Minority bloc must lead House public accounts panel, says Paduano
MANILA, Philippines — The minority bloc at the House of Representatives should head the committee on public accounts so the oversight function of the lower chamber would be certainly fulfilled.
House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen “Caraps” Paduano asserted this on Wednesday, adding that such an arrangement was also a tradition in the lower legislative body.
Paduano stressed the House panel on public accounts is “an important committee for the minority.”
Currently, the committee is chaired by Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Michael Defensor, who belongs to the House majority bloc.
Paduano said some House members, himself and former Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr., have previously negotiated with ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano regarding the matter.
“We told him that that position or that committee should belong to the minority… Ako sabi ko nga, at the very least kahit vice chairmanship sa public accounts. Kasi ‘yan isa sa pinaka-importanteng committee para sa minority,” Paduano said in an online interview with reporters on Wednesday.
The committee on public accounts is responsible for matters “directly and principally relating to the examination and scrutiny of audit reports on the performance of all government agencies to determine their adherence to or compliance with the plans and programs authorized through appropriations approved by the Legislature.”
“Itong public accounts, supposedly this committee belongs to the minority. By tradition, by practice sa House,” Paduano pointed out.
“But sinasabi ko, we will negotiate on this. But of course, sabi ko na nga, at the very least, we should have a vice-chair, one or two vice-chairs coming from the minority. Or co-chair. Kasi mahalaga sa amin ito eh, itong public accounts,” he added.
Aside from the public accounts committee, Paduano said members of minority bloc should also have leadership posts in other major panels such as the House ethics and privileges committee.
“Basta ang mahalaga sa amin is ‘yung public accounts, senior membership in the major committees, and that, ethics siguro. Iyon ‘yung mga importanteng position in the House that should be placed under the minority,” Paduano said.
For now, Paduano said he will bring up the issue to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
“Kaya kailangan namin makuha ito or at the very least, co-chairmanship or vice-chairman of the committee para naman matulak ng minority, leading that committee, matulak ng minority ‘yung mga importante, mahalaga sa bayan na mga issues, not only Congress but the whole structure of government including the executive branch,” he noted.
“So we need that committee, that’s why we will negotiate with the leadership for that committee,” he added.
INQUIRER.net has sought Defensor’s comment on the matter but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
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.