By Ellson Quismorio
Committee chairmanships in the House of Representatives should be given to congressmen who are deserving and capable of handling the posts.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez gave this assessment amid declarations that the Party-List Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) would settle for no less than 20 percent of the total committee chairmanship in the upcoming 18th Congress.
1-PACMAN Party-List Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero, one of the richest legislators in the country, sits as president of the 61-member bloc.
“Yung sinabi ni Cong. Romero na (Regarding Cong. Romero’s statement that)…they are entitled to at least 20 percent of the Committee [Chairmanships], I’m not going to debate with that,” Suarez told House reporters during the Minority Bloc’s press conference Tuesday.
“It’s a question of who is deserving… hindi naman dapat ang question dyan eh member ka eh dapat ikaw (being a member of a group doesn’t mean that you should become chairman),” said the veteran solon, who represented the third district of Quezon in the 17th Congress.
“Napakahirap kasi na magja-jockey tayo sa ibang members natin, lalagyan natin ng sensitive position but hirap gampanan yung kanyang pwesto (It’s a difficult situation to jockey for positions among the House members, only for you to be given a sensitive position that you are unable to fulfill),” added Suarez, who was elected Quezon governor last month.
An outgoing party-list congressman, Rep. Anthony Bravo of COOP-NATCCO, said last month that the PCFI “won’t settle for less” than the chairmanships given to the sectoral representatives in the 17th Congress. Bravo is a Senior Deputy Minority Leader.
The doling out of House panel chairmanships and other juicy positions such as Deputy Speakerships is directly tied to the Speakership race, since whoever will become Speaker will get to decide who he would designate in the 304-member chamber.
In a two-cornered race, a Speaker-aspirant would need at least 153 votes to assure himself or herself of the post. This gives PCFI a huge bargaining chip since Romero promised that they would vote as a bloc.
There are at least half a dozen House members jockeying for the Speakership. The PCFI is expected to reveal its bet for the Speakership next week.