Status quo: Tito Sotto reelected as Senate president

Aika Rey
Status quo: Tito Sotto reelected as Senate president
(3rd UPDATE) Despite initial reports of neophytes wanting a change in leadership, the old leaders remain: Juan Miguel Zubiri as Majority Leader, Ralph Recto as Senate President Pro-Tempore, and Franklin Drilon as Minority Leader

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – It’s status quo in the upper chamber as Senator Vicente Sotto III was reelected as Senate President on Monday morning, July 22.

On the opening of the 18th Congress, the Senate passed a resolution reelecting Sotto as its leader.

Sotto was reelected via viva voce. Senators Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros abstained.

The Senate leadership is unshaken too. Senator Ralph Recto kept his post as Senate President Pro-Tempore, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri as Majority Leader, and Senator Franklin Drilon as Minority Leader.

As he retook the post, Sotto vowed that the Senate would remain independent under his watch.

“To reiterate the vow that I made when I first took this post, we will continue to nourish the trust and confidence that our country has bestowed to us by ensuring that the Senate will remain cooperative but independent, balanced, transparent, and sincere,” Sotto said.

Sotto served the Senate top post starting May 2018, in a term-sharing agreement with Senator Aquilino Pimentel III during the 17th Congress.

During his term, the Senate rejected the draft charter of former House Speaker Gloria Arroyo, citing lack of time for deliberations, and urged President Rodrigo Duterte to veto P95 billion worth of post-bicam realignments made by the House of Representative in the 2019 national budget.

Prior to the opening of the new Congress, Sotto said he was “confident” that he would still lead the Senate, amid talks of an ouster plot by newly-elected and reelected senators allied with President Duterte.

Weeks after the May 2019 polls, neophyte Senator Francis Tolentino reportedly wanted to install as Senate President Cynthia Villar, who topped the 2019 midterm elections. (READ: Amid Senate leadership row, Pimentel tells Villar: Mind your own party)

On Saturday, July 20, Sotto held a caucus, which was attended by all senators, except for Senator Manny Pacquiao, who was in Las Vegas for a boxing match against Keith Thurman.

Sotto said “all issues have been settled” prior to the Saturday meeting, which served as a briefing for new senators. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.