The Senate

On August 29, 1916, the United States of America (USA) Congress enacted the Philippine Autonomy Act or popularly known as the Jones Law which paved the way for the creation of a bicameral Philippine Legislature where the Senate served as the upper chamber and the House of Representatives as the lower chamber.

Senators then were elected via senatorial districts via plurality-at-large voting; each district grouped several provinces and each elected two senators, except for non-Christian provinces, where the Governor-General of the Philippines appointed the senators for the district.

When the Philippine Independence Act, the Tydings-McDuffie Act, was enacted by the USA Congress which granted the Filipinos the right to frame their own constitution in preparation for their independence, they established a unicameral National Assembly, effectively abolishing the Senate.

The amendment of the 1935 Constitution to have a bicameral legislature was approved in 1940. As part of the compromises that restored the Senate in 1941, the power of confirming executive appointments was exercised by a joint Commission on Appointments composed of members of both houses. Since its restoration and the Philippine independence in 1946, the Senate has the power to ratify treaties and try impeachment cases.

As mandated by the new constitution, the upper chamber is composed of 24 members who are elected at-large with the country as one district under plurality-at-large voting. Senators serve six-year terms, with half of the senators elected every three years to ensure that the Senate is maintained as a continuous body, though staggered.

The Senate convened in 1945 until the declaration of martial law in 1972 abolished the Congress. The bicameral Congress was restored upon the ratification of the 1987 Constitution. However, instead of eight senators being replaced after every election, it was changed to twelve. The election of the First Congress - 16 for the Senate and 104 for the House - took place on April 23, 1946.

The 24 senators who were elected in 1987 served until 1992. In 1992, the candidates for the Senate obtaining the 12 highest number of votes served until 1998, while the next 12 served until 1995. Thereafter, each senator elected serves the full six years. Senators cannot serve beyond two consecutive terms.

The Senate is headed by a Senate President, Senate President Pro Tempore, Majority Leader, and Minority Leader who are elected by the Senators from among themselves. The Senate Secretary and the Senate Sergeant at Arms are elected by the Senators from among the employees and staff of the Senate.

The Senate has 36 permanent committees and five oversight committees to turn the wheels of the legislative mill. The Senate or any of its committees may conduct formal inquiries or investigations in aid of legislation. The committees are classified into: (1) standing or permanent; (2) special or ad hoc; (3) joint; and (4) sub. Subcommittees are created to parcel the work of standing or special committees. The "special" committees are created for a particular purpose and dissolved after accomplishing such purpose. Joint committees are those that include members of both houses.

We congratulate the Senators of the incoming 16th Congress of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines and wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!


The Senators of the Philippines

Senator Pia S. Cayetano

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is the youngest woman elected in the history of the Philippine Senate. A lawyer, triathlete and mother of two, Pia is continuously proving that there is no limit to what Filipino women can do and achieve. She first ran for the Senate in 2004. The public knew little about her then apart from being the daughter of the late Senator Compañero Rene L. Cayetano. In the next six years, Pia proved herself worthy of the overwhelming mandate she received from the electorate on her neophyte term. Relying on her deft and training as a lawyer, discipline and strength as an athlete, and heart as a mother, Pia worked in the 13th and 14th Congress to pass several landmark laws that mattered to common Filipinos and the marginalized sectors, particularly to women, children and senior citizens.

In 2010, Pia sought reelection armed with a solid track record in the Senate. She was elected top sixth in the senatorial elections. From 2008 to 2010, she served as President of the Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). This is the highest position ever achieved by a Filipino and an Asian in the 121-year history of the IPU, which is considered as the "United Nations" of parliamentarians around the world. A seasoned runner, biker and swimmer, she advocates sports as part of a holistic youth development program to promote a fit and healthy lifestyle. She actively joins local and international sporting events, including marathons and triathlons. A member and captain of the Philippine volleyball team in her college days, the lady senator continues to support local athletes and programs aimed at discovering young sports talents.

