Allied senators, other pols take oath before Aquino



President Aquino poses with Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, and children Patricia, Jillian Therese and Jessica Marie, after swearing in Liberal Party lawmakers and administration allies at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang. LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines—Incoming administration-allied Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Alan Peter Cayetano, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV and Cynthia Villar took their oath of office Thursday before President Aquino in Malacañang. Their swearing in preceded the mass oath-taking of 78 new administration members of the House of Representatives.

The four were part of the nine administration candidates in the May 13 elections who won Senate seats. The other five—Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Juan Edgardo Angara and Aquilino Pimentel III—took their oaths before the President on June 13.

Among the new representatives, the one who caught everyone’s attention was Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur’s third district, the widow of Interior

Secretary Jesse Robredo, who was in a black terno. Leni Robredo was a reluctant candidate, forced into the spotlight after the death of her husband in a plane crash in August 2012. But she won a landslide victory against the entrenched Villafuerte clan of Camarines Sur.

A photo session with Aquino, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and presumptive Senate President Franklin Drilon followed.

Dynasties in evidence

Dynasties were in evidence, with Belmonte (Quezon City, fourth district) joined by a nephew, Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, who ran unopposed in the newly created sixth district.

Cabinet members Joseph Emilio Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications and Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority had siblings among the incoming House members: Rep. Francis Gerald Abaya (Cavite, first district) and Rep. Abraham Tolentino (Cavite, seventh district), respectively.

Cayetano came with his wife, reelected Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, while Bam Aquino came with his father, Paul Aquino, an uncle of the President.

Sen. Cynthia Villar turned up with her husband, outgoing Sen. Manuel Villar.

Some at the ceremony were seen as having managed to resurrect their careers or had passed on the torch to family members.

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