The reorganization in the House of Representatives is running apace with many crucial committee chairmanships filled in the first three session days of the 16th Congress.
As expected, Liberal Party lawmakers, party mates of President Aquino, got most of the plum posts. The LP is the biggest party bloc in the House.
No chairmanships have been offered members of the minority.
Some important committees still do not have leaders, however, among them, public information—which is expected to tackle the freedom of information bill—human rights, national defense and security, overseas workers affairs, and public works.
The powerful appropriations committee, which scrutinizes the national budget, went to Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab of the LP.
Another key chairmanship, of the ways and means committee, went to Marikina Rep. Federico R. Quimbo (LP), who was a prosecution spokesman during the Malacañang-backed impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Important role in Cha-cha
Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., one of the impeachment prosecutors, will keep the justice committee. The committee on constitutional amendments went to Davao City Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano. The committee will play an important role should Charter change proposals in the House gain traction.
Misamis Occidental Rep. Jorge Almonte will chair the ethics committee, which went to the minority in previous congresses. Tupas, Albano and Almonte are with the LP.
LP secretary general and Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento heads the House delegation in the powerful Commission on Appointments.
Two LP members—Davao del Sur Rep. Franklin Bautista and Bulacan Rep. Joselito Mendoza—were appointed to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) which resolves election disputes involving sitting lawmakers.
The other LP members who got committee assignments were Dinagat Island Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, land use; Marikina Rep. Marcelino Teodoro, legislative franchises; Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, Metro Manila development; Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, ecology; Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, good government and public accountability;
North Cotabato Rep. Jesus Sacdalan, government enterprises and privatization; Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop, government reorganization; Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguulat, agrarian reform; Leyte Rep. Andres Salvacion, civil service and professional regulation; and Iligan City Rep. Vicente Belmonte, dangerous drugs.
Members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party and National Unity Party, all allies of the LP, also got important posts. The NPC is the second-biggest party in the House.
Chairmanships went to NPC members Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza, agriculture and food; Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, basic education and culture; Tarlac Rep. Enrique Cojuangco, economic affairs; La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel, health; Rizal Rep. Joel Roy Duavit, information and communications technology; South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon, local government; Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, revision of laws; Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Victor Yu, science and technology; Rizal Rep. Isidro Rodriguez, southern Tagalog development, and Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Aurora Cerilles, welfare of children.
From the NP, Romblon Rep. Eleandro Madrona got the accounts committee, while Albay Rep. Al Francis Bichara will chair foreign affairs.
Senate minority bloc to get five committee chairmanships