By Ben Rosario
The Partytlist Coalition Foundation emerged victorious in its bid for equal treatment in the House of Representatives.
With newly-elected Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano at the helm of the Lower Chamber, the PCF, headed by 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Michael Romero, will get 20 percent of the available committee assignments and leadership positions as sought by the bloc – the second largest political group of congressmen.
For starters, Reps. Conrad Estrella (Abono Partylist) and Eduardo Villanueva (CIBAC Partylist) were two of the 12 deputy speakers endorsed by Cayetano and later elected to the post.
Reps. Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA) and Alfredo Garbin (Ako Bicol Partylist) were assured of slots in the powerful Commission on Appointments.
ON the other hand, another PCF member will also be likely become part of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
Garbin said Romero may no longer seek any post in the Lower House although the Cayetano leadership is willing to assign him to take a significant assignment in the chamber.
Among the other partylist lawmakers expecting a Cayetano endorsement for committee chairmanship or vice chairmanship of the Committee on Appropriations are Reps. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon Partylist); Rodante Marcoleta (SAGIP Partylist); Michael Defensor (Anak Kalusugan); Eric Pineda (1Pacman Partylist), Virgilio Lacson (Manila Teachers); Joseph Paduano (Abang Lingkod); Amihilda Sangcopan and Jose Panganiban (ANAC-IP).
Assigning at least 20 percent of the total officer allocation to partylist congressmen is a first in the Lower House since the partylist system was first introduced in the Lower House.
“Treatment of partylist representatives co-equal of district congressmen has been a long-standing goal of our group. We are pleased this has become a reality as far as assigning us to committee chairmanship is concerned,” said Romero.
The PCF moved swiftly to support a Cayetano speakership following President Duterte’s endorsement of a 15-21 month term sharing scheme that gave his former Cabinet secretary the priority to lead the Lower House for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress.
Romero said Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who was endorsed by Duterte for the second leg of the term sharing, will also be supported after Cayetano’s term ends in 15 months.