Sotto reelected Senate President
MANILA, Philippines – As expected, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III retained his post when the Senate opened its first regular session of the 18th Congress on Monday.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto temporarily served as the presiding officer to pave the way for the election of the Senate leader.
It was Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who nominated Sotto as Senate president, and was seconded by Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Returning Senator Pia Cayetano, in behalf of Recto and the Nacionalista Party (NP), also nominated Sotto.
No other candidate for the post was nominated, which prompted Recto to call for a viva voce voting.
Three opposition senators — Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros, abstained.
In nominating Sotto, Zubiri cited the over 400 bills passed into law during the former’s leadership in the 17th Congress.
“Sen. Sotto’s legislative career speaks for itself, so I will say that on a more personal level, I believe he is the best man for this job,” Zubiri said.
He also described the Senate leader as a “great mentor, generous with his wealth of knowledge and experience.”
“He is a man of great intellect, but also a man of great humor, knowing just how to break tension, form camaraderie, and keep a productive atmosphere on the floor. He is an accomplished artist with an intimate line of connection to the hearts of the Filipino people,” Zubiri said.
“Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is a workhorse, an institution in the Senate, a man of the people. And, I hope you all agree with me, he is the Senate President we need for this Congress,” he added.
After the election, Sotto immediately took his oath, administered by Lacson.
Even before the adjournment of the 17th Congress in June, the Senate adopted a resolution, expressing support for Sotto’s continued leadership in the upper chamber.
The resolution was signed by majority of senators, including three, whose terms have already expired last June 30.
Neophyte Senator Imee Marcos’ earlier disclosed that someone had been lobbying for Senator Cynthia Villar “to step in.”
“So sa ngayon, it’s clearly Senate President (Vicente “Tito”) Sotto although I’ve heard sabi sina Francis Tolentino daw there’s some kind of move to push Senator Cynthia…” Marcos said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on May 30, 2019.
But Villar, wife of former Senate President Manny Villar and president of NP, quickly dismissed such speculations.
Aside from Sotto, other officials of the Senate also retained their posts — Recto as Senate President Pro Tempore, Zubiri as chairman of the Senate committee on rules and Senator Franklin Drilon as Minority Leader.
Myra Marie D. Villarica and retired MGen Edgardo Rene C. Samonte were also elected as Senate Secretary and Sergeant-at-Arms, respectively. /gsg
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