There has been an attempt to oust Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for announcing his plan to run for vice president, Senator Panfilo Lacson bared on Saturday, July 24.
Lacson said a draft resolution penned by a member of a Senate majority bloc was being circulated among senators to supposedly remove Sotto from the highest post in the upper chamber.
“Meron gumagalaw sa mga kasamahan namin na gusto siyang palitan. Gustong magpaikot para sa signature…Siguro a draft resolution, tinitignan siguro kung aabot ng 13 (Someone from our colleagues is moving to replace him ,” Lacson said in an interview over radio DWIZ.
The senator, who is considering running for president, said a staff member of Sotto got the information while they were touring in provinces in Luzon.
“‘Kesyo tatakbo akong VP, kailangan palitan na raw ako (That because I am running for vice president, they said I have to be replaced)’,” Lacson quoted Sotto as telling him.
Sotto confirmed Lacson’s statements.
“I said, ‘I serve at the pleasure of my colleagues’, so I left it to them,” he told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
Lacson, however, doubted that the ouster plot will prosper as he believed that majority of his colleagues still support Sotto. He said Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, for instance, called them from the United States to say that he would not sign the supposed resolution.
Lacson recalled that this was not the first time that Sotto’s leadership in the Senate was challenged.
In 2019, amid the lobbying for committee chairmanships for the 18th Congress, there was a reported plan from neophyte senators to oust Sotto and install Senator Cynthia Villar as the new Senate leader.
Villar denied this, although she refused to sign a resolution prepared by Pacquiao in support of Sotto.
“Sa ngayon, wala kaming nakikitang peligro na mapapalitan siya. Kasi maganda yong pamamalakad niya, eh — ewan ko may nag-iisip na kailangan palitan, kasi nga nagdeklara na tatakbo. Eh hindi naman namin papabayaan ‘yong aming trabaho sa Senate, makikita naman nila ‘yon (For now, we don’t see the danger that Sotto will be replaced. Because his leadership was good — I don’t know why anyone will think that he should be replaced just because he declared his plan to run. We will not neglect our work in the Senate, and they will see that),” he Lacson said.
“‘Pag nasa loob kami ng Senado, hindi kami kandidato. Senador kami. At gagawin namin ‘yong trabaho namin (When we are in the halls of the Senate, we are not election candidates. We are senators. And we will do our job),” he also assured.
Earlier, Sotto promised that he and Lacson will not be remiss in their responsibilities as senator even if they are campaign for the 2022 elections.
Lacson and Sotto will run in tandem in the 2022 polls.