Senate President Sotto still enjoys support of colleagues in 18th Congress

Maris Federez   •   May 31, 2019   •   2234

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

With the opening of Congress on July 22, new faces in the Senate and the House of Representatives will have their mettle tested in the world of politics.

Neophyte senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Christopher “Bong” Go, Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino, who form part of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago-PDP bloc, are ready to set foot in the Senate.

Amid rumors of division in the Senate on committee chairmanship, Senator Cynthia Villar’s name has been floating to be the bloc’s bet for Senate Presidency.

Majority of the incumbent senators, however, have signified their support to the current leadership of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

 “I think Sen. Sotto will keep the Senate presidency,” said Senator Richard Gordon.

In a text message, Senator-elect Bong Go, stressed that he doesn’t know of any move that is pushing anyone in the Senate leadership, particularly that of Senator Villar.

Even Senator Villar, herself, said that she is not interested to become the Senate president.

Senate President Sotto, on the other hand, stated that even the mentioned incoming senators have also expressed their support to him.

He admitted that the support of his colleagues in the Senate is very crucial in his leadership.

“The Senate presidency is always at the pleasure of the members of the majority,” he added.

Other names floating to possibly replace Senator Sotto in the Senate leadership are that of Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Lacson, Sotto test negative for illegal drugs

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo Lacson and running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday (November 22) underwent voluntary drug testing at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) office in Diliman, Quezon City, and tested negative for drug use, a statement from the Partido Reporma said.

Earlier in the day, Sotto said: “Magkaalaman na kung sino matatapang”.

The Lacson-Sotto tandem said their move was to show that they are drug-free and fit to run in the 2022 national and local elections.

Sotto earlier said that ordinary drug tests only determine “shabu” or  “marijuana” use.

However, the PDEA test that they took, he said, is a ‘’multi-drug one-step immunometric assay for the detection of drugs of abuse in urine.’’

In the statement, Lacson said he and Sotto took a multi-drug screening procedure, which is capable of detecting all types of illegal substances in a human body. They both tested negative for illegal drugs.

The tandem went through all the protocols from the signing up of forms to the submission of their urine samples where an attending physician monitored them closely to ensure the authenticity of the tests.

Last Friday, Lacson suggested Friday conducting a random drug test to candidates following President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement on an unnamed presidential candidate who was into cocaine.

“I have never been addicted to drugs all my life, so I have no problem with that. In fact, we should all undergo random testing to make it more credible,” he said.

Meanwhile, in an ambush interview in General Santos City, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go who is also running for president, reiterated that, although it is not mandatory, he is willing to undergo drug testing any time of the day.

“Ako naman po willing magpa-drug test anytime of the day. Anytime po kung kakailanganin,” Go said.

“Though hindi mandatory, pero just to prove lang po sa Pilipino kung sino yung fit na mamuno sa ating bansa ay willing po akong magpa-drug test, any time of the day po,” he added. —/mbmf

Go says lawmakers’ Palace meeting to show support for his, Duterte’s 2022 election bid

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with some lawmakers on Tuesday in Malacañang  was to declare support for his and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go’s candidacy in the 2022 elections.

In a statement, Go said the gathering of several members of the House of Representatives was held at the request of Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco.

“Nagkaroon po ng get-together kagabi sa Palasyo kasama ang iilang mga kongresista upon the request of the leadership of the House of Representatives upang magpakita ng supporta sa akin at sa Pangulo,” he said.

Go is running for president while Duterte is gunning for a Senate seat under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) party.

The senator expressed gratitude for Velasco and other solons’ declaration of support for their candidacies.

“Ako po ay nagagalak at nagpapasalamat sa kanilang patuloy na pagtitiwala sa amin. Ito po ay nagbibigay inspirasyon sa akin na ipagpatuloy ang ating layunin na matulungan ang mas maraming Pilipino,” he said.

Photos shared by Go to the media showed him and Duterte with Velasco and other solons.

Malacañang earlier confirmed that Duterte met with some lawmakers on Tuesday night for “an informal and relaxed gathering.”

The Palace did not mention the names of the attendees but said that many of these lawmakers are “friends” of the president dating back to his days as mayor of Davao City.

The meeting was held after Duterte filed his certificate of candidacy for senator and Go declared his presidential bid through substitution.

Defense chief Lorenzana says Parlade claim on Bong Go controlling Duterte ‘baseless’

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana belied the claims of retired military general and presidential aspirant Antonio Parlade Jr. that former aide and now Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has been controlling the decisions of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Parlade made the claim when he filed his certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 elections as substitute of Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino Party.

He is running against Go and several other presidential candidates.

The retired general claimed that Go was “among the country’s problems” and that it was common knowledge among officers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines that Go “controls” Duterte’s decisions.

But Lorenzana rejected his claims.

“Lt. Gen Parlade’s statement is baseless,” the defense chief said in a statement.

“In the years I have known the President, he has always been his own man. The President stands by his own decisions, has always been firm in his directives to us, who are working for him, and is not as easily swayed or influenced by others as purported by the general,” he added.

Parlade became controversial when he was still in active military service and serving as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for red-tagging some celebrities and other activists.

He resigned from the task force in June before retiring in July 2021 as commander of AFP Southern Luzon Command when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 56. He was appointed as deputy director general of the National Security Council in September.

He said he decided to file his candidacy as he “cannot align himself” with Go.

In defense of Go, Lorenzana said the senator has been the defense sector’s “main bridge” to Duterte.

“He has always been our main bridge to the President and I have not known any instance when SBG acted outside the wishes and decisions of the President,” he said.

Lorenzana disclosed that Go assisted the DND in ensuring the doubling of the salaries of the uniformed personnel as directed by the president when he was still serving as Special Assistant to the President.

“He has also been consistent in strongly supporting DND in all its programs and modernization efforts.
In all these endeavors, Bong Go’s support to the DND and AFP has not abated,” he said.

Lorenzana also denied Parlade’s claims that there was “brewing trouble or discontent in the AFP.”

“The AFP remains a professional organization that continues to work in the interest of the Filipino people, regardless of the prevailing political landscape,” he said.

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