By Hannah L. Torregoza
Members of the Senate majority bloc has closed ranks and agreed to support a resolution supporting a leadership change and elect Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III as the new Senate President.
The 17-member bloc includes Sotto and current Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Fourteen senators have signed the manifesto. They are Senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan II, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.
Sen. Grace Poe is also expected to sign the document later this week.
An ally of President Duterte in the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, Pimentel was elected Senate leader at the start of the 17th Congress.
Pimentel is also president of the ruling political party.
The Senate leader has said he is prepared to relinquish his post in preparation for his re-election bid in the upcoming May 2019 mid-term polls.
Sotto, also an ally of the Duterte administration, is known for his strong stance against illegal drugs.
He once chaired the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs and also led the Dangerous Drugs Board as chairman from 2008 to 2009.