‘Independent’ Poe eyes Senate Blue Ribbon chairmanship

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 05:05 PM

Senator elect Grace Poe arrives for the proclamation of winners at the PICC forum on May 22, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Poll favorite Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday said an “independent” lawmaker should head the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in the 18th Congress should current chair Sen. Richard Gordon give way.

“It would be nice” if an independent candidate was in charge of the chamber’s oversight committee, Poe told reporters on the sidelines of the proclamation of senators in Pasay City.

“Ang blue-ribbon kasi yan ang may oversight powers pagdating sa lahat ng mga nangyayari sa gobyerno, pag dating sa kanilang ginagawang trabaho kung may korapsyon so maganda sana [if it will be headed ng] isang independent na walang partido,” Poe said.

“Pero magaling din naman si Sen. Gordon dun so okay din naman ako sa Public Services,” she quickly added, noting the Senate’s practice of “incumbency advantage.”

The “incumbency advantage” tradition in the chamber gives current chairpersons the prerogative to decide if they still want to head a committee or turn over its leadership to another senator.

Poe chairs the Senate Public Service Committee that held congressional hearings on the country’s transportation woes and the entry of a third telco player, among others.

Poe said she would remain in the majority bloc, hoping the Senate leadership would give “good positions” for lawmakers who were not administration allies.

“Magkaroon sana ng posisyon na maganda rin ang isang independent candidate,” she said.

(Hopefully there will be good positions even for those who are independent.)

“Kung makakatulong sa administrasyon, tutulungan natin, pero sa tingin ko panahon na pag meron din tayong nakikita na maaari nating baguhin ay dapat magsalita,” she said.

(If it will be helpful for the government, we will support it. But if we need something that needs to be changed, we should speak out.)

The daughter of late action star Fernando Poe Jr. was President Rodrigo Duterte's 2016 poll rival. She was reelected in the midterm polls as an independent candidate.