#PingSays: On Senate Leadership, Panel Chairmanships | June 4, 2019

In an interview, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Senate leadership
* Senate committee chairmanships

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Quotes from the interview…

On the resolution regarding the Senate President:

“Unang una, bottom line, it was a brilliant idea ni Sen Pacquiao. Why? Because it has achieved its purpose. Sinasabi sa amin lagi yan. Sabi magkaalaman ito. Kahapon it appears di ba nagkaalaman talaga 14 pumirma. Kung bibilangin natin, 6 sa minority, di mo ma-count yan. So 14 is an overwhelming number.”

“Unlikely naman nag-commit ang presidente and campaign manager ng PDP, ang 3 kasama nila hindi makikisama sa kanila.”

“If at all, ang resolution hindi ito binding hanggang July 22. On July 22, when the 18th Congress opens, doon magbobotohan. So yan ang nagma-matter na resolution whether in writing or sa floor. Pero ngayon if thereโ€™s any indication kung ano ang future ng Senado under the 18th Congress, medyo malinaw.”

“We also based ang observation or analysis because prior to this meron kaming pagme-meeting with the PDP Laban group, all 5 of them. And doon din they indicated they would support SP Sotto na mag-continue as SP.”

“The great advantage of SP Sotto is that it takes 13 to oust. Since he is the sitting SP, hindi siya end of term, 2022 pa ang end of term niya, he will continue as SP unless 13 of our colleagues both incumbent and new will oust him. Medyo mahirap ang 13. Pag 12-12 siya pa rin SP because he cannot be ousted by a mere 12 votes.”

On potential crack in the majority due to tension:

“You can say that. Pero based sa pronouncements, openly or even among ourselves, medyo klaro ang support kay SP.”

“I for one medyo na-surprise ako. Hindi ko expect ganoon.”

On claims that the chairmanship issue should be addressed:

“Pero mali yan. The SP does not determine the chairmanships of the committees. It is determined by the majority. Kung sino iboboto ng majority na mag-chair ng mga committees, yan ang nasusunod. Not the SP. Mali ang isisisi mo si SP kung hindi mo makuha ang chairmanship ng committee na gusto mo.”

“Doon sa nangyaring tension. And good for Sen Pacquiao, nilapitan niya ako. Sabi niya na nagpipigil siya. Yan ang sabi niya. Pero sabi niya sa floor tayo, kaya di siya kumibo.”

“Letโ€™s put it this way. Current yan ngayon, pati ang outgoing nagpirma. Because yan ang sinasabi na parang vote of confidence kay SP Sotto. So baka di lang niya masyadong nakuha ang intent. Of course, double-edged yan. Pwedeng ang current composition ng Senate pero looking forward ito ang projected vote of confidence.”

On Senate president having to address committee chairmanship issue:

“Thatโ€™s out of the question as far as the reso is concerned. Ang ano, naniniwala ka ba sa leadership ng SP? Hindi pinaguusapan doon ang chairmanship. And as I said kanina, wala sa kamay ng SP kung sino ang mga chairperson ng committee.”

On whether top Senate post is used as a bargaining chip:

“Sa Senate hindi. Itโ€™s either you support or you vote for a SP na mai-install or not. If you donโ€™t vote for the winning SP, you belong to the minority.”

On Senate composition scenarios:

“Thatโ€™s a possibility. Scenario, hypothetical ito. Halimbawa kinulang ang majority na boboto sa SP. Here come members of the minority willing to become members of the majority by electing him. Maiiba ang mix, maiiba ang composition. May mga allies ng administration na magiging minority at may mga hindi allies ng administration na magiging majority. Remember the Senate is independent of the Executive. Nangyari na yan before, hindi lahat sa majority bloc ay nasa administration and vice versa. Itโ€™s a possible scenario.”

“It doesnโ€™t matter. Mas maganda ang mix may allied with the admin, may hindi. Para mas mabalanse pa.”

On senators’ Wednesday caucus:

“Medyo ma-enhance ang projection kung SP Sotto will remain or continue as SP. By tomorrow assuming all incoming senators will be attending, maso-solidify lalo yan.”

“We hope ma-settle ang chairmanship tomorrow. Kasi sa ngayon talagang kaunti lang pinaplantsa.”

On Sen. dela Rosa’s reported plan to consult Mayor Sara Duterte:

“Up to them. They can consult anybody. We cannot prevent them from consulting other people. But at the end of the day itโ€™s their votes that will count pagpili ng aming leader.”

“(Pero) wala dapat (makikialam). At traditionally and historically wala. Ang constituency, national hindi kami masyadong parochial. At makaka-survive kami whether we belong to the minority. In the first place there are more committees than senators. Tig-2 or 3 nga.”

On Senate committees for Sen. Lacson:

“(Committee on) Accounts, gusto ko o ayaw ko talagang binibigay sa akin. Of course in-offer sa akin ang defense because Sen. Honasan is leaving. And then ako I talked to SP kung walang interesado sa electoral reforms I want to chair that committee if only to check Smartmatic, automated. May consensus na nabubuo na gusto namin i-amend para maging hybrid. At least precinct level, manual; and transmission, electronic.”

“Finance was offered to me but ayoko. Mas gusto ko mag-interpellate sa finance. At kung ako ginawang finance, walang insertion. Mag-aaway-away kami roon. Thatโ€™s my primary reason. Confide ko na kay SP yan. Kung mag-finance ako walang insertion.”

“(Sa Pro Tempore) ang priority is Sen Recto. But kung ma-open tinanong ako ni SP, sabi ko okay lang. Because pag Pro Temp ka you are a member of all committees ex oficio.”

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