Press Release
July 23, 2010

Senate resumes sessions for start of 15th Congress

The Senate will resume its regular session on Monday to open the 15th Congress of the Philippines. Senators will later proceed to the House of Representatives for a joint session of Congress that will listen to the traditional State of the Nation's Address (SONA) of President Beningo "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Senate Secretary Emma Lirio-Reyes will open the session as directed by 14th Congress Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, but will eventually turn over the Chair to a designated presiding officer after the ceremonial prayer and the national anthem.

The presiding officer will administer the oath of office to the 12 newly-elected senators before it will proceed to the matter of electing a new set of officers. The senators will then proceed to the House of Representatives in Quezon City in the afternoon to attend a joint session of Congress and will hear the President's SONA.

The new senators are Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of former President Ferdinand Marcos who ran under the ticket of the Nacionalista Party in the last elections, and Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, son of former Vice President Teofisto Guingona who ran under the Liberal Party.

Comebacking Senators Franklin Drilon, LP national chairman, Sergio "Serge" Osmena III, who ran as guest candidate of the LP and the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino of the Liberal Party, Ralph Recto of the LP and Tito Sotto of the National People's Coalition, will rejoin reelectionist senators Enrile, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Lito Lapid, Pia Cayetano and Jinggoy Estrada.

The other senators who will compose the 15th Congress Senate are Eduardo Angara, Joker Arroyo, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes, Manny Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Reyes said the senators will go on a caucus before the session starts to decide on a new Senate President or to appoint a temporary presiding officer in the event that no contender can muster the 13 votes needed to win the Senate Presidency.

"There will be two possible scenarios," Reyes said. "If one of the contenders for the Senate Presidency has garnered the 13 votes then an election will be held."

However, she explained, a temporary Senate President will be designated to preside over Senate proceedings until a new Senate President will be elected.

"Usually, by this time, they already know whom to nominate. This is the first time na malapit na ang session at hindi pa alam kung sino ang magiging Presidente. Ibig sabihin, matindi talaga ang laban," Reyes revealed. Media reports have said that a three-cornered fight looms in the race for the Senate Presidency. The contenders are Enrile, Senator and defeated presidential candidate Manny Villar and Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan.

Sen. Edgardo Angara earlier said a group of senators was pushing for Enrile to run as Senate President following reports that neither Pangilinan nor Villar has been able to so far to gather the needed 13 votes.

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