Senator Franklin M. Drilon

Senator Franklin M. Drilon was born on November 28, 1945, in Iloilo City, to Cesar M. Drilon, Sr. and Primitiva M. Drilon. He finished his elementary education at Baluarte Elementary School, Molo, Iloilo City, in 1957; his secondary education at University of the Philippines (UP) Iloilo College High School, in 1961; and his Bachelor of Arts degree at the, in 1965. He took up Bachelor of Laws at the UP and eventually graduated in 1969. He placed 3rd in the Bar Examinations given on the same year. He earned his Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, at the Central Philippine University. He is married to Milagros Serrano Genuino from San Jose, Camarines Sur. He was formerly married to the late Atty. Violeta Calvo Drilon, with whom he has two children.

Drilon was an Examiner on Labor and Social Legislation, Bar Examinations, in 1978 and 1984. Several government positions he held in the past include as deputy minister of the Ministry of Labor and Employment in 1986; chairman, Board of Pardons and Parole; vice chairman, Judicial and Bar Council; chairman, National Labor Relations Commission; chairman, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration; chairman, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration; commissioner, Social Security Commission; chairman, Philippine National Bank, among others. He was secretary of the Dept. of Labor and Employment (1987-1990) and of the Dept. of Justice (1990-1991; 1992-1995); and executive secretary of the Office of the President (1991-1992). He was elected to the Senate in the 10th Congress (1995-1998); in the 11th Congress (1998-2001) with the position of senate president (April to Nov. 2000) and had also served as majority leader; in the 12th Congress (2001-2004) as the senate president and chairman of the Commission on Appointments; in the 13th Congress maintaining the position as senate president and chairman of the Commission on Appointments.

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was the Senate President of the 15th Congress, a position he served for the second time until his resignation on June 5, 2013. Enrile took his Bachelor of Laws at the University of the Philippines and graduated cum laude and salutatorian in 1953. He ranked No. 11 among the successful bar candidates with a rating of 91.72%, one of the highest in the history of the Bar. He made a perfect score of 100% in Commercial Law. He took his oath as a member of the Philippine Bar in 1954. He took post-graduate studies at the Harvard Law School where he obtained his Master of Laws degree in 1955, specializing in taxation and corporate reorganization. He practiced law for 12 years (1954-1966); served as a Professor of Law at the Far Eastern University College of Law (1956-1964).

Enrile was appointed undersecretary of Finance in 1966; chairman of the Board of Directors of the Philippine National Bank; Acting Commissioner of Customs until December 1968; was appointed Acting Secretary of Finance and concurrent Chairman of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of the Philippines. On February 10, 1970, he was appointed Secretary of National Defense until August 1971 when he resigned to run for the Senate. He was re-appointed Secretary of Defense in January 1972. His first term in the Senate was from 1987 to 1992. His second term was from 1995 to 2001. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1992 to 1995. In 2004, he ran for senator and was elected once again.

Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada

Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is the eldest son of President Joseph Marcelo Ejercito Estrada and Senator Luisa Pimentel-Ejercito Estrada, a brother to Jacqueline Ejercito-Lopez and Jude Ejercito. He finished his primary and secondary education at the Ateneo de Manila University and earned a degree in A.B. Economics from the University of the Philippines. He took up Bachelor of Laws at the Lyceum University while serving as Vice-Mayor at the Municipality of San Juan at a young age of 25. In 1992, he became the youngest ever elected-local chief executive in the entire nation at age 29. For three consecutive terms, he administered the economic, social, political, and cultural affairs of the Municipality of San Juan beyond everyone's expectations.

Having witnessed how his famous and well-loved father, former Mayor of the historical town of San Juan, has satisfactorily governed said locality over a progressive 19-year period (1967-1986), Jinggoy knows that he is bound to follow the footsteps that his father has carved in both public service and show business arena. During his final tenure as Mayor, he was sworn into office as the National President of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (1998-2001). In 1989, he was married to Ma. Presentacion "Precy" Vitug-Ejercito with whom he was blessed with four wonderful and beautiful children.

