MANILA (UPDATE) – Senators-elect Imee Marcos and Pia Cayetano are eyeing the chairmanship of committees belonging to minority senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, Senate President Vicente Sotto III has said.
Sotto said Marcos wants to chair the committee on social justice, welfare and rural development that is chaired by De Lima, who is currently detained on drug charges.
Marcos is also eyeing the agrarian reform committee chaired by Sen. Cynthia Villar. Sotto said Villar is open to giving up her chairmanship of the agrarian reform committee, but the latter made it clear she still wants to lead the committees on agriculture and food, and environment and natural resources.
Sotto said he would talk to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon regarding the social justice committee led by fellow minority member De Lima.
De Lima’s office said it was not aware whether Sotto has already reached out to De Lima regarding the matter.
Meanwhile, Cayetano is also eyeing to lead Hontiveros’ committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, Sotto said.
ABS-CBN News has sought Hontiveros’ comment on the matter but has yet to receive a response as of this writing. Sotto said he would also discuss this matter with Drilon.
Hontiveros, who won a Senate seat in 2013, has been an advocate of women’s rights in the Senate. She is also seeking to refile the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Equality Bill which failed to pass in the 17th Congress.
Cayetano, during her past stint in the Senate, also championed women’s rights.
Drilon, in a statement, said the plan of incoming senators to vie for the committees held by minority members would be "sad, if true."
“I hope that the equity of the incumbent rule would also be applied to the committees chaired by the minority senators,” Drilon said.
Drilon, however, said the allocation of committee chairmanships is ultimately the majority's call.
"That we are stripped of the committees we now head will not diminish our resolve to scrutinize every measure and act as fiscalizer."
The minority leader also touted De Lima and Hontiveros' accomplishments as chairpersons of their respective committees.
"I hope the majority can take a good look at the performance of our colleagues in the minority. They have done an incredible job as chairs of their committees and they can still do more in the next Congress,” he said.
With minority senators Bam Aquino IV and Antonio Trillanes IV finishing their term, their committees will also be distributed to incoming senators.
Aquino’s science and technology committee still has no takers, Sotto said.
The committee on civil service, government reorganization and professional regulation chaired by Trillanes will go to senator-elect Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, another minority lawmaker, will still head the committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes.