THE Pangilinan-Villar match for the Senate presidency would have to confront another contender following the disclosure of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile that some of his colleagues want to field him for the post.

“They told me that there is a growing consensus. As far as they were concerned, they would want me to handle the Senate. I said if that is the consensus, then so be it,” said Enrile.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

However, he was quick to clarify that he is not seeking the position and has not talked to any member of the Senate to ask for their votes.

Senator Vicente Sotto III earlier said that both Senator Francis Pangilinan and Senator Manny Villar do not have enough votes, 13 in this instance, to be elected as Senate President.

Pangilinan, so far, only has the support of Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, Jinggoy Estrada, Francis "Chiz" Escudero, and detained Antonio Trillanes IV.

Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Alan Peter Cayetano, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Pia Cayetano, and Joker Arroyo will meanwhile support Villar.

Senator Edgardo Angara's bloc composed of Sotto, Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Lito Lapid, and Ramon Bong Revilla are still undecided.

But Honasan and Sotto have already talked with Enrile, the former Senate President confirmed.

Enrile earlier expressed support to whoever the majority party will be fielding as its bet.

"I said all along that whoever is the candidate of the Liberal Party -- Kiko, Drilon or Chiz or any body, I would cast my vote in their favor," he added.

Pangilinan, in a separate statement, ensured that the Senate will have a new leader when it opens session on July 26.

“We will work to ensure that this is achieved. We trust that our senators realize the urgent and pressing need to establish a working majority in the chamber to ensure that we are united in helping solve the country's many problems. Without this unity, we cannot deliver,” Pangilinan said.

‘Friendly Senate’

Malacañang, for its part, supported an Enrile presidency in the Senate, if he wins, stressing that the important thing is to have a “friendly” Senate.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the executive branch is leaving it to the Senate to decide who would be its next President.

“May sarili po silang pamamaraan ng pag-halal ng kanilang Senate President. So wala po kaming control doon. We respect whatever the decision of the Senate as a body will decide,” he said.

But Lacierda earlier said Aquino supports Pangilinan’s bid because they are both members of the Liberal Party, among others.

Asked if it is all right for the Palace if Panglinan does not get the post, Lacierda said: "What’s important is we will have a friendly Senate”.

“I’m sure that we will try our very best to cooperate with the Senate and the House. We have to advance our legislative agenda, so we will have to work one way or the other with whoever will be the Senate President,” he added. (Kathrina Alvarez/JMR/Sunnex)