Senator Teofisto D. Guingona III

Senator Teofisto D. Guingona III or TG Guingona is the third generation of public servants. His grandfather, Teofisto Guingona, Sr., served as the governor of the entire Mindanao during the term of President Manuel Quezon during the 1930s. His father, Teofisto "Tito" Guingona, Jr., has served our country as Chairman of the Commission on Audit, Senator, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and Vice-President. His mother, Ruth de Lara, is the former governor of Misamis Oriental and is the mayor of Gingoog City. He is a lawyer and graduated from the Ateneo de Manila with a degree in Economics and Law. He is married to his Ateneo Law classmate, Atty. Maria Victoria Garcia Guingona, with whom he has a son.

While in college at the Ateneo, TG already joined the student government. He and the entire Ateneo student government who joined a protest rally were arrested together with other prominent opposition personalities. At 19 years old, he was incarcerated at Bicutan Center together with Nene Pimentel, Joker Arroyo, Soc Rodrigo, and Lorenzo Tañada, Sr, sharing the prison cell with his father and mother, who were also present in the rally. He was involved in the impeachment complaints against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. Senator Guingona served as Congressman of the Second District of Bukidnon during the 13th (2004-2007) and 14th Congress (2007-2010). In the Lower House, he was a member of the opposition and the minority group.

Senator Manuel M. Lapid

Popularly known as Lito Lapid, Senator Lapid was born on October 25, 1955 to a poor family in Porac, Pampanga, which made him immersed in the rigors of life and hard work at a young age. As a former stuntman and movie actor whose parents never ventured into the world of politics, the call to serve the people never occurred to him until he was elected vice governor of the Province of Pampanga in 1992. It was during this time that Lito Lapid was entrusted a difficult task of rallying his Cabalens to fight the seemingly insurmountable adversity brought about by the devastating effects of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.

The overwhelming mandate given to him when he won as governor in 1995 further inspired Lito Lapid to brave the challenge and rebuild what is left of lahar-torn Pampanga. With Lito Lapid at the helm, real estate broke new record highs, export volumes increased to unprecedented levels, the province regained its glory as the country's premiere agricultural territory and Pampanga once again was placed among the top 10 most progressive provinces in the country. His proven track record as a champion of the masses and an effective local chief executive for three full terms paved the way for his winning bid for the Senate, receiving top honors in the 2004 Senatorial elections. Despite the limitations in education and against the shroud of cynicisms on his capabilities, Senator Lapid proved himself to be deserving of the trust reposed by the millions of voters who believed that he can serve to become not only a good legislator but an inspiring picture of hope for those whose lives he has touched.

Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

Senator Bongbong Marcos was born Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on September 13, 1957 to former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and former First Lady and incumbent Congresswoman Imelda Romualdez Marcos of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte. He studied elementary at De La Salle College, finished his secondary education at Worth School in England, and earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Science, Philosophy and Economics from the Oxford University in 1978. He obtained his Masters in Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business. He is married to lawyer Louise Cacho Araneta, with whom he has three sons.

Bongbong became drawn to the challenges of public service early on in life. At a very young age of 23, he was elected vice-governor of Ilocos Norte. Bongbong was the first among his family to return from exile in 1992. No sooner had he stepped back on Philippine soil than he took up where he left off and started serving the Filipino people once again. In the same year, he was elected to Congress as Representative for the Second District of his home province, Ilocos Norte. In 1998, he ran and won as governor of Ilocos Norte, where he served for three consecutive terms. In his nine years as governor, he transformed Ilocos Norte into a first-class province. In 2007, he was elected back to the House of Representatives, where he served as Deputy Minority Leader. In 2010, he won a seat in the Philippine Senate, placing 7th overall. Presently, he chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government and the Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlements.

Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III

Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III, who is of Cebuano-Negrense-llonggo ancestry, takes pride that his family has had the honor to have contributed three generations of direct descendants to serve in the Philippine Senate. Both his grandfathers - Sergio Osmeña, Sr. and Esteban dela Rama - and his father, Sergio Osmeña, Jr., had been prominent lawmakers. He is a farmer and businessman by training and was educated at Harvard, Georgetown, and the University of the Philippines. He is married to Bettina Mejia Lopez of Iloilo, Pampanga, and Leyte and has six children.

Senator Osmeña is currently the chairman of the Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies and the Committee on Energy. He has likewise been elected chairman of the Joint Congressional Power Commission. In keeping with his family's heritage, the senator has dedicated his legislative effort to bringing down the cost of doing business in the Philippines in order to encourage private enterprises to create more jobs for Filipinos. He has always emphasized the development of the countryside. Out of his total 3,251 infrastructure projects in all 79 provinces, 80% were constructed in the rural areas. A firm believer that education is the great equalizer, Senator Osmeña has championed the fundamental need of all Filipino children to be properly trained to meet the challenges of life. He has funded a total of 935 school buildings all over the country. Senator Osmeña has earned the reputation of being the Senate's fearless fiscalizer.

Senator Ralph G. Recto

Senator Ralph Recto's political lineage is traced back to the late nationalist and statesman Claro Mayo Recto, who was a senator for several terms and himself a descendant of the patriotic Mayo and Recto clans of Luzon. He is the second child of three of lawyer Rafael Recto who was an Assemblyman during the Regular Batasang Pambansa and Carmen Gonzalez Recto whose family hails from Pangasinan. He is married to Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, father to Ryan Christian and stepfather to Luis Philippe Manzano. He was a Member of the House of Representatives for three consecutive terms (1992-2001). He was elected to the Senate in 2001. On July 23, 2008, he was named as the Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority. On August 16, 2009, he resigned as NEDA Director General and Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning, in preparation for another run for the Senate in the 2010 election.

Senator Recto has two Master's Degrees - one in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines, Diliman and another in Strategic Business Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific. He also took up a Leadership Scholarship Course at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. He acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at the De La Salle University-Manila. His elementary years were spent at the Ateneo de Manila University while his High school diploma was received from the De la Salle University. In 2009, he was conferred a degree of Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa, by the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology.

Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr.

Senator Bong Revilla was born to actor and former Senator Ramon B. Revilla, Sr. and Azucena Mortel Bautista. He finished his elementary education at Jesus Good Shepherd School in Imus, Cavite in 1977 and then attended high school at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, California, USA. He took a diploma course in Special Local Chief Executive Program on Local Governance at the Development Academy of the Philippines in October 1998 and a course on Philippine Legislative Institutions and Processes Development Academy of the Philippines in November 2003. He earned his Doctor of Public Administration (Honoris Causa) at the Cavite State University in April 2005 and Doctor of Humanities (Honoris Causa) at the Nueva Vizcaya State University in April 2006.

He started in politics as a vice governor of the Province of Cavite (July 1995-January 1998) and later as a provincial governor of the same province (February 1998-June 2001). He was appointed as chairman of the Videogram Regulatory Board (VRB) from July 2002 to January 2004. He was elected to the Senate in June 2004 wherein he currently holds various Committee Chairmanship. He was awarded a Medal of Valor and International Award of Honor from International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association, NY, USA, in 1999 and a Plaque of International Recognition for Efforts Against Piracy Motion Picture Association of America, Motion Picture Association International Hollywood, CA, USA, in 2003. Apart from politics, Bong Revilla is an accomplished actor and movie producer. He is married to Congresswoman Lani Mercado-Revilla, Lone District Bacoor Cavite, with whom he has six children.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was born in 1945 in Iloilo City. Her father Benjamin was a district trial judge, and her mother Dimpna was a college dean. She is the eldest of seven children, most of whom she helped to send through college. Miriam has a record of academic excellence. She graduated valedictorian of the La Paz Elementary School, and valedictorian of the Iloilo Provincial National High School, also earning a medal for all-around excellence. She earned the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, magna cum laude, from the University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas (Iloilo City) in only three and a half years; Bachelor of Laws, cum laude and valedictorian of her class, from UP Diliman; finished Master of Laws in one year and Doctor of Science of Jurisprudence in only six months, from the University of Michigan, where she was a Barbour Scholar and Dewitt Fellow; Master of Arts in Religious Studies at the Maryhill School of Theology. She pursued postdoctoral studies in law at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, University of California (Berkeley), and Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas). She attended The Hague Academy of Public International Law (Netherlands), and at Sophia University (Japan).

