By Hannah L. Torregoza and Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola
Sen. Koko Pimentel yesterday stepped down as Senate President and nominated Sen. Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III as his successor who took over the Senate leadership yesterday afternoon.
Pimentel announced his resignation in a press briefing, days after members of the Senate majority bloc signed a draft resolution supporting a reorganization of the chamber and electing Sotto as the new Senate chief.
“I am together with my colleagues in the Senate majority in this reorganization of the Senate leadership and announce that I will be the one to nominate Sen. Vicente Sotto III as the new Senate President today, May 21, 2018,” he said in a prepared speech.
Sixteen senators, including Pimentel, signed the resolution. Fifteen of the 17-member majority bloc signed the document over the weekend.
The resolution was adopted in the Senate session yesterday afternoon which formally marked Sotto’s assumption as the 24th Senate President.
The erstwhile Senate Majority Leader then took his oath of office before Sen. Gringo Honasan.
Sotto, in his acceptance speech, pledged to continue helping in the passage of laws that would be beneficial to the country and to every Filipino and uphold the independence of the Senate.
“To my colleagues and to the Filipino people, I am committed to do my very best, and with your help, I am confident that I have in my background the template of the nine other Senate Presidents that I have served,” Sotto said in his speech.
“Ang kaalaman na matututunan saan mang unibersidad sa mundo ay hindi maaring maitapat sa karanasan at karunungan na aking makukuha mula kina Senate President Neptali Gonzales, Edgardo Angara, Ernesto Maceda, Marcelo Fernan, Blas Ople, Franklin Drilon, Nene Pimentel Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile, at Koko Pimentel,” Sotto said.
Sotto also said that never in his dreams that he thought he would be able to lead the Senate.
“Ni sa panaginip ay hindi sumagi sa aking isipan na ako ay maluluklok bilang Pangulo ng Senado,” Sotto narrated.
“Napakatayog ng mga dating personalidad na nanungkulan bilang Senate President, magmula kay President Manuel Luis Quezon, hanggang sa ating Senate President Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III.”
“Sa bisa lamang ng prinsipyo ng demokrasya na ang kagustuhan ng nakararami ang siyang mananaig, ay narito ako ngayon na tinatanggap ang hamon na inyong iniatas sa akin bilang Pa ngulo ng Senado,” Sotto said.
He said he would prioritize the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, the Public Service Act, and Universal Health Care Act, among others, in the next two weeks of Senate sessions.
“All the priority bills of both the Senate and the House and the Executive branch would still be prioritized. We will not change that,” he said.
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