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Philippine Congress elects new leaders
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16:43, July 23, 2007

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The Philippine Congress on Monday elected two leaders of the legislature in the opening session as Senate President Manuel Villar and House of the Representatives Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr. renewed their terms respectively.

Manuel Villar was elected Senate President on a 15-7 vote, against opposition candidate Aquilino Pimentel Jr., but the maverick senate leader is reportedly not pro-administration.

The 22 senators held a nominal voting, as the 23rd senator, Antonio Trillanes IV, a former military officer detained on coup charges, failed to attend the session.

The 24-member Senate has been trimmed to 23, because senator Alfredo Lim vacated one seat following his election as mayor of Manila City in May.

Following Villar's victory, a total of 159 votes elected Pangasinan Representative Jose De Venecia Jr. as House Speaker.

It was De Venecia's fifth time to be the lower house leader. He is a pro-administration congressman and the president of the dominant party LAKAS-CMD.

Analysts said that the pro-administration congressmen once again took the lead in the House while the opposition maintained their majority in the senate after the Congress' mid-term election in May this year.

Source: Xinhua

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