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Villar's Nacionalista Party to remain with admin bloc — Drilon

May 23, 2013 12:10pm

(Updated 12:23 p.m.) Sen. Manny Villar's Nacionalista Party (NP) will remain with the administration coalition when the 16th Congress opens in July, Sen. Franklin Drilon said Thursday, quoting Villar himself.

“Today I met with Senator Manny Villar, president of the Nacionalista Party, and he said the NP will stay in the coalition, contrary to all these speculations,” Drilon told reporters during the weekly Senate Kapihan.

Villar was among President Benigno Aquino III's staunchest rivals during the 2010 presidential election, but for 2013 midterm elections, the party alligned itself with the Liberal Party (LP). His wife, Senator-elect Cynthia Villar, ran under the LP-led administration coalition in the recently concluded polls.

On Thursday, Drilon said Villar, an outgoing senator, has assured them that the NP “will continue to support the president and his legislative agenda in the Senate, that there will be a common candidate for the coalition.”

Drilon was referring to the battle for the Senate presidency, where he is perceived to be a strong candidate. He refused to name who the common candidate will be.

Drilon, the campaign manager of the administration coalition in the 2013 elections, also said it is a logical assumption that the next head of the Senate will be from the administration. He has earlier admited that he was courting the support of his fellow senators for the position.

Committee assignments

In speaking about possible committee assignments for the next Congress, Drilon — in what could be construed as a slip on his part — said he “would like to continue” the tradition of tapping the expertise of each senator.

“The tradition in the Senate has been is that we tap the expertise of each senator,” he said. “I would like to continue that traditon, rather the Senate would like to continue that.”

He added in his one-on-one meeting with Villar earlier in the day, they discussed possible committee assignments for senators from the NP.

“So we discussed the different committees that the NP would like to have in [the next Congress]. We discussed the committees, the commitment of the NP to support the president, the administration, and the legislative agenda of the president,” Drilon said.

Meanwhile, on Senator Alan Peter Cayetano’s suggestion that committees be assigned based on expertise rather than seniority, Drilon said everything will be discussed in due time.

“Certainly, the senators will choose the committees based on what they feel are their areas of competence and how they can contribute to nation building

He added that “everything can be resolved through discussion, and give and take.”

“We have been through this before, we have come up with understanding,” Drilon said. — KBK, GMA News
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