MANILA- Tensions rose on Monday between the country's richest senators, Cynthia Villar and Manny Pacquiao, over support for the leadership of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Pacquiao, campaign manager of the ruling PDP-Laban, made the rounds at the Senate Monday to solicit signatures for a resolution expressing support for Sotto's leadership.
While several senators welcomed the resolution, Villar, who apparently is being egged on to seek the chamber's leadership, confronted Pacquiao on the move.
This as the boxer-senator approached Villar of the Nacionalista Party for her signature for the resolution.
"Bakit ako pipirma dyan? Kung ipahamak niyo ang aking kapartido? Ako nakapirma dyan. Hihintayin ko na maayos si Pia at si Imee. Diba tama yun?” Villar, referring to Senators-elect Pia Cayetano and Imee Marcos, irritatedly asked Pacquiao and walked out.
(Why would I sign that? What if you get my party mates in trouble if I sign that? I will wait for Pia and Imee. Isn't that right?)
"Huwag niyo ko idadamay sa away niyo. Bakit hindi niyo kausapin si Sotto at mga kapartido niyo para matapos ang gulong ito? Bakit ako isasali niyo?” she said after approaching Pacquiao anew.
(Don't include me in your feud. Why don't you talk to Sotto and your party mates to fix this mess? Why include me?)
Villar was also overheard complaining about Sotto apparently “dictating” the situation.
Sotto, a leader of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), has refused to comment on the circulating resolution.
Pacquiao, in an earlier interview, said the resolution was merely an expression of support for Sotto.
He also expressed confidence that Senators-elect Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino, and Christopher "Bong" Go would sign the resolution.
Dela Rosa, Tolentino, and Go are members of the PDP-Laban.
“Gusto lang natin na yung pag-divide ng committee maayos na,” Pacquiao said.
(We just want to settle the division of committees.)
Aside from Pacquiao, senators who have signed the resolution in support of Sotto so far are Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Panfilo Lacson, Gringo Honasan, Ralph Recto, Miguel Zubiri, Aqulino "Koko" Pimentel.