Press Release
July 21, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today said he is confident there will be a Senate President come 26 July when joint session of Congress opens. Angara said this in response to speculations of a possible vacuum of power in the Senate, emphasizing that "the Senate is a sacred institution, whose leadership cannot be left empty."

The issue of a new Senate President, Angara clarified, is also separate from the question of who will preside over the opening of the 15th Congress on Monday.

"The opening of the joint session on Monday is a ceremonial duty of the SP--whether it is the incumbent Senator Juan Ponce Enrile or the newly elected SP. Sen. Enrile himself has a very high regard of the Senate as an institution, and he himself would not want to see the position empty when Congress opens," Angara clarified.

Earlier media reports have contended that Enrile "refuses to sit as presiding officer of the joint opening of Congress Monday owing to his having no mandate." But Angara said it is ideal that Enrile preside on Monday's opening as the composition of the Senate has a consensus of his leadership.

"It is a matter of symbolism for this case. Symbolism is very important, especially because we are opening Congress under a new government. We are careful not to create a false impression that there is no cooperation in the Senate because that is not the case," Angara said.

Angara, himself a former Senate President, assured the general public that he and his colleagues in the Senate are in full cooperation on deciding the next leader; and that they will also be cooperative with each other when the new SP has been declared.

"It will be very embarrassing for us as an institution if it appears that amongst ourselves there is no cooperation--even in the most mundane 'housekeeping chore' in the Senate for us. This is why, if there is no decision by 25 July on our next leader, we will all meet in the morning of Monday before the opening of the joint session. We will not even argue or put up a debate; we will just agree on a consensus," Angara said.

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