By JP Lopez | Malaya
THE Senate presidency is not yet in Sen. Franklin Drilon’s pocket, with still about a month before the opening of the 16th Congress, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday said.
Marcos, a member of a five-man Nacionalista Party in the Senate, said the party might even field its own bet to the post.
He said nothing is final yet, amid reports that NP president and outgoing senator Manuel Villar Jr. assured Drilon that the party and the administration Liberal Party would be fielding one candidate for Senate president.
The other NP members in the Senate are Antonio Trillanes IV, siblings Pia and Alan Peter Cayetano, and Cynthia Villar.
The LP members, aside from Drilon, are Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Sergio Osmena III, and Ralph Recto.
Drilon earlier said Manuel Villar assured him the party will stay with the administration and even agreed to have a common candidate of the coalition in the senate.
Marcos, at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado news forum, said a lot could still happen within a month.
“These things are not yet final. There are negotiations, discussions at every level,” he said.
Asked about Drilon’s claim that NP has agreed to field a common candidate, Marcos said, “I don’t think that it is. I don’t know that we can categorically state that.”
“Everybody will be talking to everybody else. We will be talking to each candidate, to each other and every time there is discussion, something can change,” he added.
Drilon needs to get the support of at least 13 senators for him to become Senate president. He can already count on the support of four LP senators but without the NP, he will still need nine more senators.
There is a possibility the NP will get the support of resigned Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, including newly-elected senators of the United Nationalist Alliance.
Enrile’s group is composed of Jinggoy Estrada, Vicente Sotto III, and Gregorio Honasan, and the two new senators – Nancy Binay and Jose Victor Ejercito Estrada.
Marcos said distribution of committee chairmanships and positions in the Senate leadership could be factors in the NP’s decision.
“We are open to anything. We have not yet decided on fielding (our own candidate). From our perspective, it is still very very early,” he said.