Senators Mark Villar and Joseph Victor Ejercito were designated on Tuesday as deputy majority leaders of the upper chamber.
Meanwhile, Sen. Cynthia Villar has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, but attended Tuesday’s session online.
Villar, a neophyte in the Senate, and Ejercito, a come backing senator, were also be members of all permanent committees, along with Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who was earlier designated as Assistant Minority Leader.
Hontiveros is the lone opposition senator who won in the last May 9 elections.
The first Senate Commitee on Rules hybrid hearing, chaired by Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, also tackled a proposal to create the Committees on Arts and Culture and Migrant Workers.
The committee also discussed the expansion of the Committee on Cultural Communities to include Muslim Affairs.
Present during the meeting were Senators Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Villar, Win Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano and Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
The 72-year old Sen. Cynthia Villar became the third member of the chamber to be afflicted with the coronavirus over the past two weeks.
Despite her current condition, Villar went virtual to attend yesterday’s session.
“I’m present,” Villar said when her name was called on the plenary.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri announced that Villar and two other senators- Alan Peter Cayetano and Imee Marcos—who were also afflicted with the virus, were virtually present.
Meanwhile, a staff of Cayetano said the lawmaker is just completing his isolation period.
“He will be back to the Senate next week,” the source said.
On Monday, Zubiri announced that Imee Marcos has been suffering from a “raging fever.” She wrote him a letter, saying she was COVID positive.
While not expounding on her condition, Marcos then greeted her colleagues and said, “See you soon.”
During the first wave of COVID-19 last January, Pimentel, Sen. Sonny Angara, Zubiri. and Sen. Win Gatchalian also COVID positive.
To avert the spread of the virus, the Senate leadership imposed stricter health protocols inside the Senate building.
Visitors entering the building are bound to present results of RT-PCR (swab tests) for the next 48 hours or anti-gen test results within the next 24 hours issued by a DOH-accredited hospital.
Loitering at the hallways of the six-storey Senate building was disallowed.
Sen. Francis Escudero, who was earlier exposed to COVID, has been attending the Senate sessions since Monday when he went on Self-quarantine.