Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Loren Legarda on Monday assumed their new posts as Senate President and Senate President Pro Tempore, respectively, as the first regular session of the 19th Congress opened.
Zubiri assured they will be productive in addressing the needs of the nation.
“As SP, I will do my utmost best to uphold the dignity, integrity, and independence of the Senate. We have 24 senators, 24 voices, 24 votes — pantay-pantay po kami diyan (We are equals),” Zubiri said in a statement
“I hope I live up to your trust and expectations. These are big shoes to fill but I’d like to think that I have learned a lot in my two decades of public service and I am ready to put in the work, to listen, and to learn more as I go along,” Zubiri told his colleagues.
The former Senate Pro Tempore and Majority Floor Leader garnered 20 votes.
Senators Aquilino Pimentel III, Risa Hontiveros, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Pia Cayetano abstained.
Pimentel and Hontiveros will compose the minority bloc while the Cayetano siblings decided to be independent.
Legarda said she was humbled by the support from her colleagues and that she considered the Senate her second home.
“Today, I stand here before you as the most senior senator, having come full circle with 18 years of experience in the Senate and three years of experience in the House of Representatives. Indeed, it has been a fulfilling journey, but our sojourn has not yet come to an end,” she said in her acceptance speech.
Legarda, who will take over the Senate in the absence of Zubiri, likewise expressed her hope and excitement and is determined to serve the Filipino people like she has always done.
“Now more than ever, we have to foster unity and good governance for a free, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient progressive Philippines,” she said.
Legarda ranked second behind neophyte Robinhood Padilla while Zubiri placed eighth out of the 12 winning senators during the May 9 polls. (PNA)