Sotto warns committee chairs: Obstructionists will be kicked out
Any committee chair in the Senate who would deliberately block the legislative agenda of the incoming administration may be booted out from the post, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said on Wednesday.
Sotto, who is being considered to be the next Majority Leader if Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III is elected Senate President in the 17th Congress, issued this warning to dispel apprehensions that the emerging new majority bloc in the chamber might eventually become obstructionist.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano had reportedly cited in particular the assignments of two committees–public order, and justice–to Senators-elect Panfilo Lacson and Leila de Lima, respectively, under the new Senate leadership.
Sotto, however, defended Lacson and De Lima, saying the committees assigned to them fall under their expertise.
“And then Koko and I, we’re not worried about that at all. Why? Anong pinaka the worse na pwede nilang gawin, ng isang committee chairman (What’s the worse a committee chairman could do)? Like for example sa (in) case ng committee on justice, yung chairman ayaw kumilos sa (a chairman who doesn’t want to act on the) legislative agenda ng (of the) president o ng (or of the) administration, I’m going to be the Majority leader. I’ll pull it out,” he said.
“There are ways of doing that in the rules. I can pull it out of her. I can pull it out of the committee, take it on the floor… Ang daming paraan sa (There are many ways within the) rules.”
Sotto said they could also ask that a committee hearing be conducted even without its chair or discuss a measure on the floor even without the chair.
“So don’t worry about that. Pag nakita nating hindi kumikilos ng maayos ang chairman (If we find out that the chairman is not acting appropriately), the Senate has enough rules for the leadership to use so that it may be able to tackle any subject that’s not being acted upon by any member of the Senate or any chairman of any committee,” he said.
“I’m not worried at all. Kung mag-obstructionist sya (If he or she would be an obstructionist), it’s easy to do that. Pull it out, one. Two, elect her or him out of the committee…It’s easy,” he further said.
Sotto earlier disclosed that Cayetano did not want Lacson to head the committee on public order as well as Senator Loren Legarda to keep her chairmanship of the Senate committee on finance.
He said Cayetano did not also want Senator-elect Manny Pacquiao to head the Senate committee on games and amusements. CDG
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