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Sotto gets reelected; Cayetano now speaker

SENATE President Vicente Sotto III was reelected as head of the upper chamber while Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano emerged as the new Speaker of the House ahead of President Duterte’s fourth State-of-the-Nation Address.

RE-ELECTED. Senator Vicente Sotto III takes his oath as the re-elected Senate President during the opening of the 18th Congress. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

Sotto vowed that the Senate would be “independent, balanced, and sincere” while still being “cooperative” with the Duterte administration.

His counterpart in the Lower House, ex-senator and foreign affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano became the new Speaker with 266 congressmen voting for him. The House has 301 members and 297 were present yesterday.

NEW HOUSE SPEAKER. Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano takes his oath as new Speaker. (PNA photo by Oliver Marquez)

Cayetano’s election came after weeks of uncertainty. The drama ended when his main rivals for the speakership, presidential son and Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez nominated Cayetano for the post.

Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. was nominated as the other candidate for Speaker. His nomination was endorsed by Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr..

Meanwhile, Cayetano will serve as Speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress under the term-sharing agreement brokered by President Duterte.

As expected, formally elected as House Majority Leader was Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.

Romualdez was among the frontrunners for the speakership before the President approved a term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

Elected as deputy speakers were Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, South Cotabato Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez, Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero, Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, Abono party-list Rep. Conrad Estrella III, Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr., Antipolo Rep. Roberto Puno, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list Rep. Eduardo Villanueva, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymond Villafuerte Jr..

Meanwhile, Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla was named deputy majority leader.

Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab was appointed as the chair of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, while Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino was appointed chair of the House Committee on Accounts.

Ungab has been earlier endorsed by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago and the Duterte Coalition for the Speakership. (PNA)

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