While the final winners in the senatorial race have yet to be proclaimed, a number of names are already being floated for Senate president, a post now held by losing vice presidential candidate Senator Vicente Sotto III.
Outgoing Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Loren Legarda, who ranked No. 2 in the recently concluded senatorial race, is most qualified to become the next Senate president.
Legarda, who chaired the finance committee when she was last in the Senate, has not yet expressed an interest in the top post, however.
Reelectionist Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, on the other hand, has said he will seek the Senate presidency in the 19th Congress.
Running fourth in the ongoing partial and unofficial tally, Gatchalian will be on his second six-year term.
He said the biggest factor in winning the Senate presidency is the support of his colleagues who have different ideas and priorities.
“I have talked to some of our colleagues about that and of course, since I am a re-electionist and I have been in the Senate for the last six years, I’ve also some good plans for the institution,” he said during an interview with a news channel.
He denied reports that the 19th Congress has already chosen the next Senate President.
“Of course, the new senators should be proclaimed first and they should occupy the seats first to form the new 19th Congress Senate,” Gatchalian said.
Other names that have been floated are Senator Cynthia Villar, returning senator Francis Escudero, and re-electionist Senator Miguel Zubiri.
Incumbent Senator Ronald Dela Rosa recently voiced his preference for Villar.
“She is the most senior and number one in terms of showing good leadership,” he said during a television interview.
Actor Robin Padilla; returning Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Jinggoy Estrada, and JV Ejercito; broadcast journalist Raffy Tulfo, former Public Works secretary Mark Villar; and reelectionists Joel Villanueva and Risa Hontiveros are the others in the top 12 of the unofficial tally.
Aside from Villar and Dela Rosa, they will join Senators Christopher Go, Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Aquilino Pimentel III, Bong Revilla, and Francis Tolentino.
If the top 12 won’t change, there will be two sibling tandems (Cayetanos and Ejercito-Estrada) and one mother-son pair (Villars) in the 19th Congress.