Press Release
July 22, 2019

Sotto retains Senate Presidency

No major changes happened when the Senate opened the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress today, Monday, with the re-election of incumbent officials, led by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri nominated Sotto to the position as Senate President Pro-tempore Ralph Recto temporarily served as the presiding officer.

Recto and Zubiri were also re-elected to their current posts, while Sen. Francis Pangilinan nominated Sen. Franklin Drilon to the Senate Minority Leader postition.

Senate Secretary Myra Marie Villarica also retained her post while the new Sergeant-at-Arms, retired M/Gen Edgardo Rene C. Samonte, replaced retired M/Gen. Jose Balajadia Jr.,who resigned from his post before passing away last July 7.

Come-backing Sen. Pia Cayetano, in behalf of Recto, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson seconded Sotto's nomination.

No other candidate for the post was nominated, prompting Recto to call for a viva voce voting. Members of the minority bloc - - Drilon, Pangilinan and Sen. Risa Hontiveros abstained.

There were 22 senators present when the session opened. Absent were Sen. Leila de Lima who is in detention at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who is still in Las Vegas, USA after his boxing victory over Keith Thurman

After the election, Sotto immediately took his oath, administered by Lacson. With Sotto were his wife Helen Gamboa and children Ciara, Gian Carlo, Romina and Diorella.

Zubiri, in his nomination speech, described Sotto as "one of our most esteemed statesmen today" who "has had a long and accomplished legislative career that has been marked by numerous elections as both Minority and Majority Leader, prior to his Senate Presidency."

"No one is more familiar with the ways of the Senate than he is," Zubiri said, noting that the Senate chief is the longest-serving senator in the country today, having been in the institution for the past 22 years.

The Majority Leader said under Sotto's leadership, the Senate ended the 17th Congress with 406 bills passed into law and 186 more "in the pipeline."

In his acceptance speech, Sotto said "to be elected by those so elected, as you did to me, is so much more humbling than a greater source of pride."

"You have gifted me the honor of being your Senate President," Sotto said, stressing that the context of the position is different from what is usually understood.

"I did not become your superior; I am simply a presider of your sessions. Any concept other than this is misplaced and unwarranted. Additionally, I am your listener, your adviser if you so desire, your enabler for anything within my power to do so," he added.

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