MANILA, Philippines – Amid an overwhelming majority vote, Senator Vicente Sotto III became the 29th Senate President on Monday, May 21, to the dismay of his critics.
Sotto is the most senior member of the chamber, having been a senator for two decades. He has also served 9 Senate presidents. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: The goals and challenges of the Senate under Sotto)
Despite this, criticisms against Sotto abound. Critics of Sotto, who began his career in the entertainment industry as part of comedy trio Tito, Vic & Joey, have questioned his qualifications to lead the chamber and have called him a plagiarist, misogynist, and unworthy of his post. (READ: Tito Sotto and the blurry lines of showbiz, politics)
Some senators, however, see a different view of their new leader. During the turnover, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel III cited Sotto’s experience and hard work, saying Sotto is the go-to person for solving problems in the chamber.
"My nominee is an institution in the Senate. He has been there and done that in his long career in the Senate,” Pimentel said.
He also praised Sotto's "dedication to his work," adding that "he is always present, always on time, always prepared."
Before being elected to the Senate in 1992, Sotto served as Quezon City vice mayor starting 1988, where he said he met his friend, President Rodrigo Duterte. It was the same time he founded and organized the Quezon City Anti–Drug Council.
In 2008, after losing the senatorial elections the previous year, he headed the Dangerous Drugs Board.
With his long stay in the Senate – from 1992 to 2004 and 2010 to present – let us take a look at some of the bills that he passed into law.
In his first two terms, here are some the significant measures that Sotto passed into law:
In the 15th Congress, where he served as majority leader, he passed these laws:
These are the laws he passed in the 16th Congress, where he was with the minority:
In the current 17th Congress, where he served as majority leader and then Senate President, Sotto has so far passed 7 laws, with 4 bills** awaiting President Duterte's signature. These include:
Some of the measures he filed this Congress include the bill seeking to ban firecrackers, the bill to hike the SSS monthly pension, the proposed Maternity Leave Monetization Act, the protection of online and broadcast journalist from revealing their sources, and the bill seeking to mandate 14th month pay of employees. – Rappler.com