If he fails to make them happy, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile may face possible ouster moves from colleagues disgruntled over the distribution of committee assignments in the Senate.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago made the assessment Sunday, saying that there is a big possibility that a coup may be in the offing as some members have expressed disappointment over the distribution of key committees in the ongoing reorganization of the chamber.
Santiago, who has yet to attend her first Senate session since the 15th Congress convened last July 26, said that in the history of the Senate, no Senate President “can sleep comfortably” in the course of his six-year term as a legislator because any moment, he can be ousted from his post by another senator who gains the support of at least 13 senators.
With this, Santiago said she is certain that a senator from the Liberal Party (LP) or the Nacionalista Party (NP) will try to aspire for the Senate leadership in the course of six years.
“Ah yes…maski iba ang sitwasyon ngayon, talagang may susubok at susubok gawin yan in the course of six years. Walang Senate President nakakatulog ng mahimbing sa loob ng anim na taon dahil maski anong oras ‘pag meron diyan may disgusto or kahit walang disgusto basta gusto lang niya ipakita ang lakas niya, magkukudeta sila, ibig sabihin i-overthrow nila ang incumbent,” Santiago said over Radio DZBB.
Enrile, in a separate interview, said he hopes to finalize the committee assignments within the week. He said only two or three committees are being contested.
“Palagay ko. We will be able to finish it within the week,” Enrile said.
But Santiago warned that the squabble among senators eyeing choice committees could be a “major factor” for Enrile’s ouster.
“Sigurado iyon. Malaking factor iyon dahil maski magkaroon muna sila ng status quo. Ibig sabihin ganito na lang muna, hindi maiwasan yan, meron diyan mga galit, meron nagtitimpi lang dahil na-i-inggit,” Santiago said.
“Meron pakiramdam nila ay di naman makatarungan yung ginawa na pag distribute sa committee chairmanship. Iyan talaga ang the devil's handiwork sa Senado, committee chairmanships,” added Santiago.
She said she has chosen to go with the minority bloc, and will still support the NP’s candidate Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. whom she ran with during the May 2010 elections.
The Senate minority bloc is currently led by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, and has Senators Joker Arroyo and Pia Cayetano as its members.
Villar, she said, was able to secure 13 votes for the Senate Presidency until one of the senators backtracked. Villar then chose to support Enrile as a “compromise candidate.”
“Si Sen. Villar, nag-acclamation in effect. Bumoto sila for the incumbent Senate president dahil iyun ang usapan. May usapan sila na… let’s just live together. We don't need to convince each other, so piliin natin muna itong isa para makatrabaho ang Senado,” Santiago said.
“Kaya maaasahan mo sa susunod na buwan, bawat LP at NP ay susubukan pa rin nila na makakuha ng 13. Di pa tapos ang istoryang yan,” she said.
Santiago also said that the Senate is willing to help the new administration.
Hannah Torregoza, Manila Bulletin