The 18th Congress has yet to end but several incumbent senators have reportedly expressed their intention to lead the Senate in the 19th.
Among those allegedly eyeing the Senate presidency are Senator Cynthia Villar and Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, according to Senator Sonny Angara and returning senator JV Ejercito.
Angara expressed hope Villar and Zubiri would come into an agreement with regard to the Senate leadership in the 19th Congress.
"There are talks ongoing [about the election of the next Senate president]. My hope is magkasundo si Majority Leader Migz and Senator Cynthia dito sa usapin ng liderato ng Senado. Sila ang mga nagsabi sa amin na interesado sila na pamunuan ang Senado," Angara told GMA News Online in a Viber message.
(My hope is Majority Leader Migz and Senator Cynthia would reach an agreement regarding the Senate leadership. They were the ones who told us they were interested to lead the Senate.)
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Ejercito mentioned the talks about the next Senate president when asked if he will be a pro-administration or an opposition senator in the upcoming Congress.
"At this time, it's a tight race, I would say between Senator Villar and Senator Zubiri. A lot of guys ...[who] said they want [the position] also. Senator Win Gatchalian, is also interested. Si Chiz [Escudero]," Ejercito said.
"I really have to really weigh siguro what will be more good for the institution, more than relationships because I am quite close to all of them. Senator Villar, we call her 'mama bear,' she took care of me in 2019, I will always be grateful. Senator Migz naman he became a sort of our leader. As a majority leader, he pushed me to pass the two legislations, talagang he helped a lot. Win and Chiz, we go a long way back," he added.
In a statement last week, Zubiri dispelled rumors about his possible Senate presidency bid, saying it would be "presumptuous" if he will "make this assumption at this point in time" as they are still waiting for the official proclamation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
"By tradition, we, in the working majority, will decide and elect the officers and leadership in due time. This will be done in a democratic manner, based on qualifications and values that will uphold the traditions of the Senate as an institution," he said.
On the part of Villar, her media officer said the senator is still mum on the issue, explaining that it's too early to discuss the matter.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who clinched the fourth spot in the 2022 senatorial race based on the partial, unofficial count, said last week that he will also compete for the Senate president post.
"Yes, I am vying for the Senate presidency and I've talked to some of our colleagues about that and of course, since re-electionist naman ako and I've been in the Senate in the past six years, I also have good plans for the institution," Gatchalian said in an interview with One News.
Outgoing Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in a text message shared to reporters, enumerated the characteristics that a Senate chief should possess.
"I've served nine Senate presidents, honed by some of them. I know what the qualities of the next SP should be. Must possess a mastery of parliamentary rules and procedures, a consensus-builder, independent-minded, stern but compassionate. Always present and never late. At the risk of sounding like describing myself, it is the technique that I followed to the letter. Now, who among the names mentioned can do that?" he said.
The sine die adjournment of 18th Congress will be on June 3. The 19th Congress will open it sessin on July 25.—AOL, GMA News