Press Release
July 26, 2010

Enrile voted as unity Senate President

In an unprecedented show of unity, senators elected Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as Senate President of the First Regular Session of the 15th Congress during the chamber's opening session this morning.

"What happened here today is unique in the long political history of our country," said Enrile, who took his oath before former Senate President Frank Drilon, who acted as temporary presiding officer during the opening session. Present during his oath-taking were Vice President Jejomar Binay, former President Joseph Estrada and Mrs. Cristina Ponce Enrile.

"We have set aside the partisan-political divide that separates us to arrive at a consensus to elect the head of this House. It signals the unity that is solely needed by our country today. The Senate will be strengthened, no doubt, by the singular act of unity amongst its members," Enrile added.

Enrile got an overwhelming vote of 17 out of the 20 senators present. His only rival, Sen. Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party, who was nominated by Sen. Joker Arroyo, garnered three votes. Cayateno was later elected Minority Floor Leader.

In his short speech, Enrile vowed to discharge his duties and responsibilities as Senate President "with honor, with total devotion to our institution and all fairness to all members."

"It is a sign of the emerging spirit in our land and it augurs well for our national community," said Enrile, who ran in the May senatorial elections under the Puwersa Ng Masang Pilipino Party. "No partisan consideration will blur or color the treatment of any member in this Senate under my charge."

Senator Jinggoy Estrada was unanimously reelected as the Senate Pro Tempore. He was nominated by Senator Ramon Revilla Jr.

Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III was voted majority floor leader and concurrent chairman of the Senate committee on rules. Senate Secretary Emma Lirio-Reyes and Sergeant-At-Arms Gen. Jose Balajadia retained their respective posts.

During the opening session, Sen. Francis Panglinan administered the oath of office of the 12 new senators. They are Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmena III, Ralph Recto, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Pia Cayetano, Lito Lapid, Enrile, Drilon, Sotto, Revilla and Estrada.

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

The session was suspended until 4 p.m. as the senators were to proceed to the House of Representatives in Quezon City for a joint session of Congress to hear the President's State of the Nation Address.

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