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Wednesday, March 29, 2017 28° Mostly cloudy

The Senate centennial

Published

By Jardine Chua

The old but still majestic Congress building in Manila once more played host to the country’s most eminent and respected public servants as 40 incumbent and former senators convened to celebrate the Senate of the Philippines’s 100 years of service to Filipinos at a dinner event early this month.

A veritable A-list of political heavyweights and icons, all clad in traditional Filipino formal wear, attended the commemorative dinner to celebrate the institution’s 100th year of existence since it was established on Oct. 16, 1916 during the American period.

The current batch of senators led by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, along with Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senate Minority Ralph Recto, spearheaded the three-hour event.

  • Senate Presidents Aquilino Pimentel III, Franklin Drilon, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

  • Senator Chiz Escudero and wife Heart Evangelista

  • Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto and Batangas 6th District Rep. Vilma Santos

  • Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto III

  • Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and former Senator Loi Estrada

  • Loren Legarda, Sonny Angara, and Joel Villanueva

  • Senators JV Ejercito and Migz Zubiri

  • Senate Spouses Elvira Angara, Audrey Zubiri and Gladys Villanueva perform traditional Filipino dance

  • Ms. Bing Pimentel, Carmen Ziga, and former Senator Vic Ziga

  • Former Sen. Heherson Alvarez

  • The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra

    It was Pimentel who welcomed the past and present senators and paid tribute to the great legacy of all the men and women who have served in the Senate throughout the last century.

    “It was in this very building, in 1916, where the Philippine Senate first convened. We are proud to say that since then up to this present day, after 100 years, the Senate continues to be the vibrant repository of our country’s democratic ideals,” said  Pimentel.

    With them were their fellow Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Risa Hontiveros, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.

    Some of the country’s highest leaders who once served in the Senate, like former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, former Vice-President Noli de Castro, along with former Senate Presidents Juan Ponce Enrile and Aquilino Pimentel Jr., also graced the event.

    The presence of other political greats like former Senators Heherson Alvarez, Rodolfo Biazon, Nikki Coseteng, Rene Espina, Loi Estrada, Edgardo Ilarde, Eva Kalaw, Alfredo Lim, Joey Lina Jr., Jun Magsaysay Jr., Orly Mercado, Santanina Rasul, Wigberto Tanada, Francisco Tatad, and Victor Ziga, also made sure that every generation of the Philippine Senate since the 1970s was amply represented during the event.

    Relatives and loved ones of present and past senators were also spotted at the special occasion, such as Batangas 6th istrict Representative Vilma Santos-Recto, Manila 4th District Representative Edward Maceda, along with top actresses Helen Gamboa and Heart Evangelista.

    Entertainment during the dinner came in the form of powerful performances from the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and singer Dulce, while the guests were treated to exquisite Filipino cuisine from Via Mare.

    The traditional Filipino dance performed by the Senate Spouses Foundation Inc. led by Mrs. Bing Pimentel, the current Senate President’s mother, and Audrey Zubiri, Gladys Villanueva, and Elvira Angara, among others, which caused a particularly light-hearted episode during the  dinner.

    Among the highlights of the evening was when the four senate presidents present—Koko Pimentel III (2016 to present), Drilon (2000; 2001- 2004; 2004-2006; 2013-2016), Enrile (2008-2010; 2010-2013), and Nene Pimentel Jr. (2000- 2001) joined together to express their common support for the Senate’s service to the people.

    Koko Pimentel, the event’s keynote speaker, said that since 1916, the institution had enacted countless relevant laws, checked abuses in government, concurred and rejected treaties, and performed its check-and-balance function as an impeachment court. “Why has the Senate lasted this long?” he asked. “Because all of us, who have served the Senate—and that means all of us here—have served with utmost dedication and devotion to the best interests of the Filipino people.”

    Former Senator Joey Lina  Jr., who delivered the message in behalf of former senators, agreed with Pimentel and said that the “Senate continues to be relevant, especially in the upcoming few weeks or months, when I believe the Senate will be called once more to shape Philippine history.”

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    • juan de la cruz

      Who are honest and corrupt?

    • Paul Parenas

      “The old but still majestic Congress building in Manila once more played host to the country’s most eminent and respected public servants as 40 incumbent and former senators convened to celebrate the Senate of the Philippines’s 100 years of service to Filipinos at a dinner event early this month.”

      Excellent statement to prop up their importance! “100 years of service to Filipinos” or 100 years of service to enrich themselves and their families? These politicians better find another line of work they truly can be proud of………

    • underthePhilippineSun

      previously we have the BRILLIANT and the BRIGHTEST in the senate… now, we only have the actors, actresses and the traditional politicians.. they are DOING NOTHING TO UPLIFT the lives of our countrymen (because they DO NOT HAVE INTELLECTUAL CAPACITY to do so)…

      100 years of this institution and yet the Filipino people are still in the mud…. i think, it all reflects what type of citizens we are…

      i wish senators are elected geographically-based (as opposed to the current set-up)… if that happens, i hope each senator will fully represent its people…

    • Debra Myers

      Manila Bulletin keeps deleting my post separating fact from fiction: THAT THE PHIL. SENATE IS NOT 100 YEARS OLD, BUT ONLY 75 YEARS OLD (abolished 1935-1945; and from 1972-1987). The newspaper and the senators want to believe otherwise by fooling themselves endlessly even if FACT IS FACT. So the Bulletin journalist are resorting to dirty censorship worse than martial law!