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Imee Marcos eyeing Senate finance committee chairmanship, says Angara

Incumbent Senator Imee Marcos is not gunning for the Senate presidency but for the chairmanship of the finance committee, Senator Sonny Angara said.

According to Maki Pulido’s report on “24 Oras,” Angara disclosed Marcos is pushing for Senator Cynthia Villar to lead the Senate, following the end of the 18th Congress on June 30.

“Usually, there’s a main protagonist or ‘yun ‘yung mga protagonist mga talagang nagpu-push. Isa doon si Sen. Imee,” Angara, the incumbent finance committee chairman, said.

Angara acknowledged Marcos could influence the voting for the Senate president citing her experience as a legislator and being the sister of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“I would imagine, yes, because as the sister of the president and of course as a colleague na nirerespeto eh, siguro may dating din ‘yun di ba? May impluwensya rin ‘yun,” he added.

(I would imagine, yes, because as the sister of the President and of course as a colleague we respect her. That has weight, right? So it also has influence.)

The lawmaker, however, said his vote will go to reelectionist Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri who is also being eyed to lead the chamber.

“He’s very popular among, you know, some of our colleagues. Kami, we have a group, Seatmates, Sen. Nancy Binay, Sen. Joel (Villanueva), Sen. Grace (Poe), so definitely, kami we already promised our support,” he said.

Angara hopes Zubiri and Villar would discuss the issue for the next Congress to have another supermajority. However, he said it is still early to make predictions about the Senate presidency.

Based on partial, unofficial count of the Commission on Elections, former senator and House speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and former public works secretary Mark Villar are expected to join relatives in the Senate —Pia Cayetano and Cynthia Villar.

The return of half-brothers JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada also looms.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said this means family members will have the same votes on issues excluding the Ejercito brothers.

“Di naman pu-pwedeng si Mark Villar boboto sa ibang kandidato na hindi kandidato ng nanay nya o yung magkakapatid na mga Cayetano. Ang di lang siguro ganoon, sa aking tingin, brothers Ejercito will not be on the same side,” said Drilon.

(It’s unlikely that Mark Villar will vote for a candidate whom his mother will not support. The same thing goes for the Cayetano siblings. The only ones who will vote differently, in my opinion, are the Ejercito brothers. They will not be on the same side.)

Drilon said Senator Risa Hontivero should be the minority leader being the lone opposition in the Senate.

“Those who will not vote for the senate president who will be elected would be considered as part of the minority bloc,” Drilon said.

Despite being a super majority, Angara said the Senate will not be a “rubberstamp” of the incoming administration.

“Even if there was a super majority during the Duterte administration, the members had very independent views kasi iba-iba ‘yung pananaw ng bawat senador eh. Iba't-ibang partido, iba't-ibang ideolohiya,” he said.

(Even if there was a supermajority during the Duterte administration, the members had very independent views. We also come from different parties and have different ideologies.)—Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA News