Diwa lawmaker bent on winning chairmanship of public information panel
MANILA, Philippines – Diwa Representative Emmeline Aglipay, who has been endorsed by Freedom of Information Bill advocates to head the House public information committee, may have “remote” chances of winning the chairmanship, but with her willingness to take on the controversial post, she might be able to spring a surprise.
If only Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. could head two panels at once he would, but he has already been appointed to be chairman of the House committee on agrarian reform.
For now, FOI Bill advocates are hopeful that Aglipay would be able to secure the chairmanship.
Advocates of the FOI Bill have earlier endorsed Aglipay to head the public information panel.
She however said that while it was the House leadership’s “prerogative to offer it to other representatives they deem capable for the position although I hope they would still consider my nomination as well.”
Aglipay believes that “there is no chairperson until now because those previously offered [to head the panel] have declined.”
“It’s difficult to find someone who will accept the challenge of heading a committee tasked to handle a controversial bill; that’s why I hope that House leadership would consider the nomination of my colleagues because I am ready to take that challenge. Although whatever their decision would be as to the chairperson I shall be cooperative and supportive,” Aglipay said.
But Baguilat said that Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has “already told her (Aglipay) she’s not going to get it.”
Still, the “scarcity” of House members willing to take on the grueling tasks of leading such committee would increase the chances of the Diwa lawmaker to get the job, Baguilat said.
“She’s probably the only one among those eligible representatives who has declared that she’s willing to chair it. So that counts as her biggest qualification – the desire (to head the committee),” he said.
Belmonte said he will announce who will head the House committee on public information next week.
He said this in the wake of House minority leader Ronnie Zamora’s comment that the majority seemed to be delaying the creation of the public information committee that will handle the controversial Freedom of Information Bill.
Belmonte said several more committees remain without chairpersons–not just the public information committee–and they would announce who would lead them next week.
Baguilat said that the public information committee could not be singled out “as being left out…there are still other committees whose chairs have not been manifested.”
Baguilat, who was pushing for the passage of the FOI Bill in the 16th Congress, said he was confident the House leadership was looking for a second or third termer administration ally in the House who can preside over difficult hearings “and wants the committee.”
Finding someone who “wants” to head the public information committee was “probably why there’s difficulty finding someone to chair the committee,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.