SENATE PRESIDENT VICENTE C. SOTTO III
SENATE President Vicente C. Sotto III said on Wednesday six committee chairmanships have yet to be filled in the 18th Congress.
Mr. Sotto, in an interview with ANC on Wednesday, said the matter of who will be assigned to the committees on finance, ways and means, education, justice, blue-ribbon, and public services is “really giving us a headache.”
“There are committees that two or three members of the Senate would want, but then again there are incumbents. Some of the committees that are open, there are no takers,” he said.
“The finance committee, nobody wants to take it, so we are going to elect Senator Sonny Angara to the finance committee whether he likes it or not,” Mr. Sotto said in the ANC interview, the transcript of which his office e-mailed to reporters on Wednesday.
“Also the ways and means committee, nobody wants to take it, so we will most probably elect who we think would be good for the job,” he also said, adding however that Senator-elect Imee R. Marcos has shown interest in heading the committee, largely in charge of revenue generating measures.
The ways and means committee, under the chairmanship of Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, presided over the legislation of RA 10963, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, and RA 11213, or the Tax Amnesty Act, which forms part of the administration’s comprehensive tax reform program.
Senator Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, current chair of the public services committee, appealed to incoming senators to respect the “equity of the incumbent” tradition in the chamber, but said she is also willing to head the blue-ribbon committee.
“Kung sino ‘yung mga nauna, meron naman silang equity of the incumbent, so sana respetuhin nila,” Senator Poe told reporters in a chance interview, Wednesday. (Senators who were here first enjoy the equity of the incumbent, so I hope they respect that).
“Para sa akin, gusto ko ng blue-ribbon committee, pero dahil sa paggalang sa aking kasama na si Senator Gordon, hindi ko naman ipagpipilitan.” (For me, I’d like the blue-ribbon committee, but out of respect to my colleague, Senator Gordon, I will not insist).
Senator Richard J. Gordon, for his part, remained firm in keeping both the committees on blue-ribbon and justice. “Ang sabi niya kung papayag ako makipagpalitan sa public services, gusto niyang makuha ‘yan pero wala naman akong sinasabi na ibibigay ko,” he said in a separate interview with reporters. (She said if I’m okay with trading with public services, she’ll take the blue-ribbon committee, but I never said I’ll give it). — Charmaine A. Tadalan