In this July 22, 2019 photo, the 22 senators present also gathered for the traditional group for the opening of the 18th Congress.
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan/Released
IN PHOTOS: Senate opens regular session of 18th Congress
Rosette Adel ( - July 22, 2019 - 2:32pm

MANILA, Philippines — With 22 senators present, the Senate of the Philippines opened the regular session of the 18th Congress on Monday.

Only Sen. Leila de Lima, who is still detained for drug charges, and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who fought against American boxer Keith Thurman, were not present during the first session.

Four neophyte senators joined the 18th Congress today: Bato dela Rosa, Bong Go, Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III remained as the leader of the upper chamber and took his oath as the Senate president.

Sen. Ralph Recto also regained his Senate President Pro Tempore post and was proclaimed the second highest official of the upper chamber.

Meanwhile, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri was elected as the chair of the committee on rules making him the Senate majority leader.

On the other hand, Sen. Franklin Drilon is still the chosen minority leader who will lead the four-member opposition bloc.

The 22 senators present also gathered for the traditional group photo where most are notably wearing earth-colored attires. Only Sens. Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano and Imee Marcos wore white and blue, respectively.

The Senate suspended the session as they are set to attend President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

Here are some photos during the opening of the session:

— Photos from Sen. Kiko Pangilinan/Released

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