Press Release
March 30, 2010

Villar to abide by senators' decision on Senate presidency issue

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday said he would abide by the decision of senators on the issue of the Senate presidency, which will be left vacant after June 30.

Villar said that while the election of a Senate President is a normal process, it would be better if senators choose a leader whose term will end in 2013.

The election of new Senate President, preferably before the May 10 polls, was sought so that someone will take over as the country's interim president should the May elections fail and produce no successor to President Arroyo.

The Senate President is third in the succession line in the absence of the president and the vice president.

Under the Constitution, no holdover president is allowed after June 30.

Like Arroyo, Vice President Noli de Castro and Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr., the term of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will end on June 30.

Enrile, who is running for reelection in May, said earlier that in case of a failure of election, he would call for a joint session of Congress during which he would resign to pave the way for the election of a new Senate President whose term will extend beyond June 30, 2010.

Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Sens. Francis Escudero, Edgardo Angara, Villar, Benigno Aquino III, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, Francis Pangilinan, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes IV, will remain in office beyond June 30.

There was a suggestion that senators running for president and vice-president in the May elections should not be included in the selection of the new Senate President.

At present, Villar said he sees no rush to elect a new Senate President because the failure of elections scenario being painted by some sectors was speculative.

"Pero kung may mangyayari na at kakailanganin na maghalal ng isang Senate President na hindi pa tapos ang term, iyan naman ay gagawin ng Senado," said Villar, who once held the post.

"Kung ano ang desisyon ng Senado, iyon naman normally ang mangyayari. Ako ay susunod lamang sa magiging desisyon ng buong Senado," he said.

In his previous statement, Villar said any move to change the current leadership in the Senate is a matter "internal" to the chamber's majority, a coalition backed and assembled by Malacañang.

"They have the numbers to do it. So any rigodon in the Senate is a matter internal to the majority group, which counts among its members some of the leading lights of the ruling party Lakas-Kampi," Villar said.

Villar assured the people that he and the rest of the minority group in the Senate will continue to be fiscalizers, a role he said they have no intention of giving up no matter who the majority elects as new Senate President.

As an opposition, Villar said he and the rest of the Senate minority will remain a fiscalizer to ensure that the interest of our people is protected, regardless of who heads the Upper Chamber.

Villar said it is a numbers game in electing the Senate president, recalling how he himself was toppled from that position in late 2008. He said he paid the price for investigating corruption in high places, including the ZTE bribery case and other big scams in government.

News Latest News Feed