Sen. Miguel Zubiri is new majority leader
MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Monday took over the leadership of the Senate after Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III stepped down.
This, after 15 majority bloc senators last week agreed to move for the change of Senate leadership.
Sotto took his oath before Senator Gringo Honasan on Monday afternoon.
In his speech, Sotto vowed to pass more laws for the benefit of Filipinos.
"I hereby pledge to continue in helping in the passage of laws that will be beneficial to the country and to every Filipino and to continue as well the diligence and dedication of Sen. Koko Pimentel who has been the principal author and sponsor of many landmark laws," he said.
He also thanked his fellow senators for trusting him with the chamber's leadership.
"I am deeply humbled and sincerely grateful to the Almighty God and to my fellow senators who reposed their trust and confidence in me and my capability to lead this august chamber at this critical and challenging time," he said.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wished Sotto good luck on his new post, and expressed hopes of faster processing of bills.
“Syempre kami naman sa House of Representatives we wish him luck and sana maging maganda ang mas gumanda pa yung takbo ng passage ng mga legislation,” Alvarez said.
(We in the House of Representatives wish him luck and we hope for a smoother passage of legislation.)
Sen. Miguel Zubiri meanwhile will replace Sotto as majority leader. He is also the new chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules.
Pimentel earlier wished Sotto good luck in his work as the new Senate president.
"I wish my successor, Senator Sotto, good health and godspeed and pledge to help the new leadership pass new pro-people legislation consistent the legislative agenda of the President," Pimentel said.
Pimentel was elected Senate leader in 2016 at the start of the 17th Congress. He is also president of the ruling PDP-Laban party.
Sotto, meanwhile, has campaigned against illegal drugs since he entered first politics as vice mayor of Quezon City in 1998, during the height of his career as an actor and musician.
As vice mayor, Sotto founded and organized the Quezon City Anti–Drug Council, which had been replicated in many local government units, according to his profile on the Senate website.
In 1992, Sotto began his 2-decade Senate stint, during which he served as minority and majority floor leader.
He also chaired the Senate committee on illegal drugs and led the Dangerous Drug Board as chair from July 2008 to November 2009. - with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News