GARNERING 20 votes, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III was elected Senate President as the 17th Congress opened yesterday.
Senator Franklin Drilon was elected Senate President Pro Tempore while Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III became the next Senate Majority Leader. The other nominee to the Senate presidency post, Sen. Ralph Recto, who got three votes, became the Senate Minority Leader.
It was Escudero who nominated Recto to be the next Senate head. Sotto nominated Pimentel to the Senate top post while comebacking Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri seconded Sotto’s nomination of Pimentel. When the voting was conducted, Pimentel received 20 votes. Recto got three votes which came from Escudero, Pimentel and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Neophyte Senator Manuel “Manny” Pacquiao led the oathtaking of Pimentel as the next Senate President. Pimentel’s father, who was once Senate President himself, former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. was present to witness his rise to the Senate presidency.
Yesterday’s opening of the 17th Congress saw the beginning of the six-year term of the four other neophyte senators namely, Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima and Joel Villanueva as well as comebacking senators Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano “snubbed” the opening of the 17th Senate. Present during yesterday’s formal opening of the upper chamber were Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, and Cynthia ViIlar.
In his speech nominating Pimentel, Zubiri said that it is his honor to nominate “a fellow Mindanaoan leader who in the past I’ve had the unfortunate experience of having as a bitter rival.”
“But today I leave all that bitterness behind us as a sign of unity, magnanimity and support for our people and our fellow Mindanaoan President (Rodrigo Duterte) who has made history for our region,” said Zubiri.
“Today three of the four highest positions of the land, the President of the Republic, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, all come from our southern region,” he said.
“I congratulate Senate President Pimentel, who is also making history for being the first son to repeat his father’s achievement in holding that position. No other father and son had held the position of Senate President in the 100-year history of the Senate,” he added.