By: Elena Grace Flores
July 25 marked the beginning of the senate presidency of Aquilini “Koko” Pimentel in the 17th Congress, after passing a resolution electing Pimentel as the new leader, with at least 20 senators signing it. On the other hand, Senator Ralph Recto, is the Minority Floor Leader. Senators Francis Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Duterte’s noisiest critics since the campaign period, chose to join Recto in the minority bloc.
Former Senate President Franklin Drilon is the new Senate President Pro-tempore and Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III is the Majority Floor Leader. Both are leaders of the two biggest blocs in the chamber.
Since Duterte won, it has been a popular guess that Pimentel will be the Senate President despite Senator Allan Peter Cayetano’s wishes to grab the position. Cayetano was Duterte’s running mate but he can never win with the President’s Party mate. However, Pimentel has been questioned by many Duterte voters why he ended up giving de Lima an important position when all she did during the campaign is to criticize the President’s ideals. Nevertheless, it won’t be democratic if everybody in the senate will just agree with Duterte. Perhaps some debates will be healthy as far as democracy is concerned.
Some of the confirmed committee chairmanships for the 17th Congress are as follow:
Agriculture and Food – Francis Pangilinan
Education – Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV
Energy – Sherwin Gatchalian
Environment – Cynthia Villar
Finance – Loren Legarda
Rules – Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
Public Services – Grace Poe
Labor, Employment & Human Resources Development – Joel Villanueva
Public Order and Dangerous Drugs – Panfilo Lacson
Ways and Means – Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara
Justice and Human Rights – Leila de Lima
Health and Demography – Risa Hontiveros
National Defense and Security – Gregorio Honasan
Trade and Industry – Juan Miguel Zubiri