Sotto: Senate committees' chairmanship issue nears settlement

Sherrie Anne Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2019 10:42 PM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday said “95 percent” of the committee chairmanship issue hounding senators of the incoming 18th Congress has been settled.

“We assume all is well. Just 1 or 2 committees na lang,” Sotto said when sought for an update after his meeting with incumbent and incoming senators of the 18th Congress.

Sotto confirmed his earlier meeting with three PDP-Laban senators - Christopher "Bong" Go, Ronald dela Rosa, and Francis Tolentino - prior to tonight’s caucus in Senator Manny Pacquiao’s residence.

“Clarifications lang on some issues. I’d rather not discuss it in public until we are able to talk to the senator involved,” Sotto said.

“I told them I'll have all fixed by next week... I mean I will sort it out then submit to them later. I made them write down on paper that I gave them their top 3 preferences,” he added.

Pacquiao's special assistant, Jake Joson, said almost all senators went to the senator's house.

Also seen in the video sent by Joson to Senate reporters was Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales who is eyeing the House speakership post.

Senator Richard Gordon was the last to arrive in the already concluded meeting.

Go: PDP-Laban already expressed support for Sotto

Go, in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News, said they had a separate meeting with Sotto where they discussed how PDP-Laban senators can help the legislative performance of the senate.

The meeting also became a venue for them to assure Sotto that they solidly support his continuous leadership in the senate.

“Ngayon nag-express na kami ng support, nag-commit kay SP (Sotto) dahil naniniwala kami sa liderato ni SP lalo na kung yun ang magso-solidify ng support sa legislative agenda ni Presidente,” Go said.

In their Makati City caucus, Go also confirmed they were asked to submit a list of their preferred committees.

“Pinag-submit kami ng list, ano preferred committee mo, tapos ano ang first priority, second priority,” he said.

Go said he listed down the Committee on Health as his priority, and second is education. He plans to file a bill to raise the salary of public school teachers.

He said Pacquiao is offering to give him the Committee on Sports in preparation for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

The Senate leadership, he added, is also offering him the soon-to-be vacated seat in the Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement.

“Pero pinag-iisipan ko pa,” he said.

Tolentino, Go said, will likely get the local government committee chairmanship, while Dela Rosa is also being offered to chair the Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation currently being chaired by outgoing Senator Gringo Honasan.

That will be aside from the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs that Senator Panfilo Lacson gamely gave up for Dela Rosa.

As for his would-be office, Go said he will get the office of Honasan, although he would is open to occupy any of the offices of the outgoing senators, except that of opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“Ayoko dun baka masapian ako,” he said, in jest.