SEVERAL senators bid “goodbye” to the Senate as they expressed gratitude to their colleagues and everyone who helped them during their stays.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said his 24 years of stay in the Senate is something that he can never forget as he bade goodbye by banging the senate gavel for the last time as Senate President.
“Today, it is with a sense of gratitude that I close the 18th Congress as the Senate President a distinction given by my esteemed colleagues. I hope that I have not been a disappointment,” he said.
“To my colleagues who have supported me from the beginning, I thank you. I shall treasure your friendship and commitment to cooperation. I extol the hard work that you have put into your individual committees. I will forever admire your integrity and nationalism,” Sotto added.
For his part, Senate Minority Franklin Drilon, who also bid his goodbye, said, “Much of what and who I am now I owe to the Senate. I have been Senate President four times, Senate President Pro Tempore, Majority Leader, and Minority Leader. And it is here in the Senate where I have done my best and, perhaps, experienced my worst.”
Drilon cited several of his accomplishments which include the Dual Citizenship Law or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, which grants our nationals who have sought greener pastures abroad the continued benefits and privileges of being a Filipino; the Sin Tax Reform Law contributes significant revenues to the government’s Universal Health program, securing the welfare of indigent families and senior citizens; the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 promotes efficiency and fiscal discipline of government corporations; the amendments to the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act would revitalize our economy and improve services to the public through foreign direct investment, relative to which, I received a letter from the economic managers of the present administration, expressing their appreciation for our valuable contributions that led to the passage of these economic liberalization bills, including the Foreign Investment Act; the Revised Corporation Code introduced significant changes to the legal framework for the establishment and operation of corporations, ultimately facilitating the ease of doing business in the country; the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act or the TIMTA Law promoted fiscal accountability and transparency in granting tax incentives and served as the precursor to the CREATE Law; the amendments to the Revised Penal Code updated the eight-decade old criminal statute while the Sandiganbayan Law institutionalized structural changes to this important institution of justice and accountability; and the law on Synchronization of Elections and Term of Office of ARMM officials harmonized local and national elections in compliance with the Constitution.
“Our duty to the people includes the great and heavy responsibility of protecting the independence and integrity of the Senate as an institution of democracy. And so, even as Senate President, I welcomed, with great pain, an investigation on a project that I helped steer, not only to clear my name but also to ensure that public trust in the institution is maintained. It was a humbling, sobering decision, which made me realize that the work we do here is much larger than ourselves.” Drilon said.
For Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, it was a 30 fruitful years in his political life.
“Thirty years and thirty pounds ago I walked into the House of Representatives as its youngest member. Next month, I will be returning there as one of the oldest in years, but certainly not in looks. From being the ‘Totoy of the House’, as what Speaker JDV [Jose De Venecia] called me when I mounted the rostrum to swear him in, to a ‘Tito’, as to how I was addressed by some ‘millennial’ congressmen during the canvassing last week, is one great journey I have enjoyed.” Recto said.
Recto said it is with great honor to announce that he was part of the Congress that passed the Bayanihan Laws, which helped the country in these pandemic times.
“I hope that in the distant future, when history will judge our acts during the time of peril, its verdict will be kind. History would tell future generations that when COVID ravished the country, 24 men and women rose to the challenge and brought hope to a people in despair.” Recto said.
He also expressed gratitude to his colleagues and his Senate staff, saying that it is his honor to work in the Senate chamber as an elected official.
“Fifteen years ago, I ended my temporary goodbye speech in this chamber with this message to the love of my life: ‘Honey, I’m home.’”
“This time, let me end it with my text to her referring to his wife, Cong. Vilma Santos Recto: ‘Honey, I’m going to your house,’” Recto said in his parting speech in the Senate. By Camille P. Balagtas