Miriam began in the government service as special assistant to the Secretary of Justice, the official legal adviser of the executive branch, and later was one of the speechwriters of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. She was professor of political science in Trinity College, and a professor of law in UP Diliman. She had served as legal officer of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland; legal consultant of the UP Law Center; and briefly as legal consultant to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. In 1993, she served as Regional Trial Court judge of Quezon City. Her awards for judicial excellence, added to her awards for anticorruption work as immigration commissioner, make Miriam the most awarded Filipino public official today and became globally famous. She is widely featured in the international press because of her charisma, flamboyant personality, and her signature witticisms.

Senator Vicente C. Sotto III

Senator Vicente C. Sotto III was born to Marcelino O. Sotto and Herminia Castelo Sotto, M.D. He attended his education from elementary to college from Colegio de San Juan de Letran where he earned the degree Bachelor of Arts in English. He started in politics as a vice mayor of Quezon City from 1988 to 1992. During his term, he was the first elected president of the Vice Mayors' League of the Philippines, President Emeritus and Founder. He was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and has served as majority floor leader, minority floor leader, assistant minority floor leader, and chairman of various committees in the 12th Congress (2002-2004). He is the current majority floor leader of the 15th Congress.

Sotto was a former board member of Araullo University of Nueva Ecija. He was also vice president of Vicor Music Corporation. He was given the Catholic Mass Media Radio Award of the Archdiocese of Manila for composing the song "Magkaisa." He was a recipient of International Award of Honor International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association given on Sept. 2, 1991at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA and the 2nd International Award of Honor (Hall of Fame) International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association given on Nov. 18, 1996 at Bahia Hotel, San Diego, Calif., USA. He is married to Helen Gamboa-Sotto with whom he has four children.

Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara

Born on July 15, 1972 to former University of the Philippines (UP) President, former Senate President, and Senator Juan Edgardo J. Angara and Gloria M. Angara, a former teacher and Chairperson of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Senator Edgardo M. Angara, most widely known as Sonny Angara, finished his grade school and high school studies at Xavier School in San Juan, Manila; undergraduate studies at London School of Economics; and Political Science in England. He took up law at the UP, where he was a member of the Editorial Board of the Philippine Law Journal, the Debate Society, and the Order of the Purple Feather. He finished his law degree in 2000 and passed the Bar Examinations in the same year. He then continued his post-graduate legal studies and finished his Master of Laws (LL.M.) at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA in 2003. He and his wife Tootsy currently have three children.

Angara is a legislator and advocate of educational reform. He worked as an associate attorney with the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRA) law firm. He apprenticed briefly after college with the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, in addition to stints clerking at a bank, writing articles for newspapers and researching. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004, representing the Lone District of Aurora, re-elected to a second term in 2007, and a third term in 2010.

Senator Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV

Born Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, Senator Bam Aquino was born on May 7, 1977 to Paul Aquino (CEO of EDC, youngest brother of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.) and Melanie Aguirre. He was a consistent honor student in Ateneo de Manila University from grade school to college - a class valedictorian both in grade school and high school, and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Management Engineering in 1999. In 2008, he took an Executive Education Program on Leadership and Public Policy (a 10-day seminar) at the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University.

Bam Aquino is a social entrepreneur and public servant. He was a TV host, movie actor and chairman of the National Youth Commission. He was one of the founding members and became the Constitutional Chairman of the National Union of Catholic Student Councils, an association of student councils and governments of various Catholic universities and colleges in the Philippines. He is currently the President of MicroVentures, Inc., an investment bank for start-up businesses which runs the The Hapinoy Program social enterprise. He is also a Board Member of Rags2Riches, Venture for Fundraising, and the Coca-Cola Foundation. He is also a multi-awarded leader and has been named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (2010) and Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (2012). He is married to Mary Fatima Gomez.

Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay

Senator Nancy Binay was born on May 12, 1973 in Makati. She is the eldest daughter of the incumbent Vice President, Jejomar Binay, and former Makati Mayor Dr. Elenita Binay. Nancy Binay is also the older sister of Abigail Binay, a current Representative of the City of Makati, and Jejomar Binay, Jr., the current mayor of Makati. She finished Tourism from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She is married to businessman Jose Benjamin R. Angeles. They have four children.

Senator Binay is a member of the same party as her father's coalition, the United Nationalist Alliance. Prior to her Senate bid, she worked as her father's personal assistant and as deputy secretary general of UNA. The consideration to include her in the slate was due to her strong performance in the surveys. Binay's campaign is based on a platform of improving housing services, health care for children and education. She also has positions in several charitable organizations. She is currently the Executive Director and a Member of the Board of Trustees of Bigay Pagmamahal Foundation, a member of the Board of Trustees of Brighthalls Children's Foundation, Serbisyong Tunay Foundation, Inc., and the JCBinay Foundation, Inc.

Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano

Senator Alan Peter Schramm Cayetano is the son of the late Senator Renato "Compañero" Cayetano and Sandra Schramm. He is the brother of Senator Pia Cayetano, Rene Carl Cayetano, and TV/movie director and now Congressman Lino Edgardo Cayetano. He took interest in political science and enrolled at the University of the Philippines in Diliman where he eventually ran and won as a university councilor in the student council. Then inspired by his father's preeminent standing as a lawyer, student Alan decided to pursue a degree in Law at the Ateneo de Manila University where he graduated as Silver Medalist and with a Second Honorable Mention. He was later admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1998.

At age 22, he made history in Philippine politics as the youngest (and number one councilor) in that generation in the then Municipality (now City) of Taguig. Three years later, he was elected Vice Mayor of Taguig, but his official proclamation took place only 10 days before his three-year term of office was due to end. His short-lived tenure as vice mayor in 1998 made him decide to represent the people of Taguig and won as a Congressman for the Lone Congressional District of Taguig-Pateros for three consecutive terms. He became senator in 2007 and re-elected in 2010. He is married to Maria Laarni Lopez-Cayetano, the incumbent mayor of Taguig City and former representative of the first district of Taguig-Pateros.

Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito

Born Joseph Victor G. Ejercito on December 26, 1969 in Manila, JV Ejercito is the son of former President Joseph E. Estrada with businesswoman and now current mayor of San Juan Guia G. Gomez, and half-brother of Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada. He attended Xavier School for his secondary education and completed his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at De La Salle University. He never followed the showbiz trend that some of his other siblings tried. JV became active with the youth sector in San Juan, where his father was a mayor for around 20 years. He stepped into the political scene as mayor of San Juan City for three consecutive terms (2001-2010). He was a congressman of the 15th Congress for the Legislative district of San Juan City.

Senator JV Ejercito is married to Hyacinth Lotuaco with whom he has a son. He is also a Commissioned Reserve Officer of the Philippine Marine Corps with the rank of Major. He is an adopted member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of '88, Maringal.

