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Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Senator Pimentel Doubts If Senate Leadership Will Be Changed Due to Perceived Failure of Automated Elections
Senator Pimentel Doubts If Senate Leadership Will Be Changed Due to Perceived Failure of Automated Elections PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Written by Senator Pimentel's Press Office   
Thursday, 25 March 2010 08:25

 

S enate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. today expressed doubt whether Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will be replaced, as suggested by some lawmakers, supposedly to avert a power vacuum that may arise from a failure of the automated elections on May 10.

 

Mr. Pimentel said he does not think that there will be a failure of elections that would necessitate the installation of a new Senate president whose term will go beyond June 30 to act as interim president of the republic.

 

He also said it would be an impossible task to call the l4th Congress to a special session to pave the way for a Senate leadership change because of the difficulty of mustering a quorum while the senators and congressmen are busy with their election campaign.

 

“Failure of elections will not happen in the country. Our elections do not need a majority plus one vote to have a winner. If we have 50 million voters, the Constitution does not require the winning presidential candidate to get 25 million plus one votes. We follow the plurality rule. In other words, whoever gets the highest number of votes is the winner,” the veteran legislator from Mindanao explained.

 

“If there are some voting machines that will fail in Luzon, some that will fail in Mindanao, some in the Visayas, but others will function. And the results will be made the basis for proclaiming the winner. Those who did not believe in the results can go through the usual way of protesting.”

 

Senator Pimentel said he favors the removal of Mr. Enrile as Senate president because he is disgusted with his “authoritarian” manner of running the chamber, and not because of the feared failure of elections.

 

“But that is not for me to decide.  In fairness to him, Senator Enrile will be replaced only if there is a Senate session. But the Senate cannot be called into session by itself. The l4th Congress should be called to a special session by the President, but there is obviously no time for that because members of Congress are busy campaigning. So there will be no quorum,” he said.

 

“What will happen? In all likelihood, Mr. Enrile will stay on as Senate president until the elections are over. In which case, he will no longer be Senate president in the next Congress unless he is elected by the new Senate (assuming that he is reelected first by the voters).”

 

It was Sen. Edgardo Angara who strongly batted for the election of a new Senate president on the ground that in case of a failure of elections, Mr. Enrile cannot assume office as acting president of the republic since his term will expire on June 30.

 

“I want to emphasize that I have not talked with Senator Angara or any other senator on this issue. So Senator Enrile should not think that there is a plot to unseat him. There is no such thing. I just read Mr. Angara’s opinion in the newspapers. But I commented that the scenario of a failure of elections will not happen,” Pimentel said.

 

* * * * *

 

Transcript, Fernandina Media Forum at Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan, March 24, 2010

 

On whether Senate President Enrile should be replaced: Failure of elections will not happen in the country. Our elections do not need majority plus one equals the winner. For instance, we have 50-million voters – the Constitution does not require the winning presidential candidate to get 25 million votes plus one. Plurality lang ang ating patakaran. In other words kung sino ang mas maraming boto, iyon ang mananalo.

 

If there are some voting machines that will fail in Luzon, some that will fail in Mindanao, some in the Visayas, but others will function. And the results can be made the basis for proclaiming the winner. Those who do not believe in the results can go through the usual way of protesting.

 

And, therefore, on the issue of whether the Senate president should be replaced, luging lugi ako diyan hindi dahil sa failure of elections but because mayroon kaming maraming disgusto ni Senate President Enrile.  Sa madaling salita gusto ko siyang matanggal doon. But that is not for me to decide. In fairness to him, mapapalitan lang si Senator Enrile kung may session ang Senado at pipili ng kanyang kapalit. But the Senate cannot also be called into session by itself.  The l4th Congress should be called to a special session by the President, but there is obviously no time for that because the congressmen are campaigning. So there will be no quorum.

 

What will happen? In all likelihood, Senator Enrile will stay on as Senate president until the elections are over. In which case hindi na siya magiging Senate president sa susunod na Congress unless he is elected by the Senate.

 

 

That is the situation. And I want to emphasize na hindi kami nag-uusap ni Senator Angara o kung sinumang ibang senador diyan. Baka sabihin ni Senator Enrile na may plano na naman ditto na ma-unseat siya. There is no such thing. Nabasa ko na lang ang opinion ni Senator Angara at sinusundan ko ang scenario of failure of elections. Hindi mangyari iyan.

 

(Is it true that authoritarian ang pagpapalakad ni Enrile)  That is the reason why I don’t want him to be the Senate president because he tends to divide instead of unifying . Kasi authoritarian nga ang kanyang patakaran.

 

(Example) Sa Senate investigation of the C-5. Noong una, sumali kami roon. We raised several objections kung bakit ang ethics committee ay hindi puwedeng  sila ng magdadala ng imbestigasyon dahil mas marami ang mga nakaupo doon na karibal ni Senator Villar. So how can he be given a fair judgment in a tribunal that will be composed of his rivals?

 

Pangalawa, ibinato na nila ang inbestigation sa Senate committee of the whole. Patuloy din an gaming demand na palitan natin ang rules in investigating C-5 because the rules that apply to the Senate ethics committee, which is composed only of a few people cannot apply to the Senate committee of the whole, which is composed of all senators. # # #

 



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Comments (1)
1 Tuesday, 30 March 2010 10:13
Villar to abide by senators’ decision on Senate presidency issue

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. #

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