Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago could no longer hide her excitement at the thought of having a new Senate president to replace her rival, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
During the annual national convention of the Philippine Masons on Thursday, Santiago predicts President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III's ally will be the next Senate leader.
“On a numerical basis, it is highly probable that the next Senate President will come from the administration coalition, and will traditionally come from the oldest senators,” Santiago said.
“Since I am an Ilongo, I am happy to emphasize that virtually each one of these four contenders is a Visayan, or related to one,” she added.
The feisty senator was referring to Senators Sergio “Serge” Osmeña, Franklin Drilon, Cynthia Villar, or Teofisto “TG” Guingona III.
Osmeña hails from Cebu while Drilon got his education in Iloilo, where Villar’s father is from. Guingona's grandfather is from Guimaras Island.
Santiago came up with the forecast as she anticipates a radical change in the result of senatorial surveys with the upcoming release of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC)’s endorsement before April ends.
“The survey results released last Tuesday showed that in this snapshot in time, it is 9 - 3 for the administration coalition,” Santiago said.
“The conventional wisdom is that the top 9 are sure of winning; in this short list, it is 7 - 2 for the administration. But the INC vote might still trump the survey results,” she cautioned.
She explained that the bloc voting practiced by the INC, which reportedly has 9 million followers, “it looks like the next Senate will be predominantly composed of the following:
16 senators from the administration:
Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara
Paolo Benigno Aquino
Alan Peter Cayetano
Teofisto Guingona III
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
Sergio Osmeña III
Aquilino Pimentel III
Vicente Sotto III
Antonio Trillanes IV
5 senators from United Nationalist Alliance:
Juan Ponce Enrile
Gregorio Honasan or Jack Ponce Enrile
And 3 independent senators:
Ramon Revilla, Jr. (Lakas)
Lito Lapid (Lakas)
Miriam Defensor Santiago (People's Reform Party)
Philippine economic growth in the first quarter slowed to a three-year low of 5.2 percent, well below forecasts, due to lethargic government spending and weak exports, officials said Thursday. "While growth in the private sector remains robust, the slower than programmed pace of public spending, particularly the decline in public construction, has slowed down the overall growth of the economy," Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters. "Exports were the other source of the …