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Senate, House open first session of 18th Congress

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate and the House of Representatives opened the first regular session of the 18th Congress on Monday morning, ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Both chambers of Congress officially opened their respective sessions at 10 a.m.

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In the Senate, 22 of 24 senators attended the opening of the session.

The only two who were unable to attend the session were Senator Manny Pacquiao, who is still in Las Vegas after his boxing match with Keith Thurman Sunday morning, and Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained at Camp Crame over drug charges.

Senators re-elected Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and  Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Other officials of the Senate, such as the Secretary and the Sergeant-at-Arms, were also elected.

In the House, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano was elected as the new Speaker.

The Senate and the House will hold a joint session at 4 p.m. at the Batasang Pambansa Complex to hear Duterte’s Sona.  /muf

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