Padilla to chair Senate committees on constitutional amendments, public information
MANILA - Presumptive Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri's luncheon meeting with the "Mama Bear's bloc" led by Senator Cynthia Villar, followed by his dinner date with fellow "Seatmates" on Tuesday, resulted in their final agreement as to who will head various committees in the chamber under the 19th Congress.
“We all came out very happy and it was a good bonding, a good fellowship. I think it’s going to be, what is going to be today and the future, a very productive Senate,” Zubiri, in an interview with journalists said Wednesday.
In the said meeting, each member of the "super majority bloc" agreed to accept Zubiri's offers, while also recognizing his leadership.
In list provided by Zubiri's office, Senator Sonny Angara will continue to chair the committees on finance and youth.
Sen. Nancy Binay will handle the accounts and tourism panels.
Sen. JV Ejercito will lead the local government and urban planning, housing and resettlement.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada will head the labor, employment and human resources development (domestic labor), while Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian will have the ways and means and basic education, arts and culture.
Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go on the other hand, will still chair the committees on health and sports.
Sen. Lito Lapid will lead the games and amusements panel.
Senator Robin Padilla, meanwhile, will chair the committees on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, and the public information and mass media.
Sen. Grace Poe will chair the public services and economic affairs committee.
Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. will chair the public works and civil service, government reorganization and professional regulation.
Sen. Cynthia Villar will have the agriculture, food and agrarian reform and environment, natural resources and climate, while trade, commerce and entrepreneurship and banks, financial institutions and currencies will go to her son Sen. Mark Villar.
Senator Pia Cayetano who did not attend the meetings, will still hold the committee on sustainable development goals, innovations and futures thinking, according to Zubiri.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros meantime, can still keep her committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality.
Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, who will continue to head the public order and dangerous drugs panel, will also chair the special committee on Marawi rehabilitation, replacing the peace, unification and reconciliation panel which he handled in the previous Senate.
Sen. Francis Escudero on the other hand, will lead the higher, technical and vocational education committee, plus a seat at the Commission on Appointments. Zubiri said.
Meanwhile, notable in that list, are the four committees allotted to Sen. Imee Marcos, who only handled two panels in the previous Senate.
The sister of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. will chair the committees on foreign relations, cooperatives, social justice and electoral reforms.
Sen. Francis Tolentino, will chair the Blue Ribbon, science and technology, and justice panels.
"Ang gusto lang po nila patas ang trato sa lahat ng senador. Sabi ko kung ano po ang benefits na ibinigay sa isang senador, whether sa majority or sa minority pareho lang po," Zubiri said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian meanwhile confirmed giving his CA slot to Go.
"Because Senator Bong Go, nag-usap kami because gusto niyang umupo the whole three years at sabi ko, I’m open to that. Especially ngayon na I will be focusing on ways and means. Matrabaho kasi ang komite na iyon," Gatchalian said.
The list does not indicate any committee for Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who has yet to say if he will join either the super majority or the minority bloc.
Still, Zubiri is assuring the Cayetano siblings that there are still available committees for them, aside from the Commission on Appointments and the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
“I encourage all the senators to have a committee whether they will work or they will not work. also, yung staffing nakasalalay sa committee eh. so kung wala silang committee, kulang ang staffing nila, ang MOOE andyan... he (Alan Peter) could also be independent. There is also a situation," Zubiri said.
Based on Zubiri's list, the remaining committees with no takers yet are government corporations and public enterprises; cultural communities, and ethics and privileges.
Meantime, the incoming Zubiri leadership will also elect two deputy majority leaders.
One of them will be Ejercito.
The next Senate will also have Sen. Loren Legarda as the Senate President Pro Tempore, and Sen. Joel Villanueva as Majority Leader.
A recommendation to also create a position for Deputy Senate President Pro Tempore was also discussed during their Tuesday meeting.
But such proposal was immediately thumbed down by the super majority bloc senators, Zubiri said.