Sen. Pres. Pimentel assures fair leadership, law enactment towards change
admin • July 25, 2016 • 2080
QUEZON CITY — The session of the 17th Congress formally commenced this morning.
In Senate, newbie senators took their oath of office first before formally voting for their new senate president.
Senator Vicente Sotto III first moved to nominate Senator Koko Pimentel and seconded by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Senator Chiz Escudero followed suit and nominated Sen. Ralph Recto.
After voting, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III was elected the new senate president after he received 20 out of 23 votes of the senators present.
“Hence, I pledge before all of you today that I will be fair in carrying out the mandate that you have given me as senate president
If we follow the mantra, the poorest first, the poor second then we will never go wrong.
Sen. Recto was named the minority leader while Sen. Frankling Drilon was named the senate president pro-tempore and Sen. Sotto as the majority floor leader.
Member senators of the majority bloc are senators Vicente Sotto III, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Franklin Drilon, Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay, Leila De Lima, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan II, Risa Hontiveros, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III.
Members of the minority bloc are senators Chiz Escudero, Antonio Trillanes IV and Ralph Recto.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was absent as he signified before his interest in the senate presidency.
But on his social media account, Cayetano said he is ready to support the programs of the government towards change.
According to senate president Pimentel, assigning of committee chairmanship is expected to be finalized this week in order for senate to begin work.
Some senators are still not sold on the idea of instilling changes in the 1987 Constitution in the 18th Congress.
This, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s manifestations of pursuing the charter change.
Senator Franklin Drilon said it is still uncertain as to how senators will vote on the proposed constitutional amendment.
Drilon said, “(It is) difficult to predict at this time how the senators will vote. Senate prides itself as independent of Malacañang.”
“Plus, I sense that a number of my colleagues have a “moist eye” on the Presidency in 2022, and may not support an amendment which may lead to a shift to federalism,” he added.
Liberal Party president, Senator Francis Pangilinan, who held the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, meanwhile, said the fate of the charter change will depend on composition of the Senate.
“That all depends on the majority. We will see how it goes given the new composition of the Senate,” Pangilinan said.
Senator Ralph Recto, on the other hand, said he still wants to have the cha-cha proposal scrutinized.
“We’ll have to take a look at details of the cha-cha proposal,” he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, believes that majority of the senators have not wavered in their stance regarding the charter change.
“It’s a little more complicated than what the President and the House want. Why? We are simply back to the same question, which is to clarify the ambiguity of the provision in the Constitution that deals with the manner of voting by Congress constituting itself into a constituent assembly,” Lacson said.
He further said, “Again, in doing so, we are faced with a chicken and egg situation. If it’s via ConCom, do we have enough time to accomplish it before the end of his term?”
Neophyte senator Francis Tolentino, however, believes that the passage of the proposed change in the form of government can still happen during President Duterte’s term.
“Tapos na yung preparatory work ng ConCom. Yung ginawa ni former Justice Puno [The preparatory work in ConCom is finished. What former Justice Puno did], it was commissioned by the executive branch. May napadala na silang report at nasa infancy stage na yung kauna unahang version nito yung sa Bangsamoro. Hindi pa siguro huli ang lahat [They were able to send their report and the very first version of it – the Bangsamor- is already at the infancy stage. Maybe it’s not yet too late,” Tolentino said.
The proposed charter change was able to slightly move in the Lower House during the 17th Congress.
It was, however, stalled in the Senate until the Congress adjourned. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
Senator Panfilo Lacson has drafted a resolution that aimed at assuring that Senate President Vicente Sotto III will keep his leadership in the Upper Chamber of Congress.
He said the idea came from Senator Manny Pacquiao.
“Actually, the idea was originally proposed by Sen Manny Pacquiao. The resolution to be routed is about a vote of confidence in the leadership of SP Sotto,” Lacson said.
He added that this move was prompted by the “insinuations made by Senators-elect Marcos and Tolentino for a leadership change for whatever motives they have — whether it’s posturing to get their desired committee chairmanships or serious attempts to elect a new Senate leader.”
Even Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had also refused to further comment on the issue that floats the name of Senator Cynthia Villar in the Senate presidency.
“I won’t comment on the push for Senator Villar by the newly elected senators as I’m close to both Villar and Sotto. However, my last conversation with Tita Cynthia was that she was not interested. And, yes, I will sign the Manifesto for SP Sotto,” Zubiri said.
Villar had earlier on signified that she has no interest on the said position.
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