Senate revamp: Sotto takes over
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III was named Senate President Monday to replace Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, who nominated him as his replacement.
“I do this nomination without any reservation because I know with my close association with him, he is deserving,” Pimentel said in his manifestation, which went unchallenged.
Pimentel also said Sotto is an institution not only in the Senate, but in the fields of show business, music, and sports.
The minority bloc composed of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes, and Leila de Lima abstained from voting.
Drilon manifested on record their abstention to maintain their position as minority and opposition.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri was elected Senate Majority Leader, assuming the post vacated by Sotto.
With his new position, Zubiri automatically became the chairman of the Senate committee on rules. He relinquished chairmanship of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, which Pimentel will now chair.
Except for the two highest posts, there was no other movement in the chairmanship of committees.
Asked about the timing of the leadership turnover, Pimentel said it was “a good time” to give the new Senate president the opportunity to achieve something.
Fifteen senators out of the 23 senators signed a draft resolution that sought the reorganization of the Senate and the election of Sotto as Senate president.
Those who signed the resolution were Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan II, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, Zubiri, and Grace Poe.
“It has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve the Senate as its President, a position once held by my father,” Pimentel said. “He served the Senate with dignity, always staying true to his principles and consistently putting the interests of our nation before his—and it was his example I had tried to emulate during my time at the helm of the Senate.”
Pimetnel said that he would promote federalism, a key initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP Laban.
“I will go around the country, on my personal time, to help explain to the people what Federalism is all about and how the country will benefit from it,” he said.
As the president of PDP Laban, Pimentel said it is also his duty to prepare the party for its participation nationwide in the 2019 polls.
The president of PDP-Laban said the party was still finalizing its roster of 12 senatorial candidates.
Responding to a query, Pimentel said his achievements include the passage of laws that delivered on Duterte’s campaign promises, including free tuition, free irrigation and higher pay for uniformed personnel.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday wished Sotto the best of luck.
“We from the House of Representatives wish him luck and we are hoping for an improved passage of legislation,” Alvarez said.
Pimentel was replaced, some senators said, because he did not stand up for the Senate when Alvarez attacked it over a proposal to amend the Constitution.