PDP-Laban president to push for Sotto to stay as Senate leader

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 8) — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, the president of the administration party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said he will push for Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III to stay in his seat.

“If there is no one [from the party who] is interested in being Senate President, I will push for Sotto,” Pimentel told CNN Philippines in a chance interview Wednesday.

Pimentel said he does not eye a return to the Senate presidency should he be reelected for another term.

He also said that former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, the leading PDP-Laban bet in the pre-election surveys, told him that he does not want to be Senate President.

Pimentel was at the helm of the Senate at the start of the 17th Congress in June 2016, but resigned in the months leading to the filing of candidacies for senator. He was replaced by Sotto.

CONTEXT: Sotto is new Senate President

Sotto said in a press briefing that he is ready to step down if any of his colleagues would tell him that they have the required 13 votes to become Senate President.

“If my peers, my colleagues feel that there should be a new leadership, then I will be very supportive of any new leadership. If they would want to retain the leadership of the Senate, then it’s a welcome thing,” Sotto said.

Asked who among his peers has enough leadership skills to become Senate President, Sotto first said Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who has served as the leader of the upper house.

Sotto later said that anyone in the Senate could become its leader.

Under Sotto’s leadership, the Senate got its highest satisfaction rating in nearly seven years, with 72 percent of Filipinos saying they were satisfied by the performance of the chamber, according to private pollster Social Weather Stations.