June 19, 2018, 4:31 pm
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Senators install Sotto president

QUIETLY and without fanfare or theatrics that characterized previous changes of leadership in the Senate, the senators voted their senior colleague Vicente “Tito” Sotto III Senate president, vice Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, also head of the ruling party, the PDP-Laban.

Sotto, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), is not a party-mate of President Duterte, Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who once completed the rare and first triumvirate leadership of Mindanao politicians in the country’s history.

Senate President Sotto considers himself the odd-man-out in this elite group of PDP-Laban leaders, but his long years in government service and the respect that he earned through the years from fellow senators and legislators prove that he is capable and qualified many times over to lead the Senate.

Sotto’s pronouncements following the transition vote have been reassuring. He vowed to maintain a fair but vocal Senate that would cooperate with the Executive Department, and that he would listen to both the majority and the minority blocs.

Sotto also promised to prioritize legislation of all members of the Senate, and to keep a strong relationship with the House of Representatives. He assured the congressmen that all previous priorities that are in the calendar will stay and the Senate will push them well in the legislative mill.

Going to specifics, the new Senate chief said they will work for the immediate passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is a key commitment of President Duterte to the people of Mindanao, the occupation safety law, the universal health package law, and the public service act, among others.

The newly installed Senate president said the senators will work overtime to maximize the remaining session days before Congress adjourns sine die in June.

It is well for Tito Sotto to dismiss as irrelevant the nitpicking of his personal critics and detractors who questioned his qualifications for this new position. We are sure the senators, intelligent, honorable and fastidious as they are, know whom to pick as their leader at this crucial period in the nation’s history.

We wish Senate President Sotto well, with the hope that he succeeds in this next summit of his long government career.
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