Senate committee chairmanships under 19th Congress shaping up

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 02 2022 09:28 PM

The winners of the May 9 senatorial race  ABS-CBN news
The winners of the May 9 senatorial race were proclaimed by the Commission on Elections on May 18, 2022 at the PICC in Pasay City. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN news

MANILA - The chairmanship of various Senate committees under the incoming 19th Congress are beginning to shape up ahead of its opening on July 25 and following the emergence of Majority Leader Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri as likely the next leader of the chamber.

The other expected leaders of the next Senate include returning Sen. Loren Legarda as Senate President Pro Tempore and Sen. Joel Villanueva as Senate Majority Leader.

Senate sources shared a more definite list of committee chairmanships, which they said were based on the personal preferences of the incumbent and incoming senators.

Legarda, aside from being the Senate’s second highest official, will also handle the committee on higher education.

The next Senate will give Sen. Imee Marcos, sister of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr, three committees as per her request, according to the sources. These are the foreign affairs, social justice and cooperatives panels.

Senator-elect Robin Padilla, aside from the constitutional amendments and revision of codes, will also get the public information panel.

Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. will head the public works committee and the civil service panel.

Returning senator JV Ejercito will lead the local government committe and urban planning, housing and resettlement panel.

His brother, Senator-elect Jinggoy Estrada, will be given the national defense panel and labor committee, with emphasis to local employment.

The Senate sources said Sen. Francis Tolentino has already agreed to chair the blue ribbon committee and the science and technology panel.

The public order and dangerous drugs committee will remain with Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

Senator-elect Mark Villar will have the trade, commerce and entrepreneurship panel.

Sen. Grace Poe will chair the committees on public services and economic affairs.

Sen. Pia Cayetano will continue to head the committee on sustainable development goals. Zubiri said in an ABS-CBN TeleRadyo interview on Wednesday that Cayetano wanted to become Senate President Pro Tempore, but the position was already given to Legarda, being the most senior member of the incoming 19th Congress.

"Sen. Loren Legarda is four-term senator. 1998 pa po siya bilang senador. She's the most senior among us. So, she will be the Senate President Pro Tempore," said Zubiri.

Sen. Sonny Angara will remain as chairman of the committees on finance and youth.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, will chair the committees on ways and means, and basic education.

The accounts committee and tourism panels will be Sen. Nancy Binay’s turf.

Senator-elect Raffy Tulfo will have the energy and OFW’s panels.

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go will keep the committees on health and sports.

Sen. Lito Lapid who will also continue to helm the games and amusements committee.

Sen. Cynthia Villar will chair the agriculture and food, and the environment committees.

On Wednesday, Zubiri committed to opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros the women, children, family relations and gender equality panel.

Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, on the other hand, will not be given a committee since he might sit as the next Senate Minority Leader.

The justice committee meantime is being reserved for returning Sen. Francis Escudero.

There are no takers yet of the committee on government corporations and public enterprises, the sources said.

Zubiri’s camp, according to insiders, is still trying to convince returning senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Escudero, along with Sen. Pia Cayetano to join the chamber’s super majority bloc.

“We haven’t talked…,” Escudero, in a text message, said.

"Ang dalawang magkapatid na kaibigan ko, si Sen. Pia and Sen. Alan, we're still trying to convince (them) to join us in the majority. I would like them to be with us in the majority dahil matagal ko na ring kaibigan si Sen. Cayetano," Zubiri said in the TeleRadyo interview, noting that he was with Alan at the Senate during the 14th Congress in 2007, as well as in 1998 at the House of Representatives under the 11th Congress.

"I'm also appealing to Sen. Chiz (Escudero) na sana kasama ko rin siya sa mayorya," he added.

The Cayetanos are not replying to media queries.

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