(UPDATE 2) Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has manifested his irrevocable resignation as the 15th Congress adjourned sine die Thursday night.
After the approval on third and final reading of several pending bills, Sotto asked senators inside the plenary hall to allow him to step down from his post as majority leader in the 16th Congress.
“As the curtain falls in the 15th Congress, as its legal life draws its breath at end of June, please consider my position as majority leader co-terminus therewith,” Sotto said.
“I wish the Senate in the next Congress very well,” the veteran lawmaker added.
The veteran senator took pride in registering a perfect attendance as majority floor leader in the daily plenary sessions of Senate in the 15th Congress from 2010 to 2013.
He also highlighted he has never been late and that he played an important role in the impeachment trial of former Supreme Court (SC) Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
But Sotto clarified his manifestation of resignation will not take effect until June 30, which is the 15th Congress’ official last day in the legislative calendar.
Sotto explained this move would benefit the staff of the Senate majority leader’s office to keep their jobs until the end of this month.
“If I did not manifest (that my position is co-terminus with the 15th Congress), I will be Senate majority leader July 22. And we are no longer the majority. Who am I kidding?” Sotto explained.
“But I consider myself resigned as of today,” he added.
“I’m tired. I don’t think I can measure up to the amount of work I maintained in the last three years (I served as Senate majority leader),” Sotto said.
Sotto also admitted he lost the enthusiasm to see his job through the next 16th congress following the resignation of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as Senate president on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Enrile tendered his irrevocable resignation “as a matter of personal honor and integrity” amid lingering issues about his “unethical leadership” in the Senate.
“I have also been feeling what Senator Enrile has been saying (in his speech. I feel like) they (senators) did not appreciate the leadership we did. So, what for?” Sotto told reporters.
The veteran senator figured in controversial issues particularly during the deliberation of Reproductive Health (RH) bill and Sin Tax measure.
He said re-elected Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, the current assistant Senate majority leader, will have to assume his post when session opens for the 16th Congress in the morning of July 22.
The Rules in the Senate provides for the Senate majority leader, who will be carried over from old Congress, to facilitate the election of the new Senate president for the new Congress.
But senators failed to ratify extradition treaties with India, United Kingdom, and Spain due to lack of quorum.
This means lawmakers need to start over with the filing of the same measure in the next Congress.
As of Thursday evening, there were only 11 senators present.
The Philippines is to upgrade a navy base facing disputed South China Sea waters to serve the extra ships being acquired to protect its territory, the military said Thursday. Navy spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Gregory Fabic said the military would build a 500-million-peso ($11.2 million) port at Ulugan Bay, the Philippine military base nearest to the Spratly Islands. President Benigno Aquino is set to visit the base on May 20 to launch the upgrading, Fabic added. In recent years, the …