MANILA, Philippines – Around 40 former and incumbent senators convened at the old Congress building on Wednesday, October 5, to celebrate the Philippine Senate’s hundred-year legacy of service to Filipinos.
They marked the Senate’s 100th year through a Senate Centennial Dinner and Reunion held at the old Congress building in Manila, which now houses the National Museum.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III led the incumbent senators, along with Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senate Minority Ralph Recto, and Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Risa Hontiveros, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.
The former senators at the event included former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, former Vice President Noli de Castro, former Senate presidents Juan Ponce Enrile and Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr, along with Heherson Alvarez, Rodolfo Biazon, Nikki Coseteng, Rene Espina, former First Lady Loi Estrada, Edgardo Ilarde, Eva Kalaw, former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, Joey Lina Jr, Jun Magsaysay Jr, Orly Mercado, Santanina Rasul, Wigberto Tañada Sr, Francisco Tatad, and Victor Ziga.
‘Dedication, devotion to Filipino people’
In his keynote address, Koko Pimentel said the Philippine Senate has continued to be a vibrant repository of the country’s democratic ideals for the last hundred years.
“Why has the Senate lasted this long? Because all of us who have served the Senate – and that means all of us here – have served with utmost dedication and devotion to the best interests of the Filipino people,” he said.
Pimentel said that throughout the years, different generations of senators have passed relevant laws, checked abuses in government, and concurred in beneficial treaties but also “rejected some which were deemed not to be to the best interests of the nation.” The Senate has also performed its check-and-balance function as an impeachment court, he added.
Star-studded reunion, performances
Three former Senate presidents were at the event – Drilon (2000; 2001- 2004; 2004- 2006; 2013- 2016), Enrile (2008- 2010; 2010- 2013), and Koko’s father, Nene Pimentel (2000-2001).
The centennial anniversary also featured performances from the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and singer Dulce, along with a well-applauded traditional dance performance of the Senate Spouses Foundation Incorporated led by Bing Pimentel, the mother of the current Senate President.
Check out the photos from the celebration: