SENATOR VICENTE C. Sotto III on Monday maintained his post as Senate president for the 18th Congress.

The Senate, via voice vote, reelected Mr. Sotto, after his nomination by Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri was seconded by Senators Panfilo M. Lacson and Pia S. Cayetano.

Of the twenty-four senators, two were unable to attend the opening of session on Monday — detained Senator Leila M. De Lima and Senator Emmanuel D. Pacquiao, who was advised against traveling back to the Philippines after his fight with Keith Thurman on Sunday.

Senator Franklin M. Drilon noted during the plenary session that Senators Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel and Francis N. Pangilinan abstained from voting.

The chamber also reelected Senator Ralph G. Recto as Senate president pro tempore while Messrs. Zubiri and Drilon are the majority and minority leader, respectively. Mr. Sotto said among the priority measures they discussed were the proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007), Commonwealth Act No. 146 (Public Service Act) and RA 7042 (Foreign Investments Act of 1991).

“These were some of the bills that I know were left from the 17th Congress that we wanted to prioritize, but for lack of time,” Mr. Sotto told reporters in a chance interview ahead of the plenary session.

Sought for comment, University of Santo Tomas political science professor Marlon M. Villarin said he sees the new composition of the 18th Congress is more “collaborative” rather than confrontative.

“The re-election of Senator Tito Sotto as Senate President is a testament that the majority members of senate choose to be collaborative than confrontative in their legislative relationship with the executive department, but of course anytime depending on the political atmosphere especially 2022 presidential election is fast approaching, changes in the leadership is inevitable,” Mr. Villarin said over mobile phone message on Monday.

“The present set up of congressional leadership gives President Duterte a kind of legislative assurance that will sustain its programs and activity he promised to the Filipino people.” — Charmaine A. Tadalan