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Drilon ready to give up Senate presidency

Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday acceded to the possibility of Davao City Mayor and presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte pushing for his chosen Senate leader to lead the upper chamber in the 17th Congress.

Drilon said he will abide by his colleagues’ decision if majority of them would opt to elect a new leader of the Senate saying he is willing to step down to give way to another senator.

“As a political leader, you cannot avoid it. Its up to (the new President) if he wants to meddle, though I heard from him that he respects the independence of the Senate,” Drilon said in a DZBB interview.

“We will yield to the senator who is given the mantle of leadership by 13 senators. Anyway we were reelected by 18 million of our voters and is an incumbent Senate president, that is why if 13 senators want a new Senate president, we will yield the post to whoever it is,” the Senate leader added.

Drilon, however, rejected the possibility there would be some sort of realignment in light of the impending reorganization when Congress opens in July 25.

This, even though Drilon’s allies in the Liberal Party in the House of Representatives have switched allegiance or entered into a coalition with the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) party of the incoming President.

The apparent objective was to secure the installation of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez as the next House Speaker.

“I do not see any senator defecting to another party. We will remain as we are,” Drilon said.

“We will support in general the legislative agenda of President-elect Duterte, but we will remain as an institution of democracy,” he said.

He, however, said it is still too early to say whether senators who are members of the LP would be the new “opposition bloc.”

“It is too early, as I said, we will support in general the legislative agenda of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte,” Drilon said.

Senators vying for the Senate leadership include Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Alan Peter Cayetano and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.