among the few politikos who Duterte said supported his 2016 campaign.

Zubiri said the “seatmates” bloc consists of Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, Richard Gordon, and reelectionists Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, and JV Ejercito.

On the other hand, the “macho” bloc comprises senators Panfilo Lacson, Gringo Honasan, and Sotto.

Lacson said Sotto’s presidency was stable as he has shown “very good leadership qualities.”

He noted that Sotto has consistently taken the cudgels for senators from both the majority and minority groups on several occasions.

“How he dealt with the 2019 national budget is a fine example of his grit and guts in handling such difficult situations,” Lacson said.

Sotto, who was elected Senate president on May 21, 2018, has promised to uphold the Senate’s independence amid the looming victory of at least eight senators backed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Based on the partial and unofficial results of Monday’s mid-term polls, the Duterte-backed candidates occupying the Top 12 are re-electionist Senator Cynthia Villar, former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former senator Pia Cayetano, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Bato dela Rosa, re-electionist Senator Sonny Angara, former Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos, former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, and re-electionist Senator Koko Pimentel. (PNA)

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