Fourteen senators sign resolution for leadership change

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — The Senate is ready to name a new Senate President.

Fourteen senators from the majority block have signed on Thursday a resolution electing current Majority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III as the next Senate President, to replace current Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

These senators are Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Chiz Escudero, Win Gatchalian, Dick Gordon, Gringo Honasan, Ping Lacson, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Migs Zubiri. Pimentel's name is found in the resolution although he still has to affix his signature.

Senator Grace Poe is set to sign the resolution this Friday which will bring the total number of signatories to fifteen.

"That's a decision of the majority we have the numbers then you can move for a reorganization but the idea is the stability and continuity of the work of the Senate so kailangan smooth if a change in leadership will happen it must be smooth," Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan II said Thursday.

Senator Ejercito backed the choice to elect Sotto, given the Majority Leader's years of political experience. Sotto had already served for four terms as a member of the Senate.

"Sa lahat ng senador siya na po ang longest serving siguro given his vast experience and being the Majority Leader siguro baka mas lalo kaming mapagkaisa pa," Ejercito said Friday. 

[Translation: Sotto has served the longest among all the Senators, so maybe given his vast experience and being the Majority Leader he could unite us better.]

Ejercito added that he hoped that the next Senate President could better protect the institution from attacks from the Lower House.

"I have to be honest with you maraming nasaktan nung when the Senate was under attack by the Speaker. Ang pakiramdam lang siguro ng marami dapat dinepensahan ang Senado as an institution," Ejercito said. 

[Translation: A lot were hurt when the Senate was under attack by the Speaker. A lot felt that the Senate should have been defended as an institution.]

READ: More senators up in arms over House Speaker's criticism of Upper House

Senator Binay said that perhaps Pimentel was getting ready for re-election in 2019.

"Siguro kase its high time na mag-concentrate din si SP Koko sa re-election bid niya. Kase di ba nahahaluhan ng pulitika dahil si SP is a re-electionist, presidente ng PDP Laban," Binay said. 

[Translation: Maybe it's high time that Senate President Pimentel concentrate on his re-election bid. Because there's some politicking over how he's a re-electionist and the president of the PDP Laban party.]

Senator Pacquaio proposed that Senator Zubiri replace Senator Sotto as Majority Floor Leader, as Zubiri had previously held the same post. Senators Binay, Ejercito and Villar backed this proposal.

Pimentel had called for a majority caucus on Monday, May 21, to discuss this transition.

He had previously denied that there had already been an agreement between him and Sotto on this reorganization.

READ: Pimentel denies agreement with Sotto for Senate Presidency

Senators still have to determine if the transition will happen by July or August, a date Pimentel refused to confirm.