Newbies get senate panels

Bong Go

TWO committees were  reserved for neophyte Senator-elect Bong Go after he threw his support behind the leadership of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III in the coming 18th Congress.

Go originally had shown interest in at least four committees.  However in a text message, Sotto said that the Committees on Health as well as Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement will be given to Go.

Another newbie, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa, will head the committees on public order and dangerous drugs, and peace, unification and reconciliation. Meanwhile, Senator-elect Francis Tolentino, former head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, will lead the Senate Committee on Local Government.

Returning Senator Pia Cayetano and newcomer Imee Marcos were being considered to head the Senate’s ways and means committee, which handles tax reform matters, among others, Sen. Joel Villanueva earlier said.

Go was one of the new senators who attended the majority bloc meeting at the house of Senator Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday night.

“With regard to the Senate Presidency, naging maayos naman ang working relationship ng Senado at ehekutibo noong 17th Congress sa pamumuno ni Sen. Tito Sotto bilang Senate President,” he said in a statement made after the meeting.

“With his continued leadership, we can solidify the support of the Senate to the legislative agenda of President Duterte,” he added

Among the committees he wants to lead are the committees on health, education, sports or urban planning, housing and resettlements.

After Sotto insisted on implementing the “equity of the incumbent” tradition in committee distribution, Go said that he respected it as well as the decision of the majority bloc.

Sotto yesterday said they were able to resolve 95% of the committee chairmanships during Wednesday night’s meeting.