Gatchalian says battle for Senate panel chairmanship 'natural'

Aleta Nieva-Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2019 04:20 PM | Updated as of May 29 2019 04:41 PM

MANILA - Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday described the supposed infighting for committee chairmanship for the 18th Congress as "natural."

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"Natural ito. In 2016, it took us a month to put the majority together because they have their own advocacies, they're passionate about their own interests. But, at the end of the day, were all going to give in because this is for the best interest of the majority," Gatchalian told ANC's Headstart.

Committee chairmanships have become an issue with incumbent and incoming senators, especially in sought-after panels like health, education, justice, and the blue ribbon.

But traditionally, Gatchalian said “direct to the people" committees like education and health go to reelectionist senators to help them win.

"We're all part of the majority. We're all in support and cooperative of the administration's bills and it's to our best interest to make sure that we are cohesive, and to make sure that the reelectionists would come back and to support the administration bills," he said.

He did this too when Sen. Bam Aquino was part of the majority.

"At that time I recognized that Sen. Bam was a reelectionist and Sen. Tito Sotto, I remember talked to me about it. Sabi niya pagbigyan na natin yung mga reelectionist para matulungan sila at mabuo ang grupo natin."

"That's why I gave him and they offered to me the energy committee which I took and chaired it for the last 3 years," he said.

But this time around, Gatchalian is hoping to chair the education committee because it’s his advocacy.

"I'm lobbying to get the chairmanship of the education committee. I have a lot of ideas on how to reform the entire sector, making sure that this sector will be attuned to the forth industrial revolution," he said.

He also knows that Sen. Sotto, as Senate president, will have a big role to play in resolving the chairmanship issue.

"Because of his 20 years of experience, basang basa na niya yung mga senators at magaling siya in reading people. Consensus builder, reading people and he would advise you what's good for you," he said.