Senator Francis Joseph G. Escudero

More popularly known as Chiz Escudero, Senator Escudero was born on October 10, 1969, the second of three children of the late Agriculture Minister and Sorsogon First District Rep. Salvador Escudero and educator Evelina B. Guevara. He is educated at the University of the Philippines all the way from primary to law school. He passed the Philippine Bar in 1994 and went on to continue his education on a full scholarship grant at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., earning a Master's Degree in International and Comparative Law in 1996.

Escudero began his political career at 28 in 1998 serving as three-term Representative of the 1st District of Sorsogon. During his terms, he served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader in the 11th Congress and House Minority Floor Leader in the 13th Congress. As an elected Senator in 2007, he earned the second highest number of votes. At the Senate, he heads the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Constitutional Amendments Revision of Codes and Laws. He is the Vice Chair of the Committee on Local Government and Senate Representative to the Judicial and Bar Council. In 2005, he was named as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM). He was the only Filipino named in Asian News Networks' Asia's Idols. He was honored by the prestigious organization of global decision-makers, The World Economic Forum, as one of the world's Young Global Leaders of 2008. Recently, he was cited as a 2008 Anak TV Awardee for being one of Anak TV Seal's Ten Most Admired TV Personalities. He is blessed with twins with Christine Elizabeth R. Flores.

Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II

Senator Gregorio Honasan was born on March 14, 1948 in Baguio City to Colonel Romeo Honasan and Alice Ballesteros of Sorsogon. His elementary years were spent at San Beda College in Manila and the Dominican School in Taipei, Taiwan. He graduated with honors at Don Bosco High School in Mandaluyong and for the first two years of college, he took up Bachelor of Science with a degree of Economics at the University of the Philippines. He then went on to the Philippine Military Academy, where he attained the title of a "Class Baron," the institution's highest leadership award. In 1981, he took up a Masters Degree in Business Management at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and finished the course with distinction.

As a soldier, he saw action in Mindanao where he garnered several medals and commendations for bravery and dedication to duty. In 1986, he was one of the principal players of the EDSA revolution that ousted a dictator and was awarded the Philippine Government Medal by then president Corazon C. Aquino. He became Senator in 1995, the first independent candidate in Philippine history to have won a seat in the Senate. He was re-elected in 2001 and again in 2007. As a senator, Honasan is a staunch advocate for the environment, social reforms, national security, good governance, education, youth and sports. He is married to Jane Cabale Umali of Pagsanjan, Laguna. They have five children and two grandchildren.

Senator Lorna Regina B. Legarda

Loren Legarda was born Lorna Regina B. Legarda on January 28, 1960 in Malabon to Antonio Cabrera Legarda of San Pablo, Laguna, and Bessie Gella Bautista of Malabon. Her paternal great grandfather Potenciano Cabrera was the first Mayor of San Pablo City, Laguna, while her maternal great granduncle Vicente Gella was a Governor of Antique. Her grandfather, Jose P. Bautista, was a pillar of Philippine journalism. As a teenager, she appeared as a commercial model and/or DJ in various television and print ads for Close-up, Pond's cream, and Hapee toothpaste, among others. Loren completed her primary and secondary schooling at the Assumption Convent with honors. She obtained a degree in broadcast communications and graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines. She pursued her post-graduate studies at the National Defense College of the Philippines where she obtained a degree in National Security Administration and graduated at the top of her class. Loren is a reserve officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Prior to becoming a public official, Loren was well known as the award-winning anchor and producer of two of the Philippines' most popular and respected news programs. Loren is the only female senator who topped the Senate race twice and the only woman to become majority leader. Loren has two sons with ex-husband Former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste.

Senator Aquilino Martin D. Pimentel III

Koko Pimentel was born Aquilino Martin D. Pimentel III on January 20, 1964 to former senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (1987-1992, 1998-2010) of Cagayan de Oro City and Lourdes Dela Llana-Pimentel of Zambales. He was proclaimed on August 11, 2011 as the 12th winning senator in the 2007 elections. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Ateneo de Manila University and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He was subsequently the topnotcher in the 1990 Philippine Bar Examinations.

