MANILA – Only six Senate Committees are still left without elected chairpersons and vice-chairpersons in the second week from the opening of the 19th Congress.
These are apart from the additional committees that are planned to be created by the Upper Chamber.
Among the six vacant committees are those on Science and Technology; Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development; Justice and Human Rights; Ethics and Privileges; Cultural Communities; and Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture.
In a recent Facebook post, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said once the committee assignments are complete, they will start to work on their priority measures.
"Konti na lang at matatapos na po natin ang (Just a little bit more time and we will finish the) election ng (of) committee chairpersons at nakapagsimula na rin tayong mag-elect ng ating mga (and we have already started electing our) committee members. In the works na rin ang paggawa ng mga (already in the works is the creation of) additional Senate committees para lalong mapabuti ang ating mga diskusyon ng mga panukalang batas (so we can have better discussions on our bills)," Zubiri said.
Second in rank to Zubiri is veteran Senator Loren Legarda who was elected as Senate Pro Tempore followed by the elected Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, together with his Deputy Majority Leaders Senator JV Ejercito and neophyte Senator Mark Villar.
The two-member Senate minority bloc assigned Senator Aquilino Pimentel III as the Senate Minority Leader and Senator Risa Hontiveros as his deputy, while siblings Pia and Alan Peter Cayetano chose to occupy the "independent bloc".
One of the toughest committees, Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations or known as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, is being chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s sister, Senator Imee Marcos, holds four committee chairmanships that include Cooperatives; Electoral Reforms and People's Participation; Foreign Relations; and Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.
The Senate Committees on Accounts and Tourism are now being chaired by Senator Nancy Binay.
Senator Cynthia Villar retains her 18th Congress post which is the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform, and also elected as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change.
His son, Senator Mark Villar, chairs the Senate Committees on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies and also Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship; while Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. also retains his previous post as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation as well as the Senate Committee on Public Works.
Rookie Senator Robinhood Padilla got what he wanted after being elected as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes and the Senate Committee on Public Order and Mass Media.
Senator Grace Poe retains her Senate Committee on Public Services and now also chairs the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs.
Broadcaster-turned Senator Raffy Tulfo chairs the Senate Committee on Energy; Senator Sonny Angara also retains his 18th Congress post as the chairperson of the Senate Committees on Finance and Youth; Senator Lito Lapid as the chairperson of Senate Committee on Games and Amusement; and Senator Christopher Lawrence Go who will still hold the Senate Committee on Health and Demography and Senate Committee on Sports.
Senator Francis Escudero got the Senate Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education; while Senator Ronald Dela Rosa will still lead the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
The Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation will be chaired by Senator Jinggoy Estrada while his sibling Senator JV Ejercito was elected to chair the Senate Committees on Local Government; and Urban Planning, Housing, and Resettlement.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano holds the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises while his sister Senator Pia Cayetano got the Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking.
The Committee on Ways and Means will now be chaired by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian while the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality was still given to Senator Risa Hontiveros.
The Upper Chamber also partially assigned on Wednesday Senators Cynthia Villar, Go, and Tolentino to sit in the Commission of Appointments.
Tulfo and Padilla were assigned to the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
The 19th Congress opened last July 25 and is set to adjourn starting October 1. It will resume from November 7 to December 16. (PNA)