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MORE or less the post-election dust has settled, except for a number of election protests that have to do with Smartmatic’s newly uncovered tricks and smart-aleck tactics, amid the usual allegations of fraud, vote-buying, and cheating. Thus were the May elections hastily described by Comelec as the quickest count and most peaceful voting, as if quick and peaceful concommitantly meant honest.

At any rate, with the twin inaugurations of the President and Vice President coming up soon, it’s as good a time as any to thank the senators who will no longer be returning to the Senate, which after all is traditionally the “training ground for future presidents” of the Republic. On top of this list are four of 12 “graduates” whose initials spell an awesome S.O.M.E. – Santiago, Osmeña, Marcos, Enrile – because it will be hard to imagine a functioning Senate, right off the bat, without these four luminaries, and harder to guess, this early, which of the new faces will be able to shine. Will the veterans headed by Franklin Drilon and the “balik-Senado” winners allow the newbies to light up the chamber by teaching them the ropes a.s.a.p?

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, saying goodbye “with head bloodied but unbowed,” a public servant for 50 years, possessed of a brilliant lawyerly brain and the widest experience from Customs to DND and the architecture/engineering of Martial Law. Miriam Defensor Santiago, a constitutionalist and former judge with an acerbic tongue (and shapely legs), a sarcastic wit paired with bloodcurdling language if you happened to be her victim. Serge Osmeña – how could voters have missed him, after all those hearings where he asked the hardest and most pertinent questions? Ferdinand Marcos Jr., carrying the weight of his family name, who stopped the BBL in its tracks (and changed BBL to stand for “Bongbong’s Law”), the only political personality to bring out the sweet side of the tough-talking Mayor Duterte when the latter said, “I do not want to hurt Bongbong” by giving a position to VP-elect Leni Robredo.

If you haven’t noticed, one big change in the landscape of the 17th Congress of 24 senators is that this time, there’s no mother-son team, no pairing of siblings, no half-brothers feuding. (JULLIE Y. DAZA)