Pimentel began working as a lawyer in 1990, and was commissioner (representing Mindanao) on the National Youth Commission (1995-1998). Since 2006, he has been a professorial lecturer from MBA-JD Consortium, De La Salle Professional Schools and Far Eastern University Institute of Law. He was conferred doctor of humanities honoris causa by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) last May 18, 2012. He is a father to two children.

Senator Mary Grace S. Poe

Senator Grace Poe was born Mary Grace Sonora Poe on September 3, 1968. She is the daughter of National Artist Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), the King of Philippine Movies, and his wife Susan Roces, as well as the half-sister of the actress Lovi Poe. Poe attended Assumption College San Lorenzo for her secondary education. She took Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies in University of the Philippines-Manila (UPM). While in UPM, she got elected as Chairperson of the College Freshman Assembly (1986-1987) and Sophomore Batch Representative to the Student Council (1987-1988). She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Boston College, USA. During that time, she co-founded the Filipino Cultural Club of Boston College. She finished two years of Development Studies at UP Manila.

Senator Poe is a newcomer to politics but not to public service. She proved her leadership competence as Chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board under the administration of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. Before her stint in government, she worked at FPJ Productions and Film Archives, Inc. She also worked in the US as a teacher, a product liaison officer, and a product manager. Her platform builds on FPJ's social covenant and focuses on three areas: poverty alleviation, opportunities for all, especially the children, and electoral reforms.

Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV

Senator Antonio Fuentes Trillanes IV was born on August 6, 1971 and raised in Caloocan City. He traces his roots to Ligao, Albay in Bicol where his late father, Antonio Sr., grew up. His mother, Estelita, hails from the province of Capiz. He studied at De La Salle University in Manila where he took up BS ECE (1987-1991). He formally entered into public service in 1991 as a cadet in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) where he graduated cum laude in 1995, while earning a degree in BS Naval System Engineering. In 2002, he took up graduate studies at the University of the Philippines and got his masters degree in Public Administration major in Public Policy and Program Management, with two University Scholar Awards for obtaining two semestral GPAs of 1.0 to 1.25 and a College Scholar Award for obtaining a semestral GPA of 1.25 to 1.50.

Trillanes went through all shipboard assignments. During his five-year sea duty experience, his unit apprehended dozens of lawless elements. He was also involved in numerous naval operations. He has participated in 22 naval exercises conducted with local and foreign navies. For his meritorious service to his country, he has been awarded a total of 23 assorted merit medals, campaign ribbons and badges. During the 2007 mid-term elections, he successfully launched a nationwide campaign from his prison cell as he ran and won a seat in the Senate. He is married to the former Arlene G. Orejana with whom he has two children.

Senator Cynthia A. Villar

Senator Cynthia Aguilar Villar (born July 29, 1950) earned her degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She completed her Masters in Business Administration at the New York University. She is the sister of Las Piñas mayor Vergel Aguilar.

Villar practiced as a financial analyst and college professor until she married Former House Speaker and Senate President Manny Villar in 1975. She then helped her husband in various entrepreneurial ventures, eventually making Vista Land the biggest homebuilder in the Philippines. She managed a private development bank from 1989 to 1998. In 2001, she won a landslide victory as Representative for the Lone District of Las Piñas City to the House of Representatives, where she completed three consecutive terms or nine years of service until 2010. She served as chairperson of the Congressional Spouses Foundation (1998-2000), built 11 regional centers for women who are victims of abuse. She also served as president of the Senate Spouses Foundation, Inc. (August 2006-December 2008). In 1992, she founded and chaired the Villar Foundation, where she is now actively involved as Managing Director. Amidst all her achievements and awards, she still considers her family as her most cherished treasures and her three well-raised children as her glory, who are all role models of hard work and perseverance.