By Jelly F. Musico, PNA
MANILA, 22July2013 – As expected, administration Senator Franklin Drilon has been elected new Senate president via overwhelming 17 votes as the Senate formally opened the first regular session of the 16th Congress Monday morning.
In his acceptance speech at the Senate in Pasay City, Drilon urged the new senators to share fresh ideas and work with veteran colleagues to do their share in nation building.
”Let us set aside political differences. We must think innovation and solution. Let us do our share in nation building. Our people are expecting from us. Let us not fail them,” Drilon said.
The senators who voted for Drilon include Sonny Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Alan Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Antonio Trillanes IV, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Serge Osmena III, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, Ramon Revilla Jr., Cynthia Villar, Teofisto Guingona III and Juan Ponce Enrile.
Enrile, by tradition, voted for Drilon as the former Senate president has been nominated for Senate president but only for the purpose of getting the minority bloc leadership.
Aside from Drilon, Enrile got votes from Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Vicente Sotto III, Gregorio Honasan II, Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito, who automatically became members of the minority bloc.
Later, Recto has been elected unopposed as new Senate President Pro-Tempore while Alan Cayetano as Senate majority leader.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago missed the first session reportedly due to health problem.
The committee chairmanships will be announced in the following days.
Drilon will open the joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives where President Benigno Aquino III will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the afternoon.
It was the fourth time Drilon has been elected Senate president.
Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and wife former senator Loi Estrada as well as Vice President Jejomar Binay attended the Senate opening in support of their children.
Senators Binay and Ejercito nominated Enrile for Senate president while another two neophytes, Angara and Poe stood up to nominate Drilon.
The Senate session started at exactly 10:06 a.m. with acting Senate president Jinggoy Estrada as chairman and Honasan as acting majority leader.
Enrile and Sotto resigned as Senate president and majority leader before the last 15th Congress adjourned last June. (PNA)