By Genalyn D. Kabiling and Ben R. Rosario
Malacañang is looking forward to working with new Senate President Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III on priority legislative measures after having good relations with his predecessor Sen. Koko Pimentel.
“Whoever the senators may choose as their Senate President, we assure the incoming Senate President of our willingness to work with him as we recognize that whoever the new Senate President would also be a close ally of the Palace,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said during a press conference in Malacañang.
Roque thanked Pimentel for the partnership with the government in the passage of administration bills under his watch.
“We would like to commend and express our appreciation also for the partnership that we had with Senate President Koko Pimentel,” he said.
“We know that we had landmark legislations enacted during his term of office. His includes the free tuition for all state universities and colleges, the free irrigation among others. Hindi po siguro naging, na-enact ang mga batas na iyan ng walang kooperasyon din ni Senate President Koko Pimentel,” he added.
Roque maintained that the Palace respects the latest leadership change in the Senate.
Meanwhile, members of the majority bloc in the House of Representatives lauded the ascension of Sotto, noting that hard work, humility, and high political “IQ” brought him to his new position.
However, opposition congressmen criticized Sotto’s election as the No. 3 most powerful person in the country.
Reps. Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers party-list) and Tom Villarin (Akbayan party-list) said Sotto and Pimentel serve at the pleasure of President Duterte.
Second year Rep. Mikee Romero (1-PACMAN party-list) lauded Sotto for being a “mentor” to newcomers in Congress, whether senators or congressmen.
“Unknown to many, he has played mentor not only to a lot of senators but congressmen like me, as well,” said Romero.
“He has a very high political IQ.”