Koko Pimentel is The New Senate President

Senators on Monday elected Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III of the Partido-Demokratiko Pilipinas - Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) as the new Senate President during the opening of the first regular session of the 17th Congress. Pimentel garnered a total of 20 votes.

Outgoing Senate President Franklin M. Drilon of the Liberal Party (LP) was unanimously elected as Senate President Pro Tempore while Senator Tito Sotto III of the Nationalist Peoples' Coalition (NPC) was elected as Senate Majority Leader. Senator Ralph Recto (LP) was voted as Senate Minority Leader.

Senators also elected former Eastern Samar Gov. Lutgardo Barbo as Senate Secretary and Jose Balajadia Jr. as the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms.

Pimentel, 52, is a partymate of both President Rodrigo Duterte, and the new Speaker of the House, Davao Del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez - the first time three of the country's four highest officials are from Mindanao.

In his acceptance speech, Senate President Pimentel said that "change must also come to and from the Senate."

"As President Rodrigo Duterte put it, The introduction of genuine and meaningful change is the purpose of his administration," he said.

Pimentel listed the 11 elements of the "Program of Government for Change" which the senators of the majority bloc have agreed upon, such as pushing for the adoption of a federal system of government, all-out-war against crime, drugs and corruption, tax reform, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, quality education and healthcare, environmental protection, and increased government assistance to the helpless and impoverished members of Philippine society.

He also assured everyone that as the new Senate chief, he will be guided by fairness and democratic principles: "I pledge before all of you today that I will be fair in carrying out the mandate you have given me as Senate President."

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