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Koko willing to yield as Senate President

By Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola

Sen. Koko Pimentel said yesterday that he is willing to vacate his post as Senate President but clarified this has yet to be finalized with his colleagues the majority.

A draft resolution which leaked Thursday bared that 14 majority senators have expressed support for a leadership change in the Senate by replacing Pimentel and electing Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III as the next Senate President.

“Bukas po tayo d’yan sa kahit na anong reorganization ng Senado. We are very open to that. Pero nag-set kami ng majority caucus ngayong Lunes para klaruhin po namin yang issues na ‘yan: Kailan ba namin gagawin, ano ba ang sentimiento ng majority sa Senado. Kasi kasama pa rin naman ako sa majority,” Pimentel said in a television interview.

The change of leadership floated as early as the beginning of the 17th Congress, with Sotto emerging as Pimentel’s possible replacement when he runs for reelection in the 2019 polls. The two Senate leaders have been candid about discussing their term-sharing.

But prior to the release of the draft resolution, Pimentel has been denying that the leadership change will happen anytime soon since majority senators have yet to meet on the subject.

Pimentel stressed that he is not attached to his position but said in jest that he wanted to stay as Senate chief until his term ends on June 30, 2019.

“Pero pagdating po sa changes, sa umpisa pa naman alam na natin yun na anytime can happen in the Senate. Dapat handa tayo ibigay ang position or i-share ‘yung position, ‘yung experience na maging head sa iba naman,” Pimentel said.

“‘Yong term ko kasi as Senate President eh mag-eend yan sa term ko as senator. Kahit mareelect ako, theoretically, hindi ibig sabihin na automatic dala ko pa rin ‘yung Senate presidency. Theoretically, magkakaroon ng vacancy sa post ng Senate President. In-anticipate na natin ang legal problem na ‘yan.”