By Hannah Torregoza
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said that among the incumbent senators who can very well handle the Senate finance committee are Senators Ralph Recto and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.
Sotto made this assessment this early, saying the two are very efficient in handling the finance portfolio in the next Congress.
Another possible senator who can also lead the finance panel is Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, who is among the senators who sought reelection this May 2019 midterm elections and is among the winning candidates.
Recto is currently the Senate President Pro Tempore, while Lacson heads the committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
Lacson, who is also vice chair of the Senate finance panel, is known to be anti-pork barrel and had actively made sure that the 2019 national budget is free from such insertions.
Angara, on the other hand, currently heads the Senate ways and means panel and local government.
Sotto, however, said the committee chairmanships would largely depend on the majority that would comprise the Senate in next year’s Congress.
If and when he retains the seat as Senate President, Sotto said he is certain that Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri would still be the majority leader and Sen. Franklin Drilon the head of the Senate minority bloc.
“Definitely, if the leadership of the Senate is retained, then it will be Senator Zubiri for sure who would be majority leader, no doubt,” Sotto said in a recent press conference at the Senate.
“The minority (bloc), I am sure will be the same,” the Senate leader added.
He also said the soon-to-be members of the Senate majority will meet to discuss the committees that would be left vacant by outgoing senators.
“Who will be chair of finance, yun ang crucial palagay ko. There are preferences, I have my personal preference, but I will leave it to the members of the majority. Pag uusapan namin muna (We will talk about it first),” he said.
On Monday next week, Sotto said senators will discuss this matter in a meeting.
“Importante ang meeting namin on Monday. Paguusapan namin, kasi kasama pa namin sa Monday yung mga graduating. Paguusapan naming mabuti yan,” he said.
“Let me set the record straight, I am just speaking off my hat, it’s my personal opinion. Yun lang muna yung akin. Ang majority, malalaman natin pag nakausap na namin,” he said.
Committees up for grabs include the Senate blue ribbon panel, accounts, constitutional amendments and revision of codes, ethics and privileges, foreign relations, health, defense and security.
“Everything else, from the Senate President to the memberships or the committee chairmanships, will all be at the pleasure of the members of the majority,” Sotto said.