Koko Pimentel elected as Senate President of 17th Congress

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III is the new Senate President, a position once held by his father and namesake.

Pimentel, the lone PDP-Laban member in the Senate, was elected by 20 senators Monday after the chamber convened its first session under the 17th Congress.

Major political parties like Lakas-CMD, Nationalist People's Coalition, Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, and the Liberal Party have formed a coalition with President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP-Laban party.

Also elected were Senate Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon and Majority Leader Tito Sotto. In accordance with tradition, the post of Minority Leader went to Sen. Ralph Recto after he was defeated in his bid for the Senate presidency.

Drilon last week said they settled the Senate leadership issue about a month earlier so that they could immediately proceed to work on priority bills.

Some priority measures that are expected to be tackled are Duterte’s proposal to change to a federal system of government and the restoration of the death penalty to strengthen the government’s war on crime and illegal drugs.

Pimentel said over the weekend he will also prioritize amendments to the Local Government Code, ending labor contractualization, repealing the bank secrecy law, and budget reform.

Pimentel, 52, is a bar top notcher and is the eldest son of former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel.