Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Monday, July 26, downplayed the alleged plan to have him ousted as his colleagues have already assured him of their continued support for his leadership.
Sotto told reporters that he wants to put to rest claims that his colleagues in the majority bloc were planning to unseat him from the highest post in the upper chamber.
“I cannot really say that the attempt was there. Maybe it was an idea, at most it was an idea…As a matter of fact, I’d rather not discuss it anymore,” he said in an online press conference after opening the third regular session of the 18th Congress.
Last Saturday, July 24, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said he was surprised to know that there was an attempt to remove Sotto from Senate presidency, supposedly because he declared his plan to run for vice president in the 2022 election. The information was relayed by a Senate staff member to Sotto, Lacson said.
Sotto said that during the plenary session on Monday, Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Christopher “Bong” Go, and some other senators not belonging to his political party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), approached him to say that they were not involved in any moves to unseat him.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed this in a separate interview
“No one approached me during the break for any resolution or any move to oust Sen. Sotto. I only heard that report thru a staff [member] and it might just be a rumor,” Zubiri said in a mix of Filipino and English.
“The [Senate] President still has the trust and confidence of the majority, and even, he has the love and trust of the minority,” he reiterated.
Sotto, a long-time lawmaker, said previous Senate presidents have ran for different public offices and that incumbents gunning for elective posts do not violate Senate rules.
Still, he said his colleagues may vote and are “more than welcome” to remove him “any time” as they wish.
“I serve at the pleasure of my colleagues so…I don’t really pay much attention to it,” he said. “Basta’t hindi ka nagpapabaya sa trabaho mo (As long as you do not neglect your duties), I don’t see any reason why [one has to be removed],” he added.
Sotto earlier assured that he will not neglect his Senate duties even if he is already campaigning for vice presidency.