Pimentel elected as Senate president
(philstar.com) - July 25, 2016 - 10:40am

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 3 12:06 p.m.) —  After obtaining 20 votes, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III was elected as the new Senate president at the opening session of the 17th Congress on Monday.

Pimentel secured votes from the Senate majority coalition composed of incumbent Sens. Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda, Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Franklin Drilon, Cynthia Villar, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II and Grace Poe as well as returning Sens. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Richard “Dick” Gordon and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. Neophyte Sens. Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Leila De Lima also picked Pimentel.

Pimentel was nominated by Sotto and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

 

The newly elected Pimentel, who sought the Senate presidency after leading the campaign of his Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party-mate President Rodrigo Duterte, won over Ralph Recto.

Recto, who was nominated by Escudero and Trillanes, is now the Minority Floor Leader.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who earlier expressed intention of leading the Senate but later withdrew, was absent during the session.

Duterte earlier said he would not side with either Pimentel or Cayetano in the race for Senate president.

Pacquiao administered Pimentel's oath taking.

Priorities

Pimentel thanked his fellow senators for voting for him, a Mindanaoan and the sole representative of PDP-Laban.

He said he finds it "greatly gratifying" that a fellow Mindanaoan was elected president for the first time in history, while "the members of the House of Representatives are installing (as Speaker of the House) by overwhelming numbers" another Mindanaoan, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

"It had never been this way before... In fact, for a long time, the people of Mindanao have felt excluded from the center of political power that defined policies and programs for the progress and development of the nation," Pimentel said.

He added that fairness would be his guiding principle as Senate president.

Pimentel enumerated the "essential elements of the program of government for change," which he said a majority of the senators agreed upon. He said these are:

  • Dedicate ourselves to the all-out search for peace;
  • Move for the adoption of a federal system of government;
  • Support all-out war against crime, drugs and corruption;
  • Reform taxation system and make it more just and progressive;
  • Strengthen rule of law and make our justice system work;
  • Reform the budget and declare a war on waste;
  • Call for sustainable and inclusive economic growth;
  • Protect the environment;
  • Deliver quality education and quality health care;
  • Fight abuse and the abusive;
  • Focus on the needs and the situation of the helpless and impoverished members of Philippine society, especially the sick, the elderly and the children; and
  • Support the legislative initiatives that President Rodrigo Duterte envisions as necessary to promote the public welfare.

Pimentel also thanked his family, specifically his father former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. for inspiring him to become a senator and inculcating in him "the attitude of focusing on the people."

The senator followed the footsteps of his father, who was the country’s 19th Senate president. The older Pimentel headed the Senate from November 13, 2000 - July 23, 2001.

RELATED: Super majority to back Pimentel’s Senate presidency — Rosette Adel

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