By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday appealed to senators-elect to respect the Upper Chamber's traditions and not insist on getting the committees they want to handle.
Senator Grace Poe
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Poe made the call after Senate President Vicente Sotto III bared that the Senate Committee on Public Services, which she chairs, is one of the most-coveted committees among incumbent and incoming senators for the 18th Congress.
"Siyempre 'yong mga importanteng komite talagang maraming magkakainteres. Pero sinabi na nga na, kung sino 'yong nauna, meron naman silang equity of the incumbent. So sana respetuhin nila." she said in an interview before Wednesday's session.
(Of course, it is normal that many will have interest over important committees. But it was said the sitting senators enjoy equity of the incumbent. So I hope they respect it.)
Poe, who was elected for another six-year term in Senate, said it would not be good for senators to haggle over committee chairmanships.
"Sana ma-mentena ang magandang pagsasama sa Senado. Bagama't may kanya-kanyan kaming pananaw pagdating sa kung anong makakabuti sa bayan, 'yon ang dapat unahin (I hope we maintain our good relations in Senate. While we have differing views when it comes to what will benefit our country, we senators should prioritize our relationship with each other)," she said.
"Ayoko magkaroon ng hidwaan, kaya sana naman magpasalamat tayong lahat na pinagkatiwalaan tayo ng ating mga kababayan. Ipapakita ba natin sa umpisa pa lang nanag-aagawan na walang respeto sa tradisyon ng maayos na pakikitungo sa isa't isa?" she added.
(I don't like having conflicts in Senate, so I hope we all just have to be thankful that our countrymen entrusted us with our posts. Will we show them that, immediately after our elections, we are already fighting over committees without respecting the Senate's tradition of keeping good relations?)
She said no senator or senator-elect has so far approached her to express plans to take over the public services committee.
But she admitted guessing who would be interested to replace her.
"Ang Public Services ay maselan na komite sapagkat kung hindi mo gagamitin ang kapangyarihan mo sa maayos na paraan, puwedeng magkaroon ng korapsiyon," she stressed.
She said she hopes Senate President Vicente Sotto III will be able to clarify the Senate's practices regarding the committee chairmanships. "And I hope they accept this," Poe said.
Poe earlier admitted eyeing the chairmanship of the Blue Ribbon Committee.
But she said she will pursue this plan only if its current chair, Sen. Richard Gordon, would relinquish his post.
On Wednesday, she bared speaking to Gordon about her intention. Gordon supposedly told her that he is still thinking whether or not to keep his committee.
"I will respect his decision," Poe said in Filipino.
The reelected senator said she is willing to give up her chairmanship of the public services panel if the Blue Ribbon is given to her.
Senate leaders earlier said incumbent majority senators and senators-elect will meet next week to address conflicts over the committee chairmanships.