By Ben Rosario
With bills and resolutions filed already nearing 3,000, not one among the House of Representatives’ 75 committees can start work.
This, as the Lower House remained unable to act on any of the proposals pending the formation of the 75 special and standing legislative committees.
So far, only 10 committees, the Committee on Rules included, have been filled up with chairmen, but these remained lacking of members and vice chairmen. That’s why not one can act on legislative measures referred to them.
However, the deputy speakership posts grew from 14 to 24 slots, with 18 already occupied as of Tuesday.
Meanwhile, chairpersons for 10 House panels have been named. This include those for the standing Committees on Rules, Appropriations, Accounts, Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means and Public Order and Security.
Still, none of the bills and resolutions filed since July 1 will move until all the panel personnel are completed.
The powerful Commission on Appointments will be needing only four members, following the election of seven members who will join San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, the House contingent chairman.
Named to the House CA contingent were Reps. Benjamin Agarao (LP, Laguna); Joel Mayo Almario (Davao Oriental); Mercedes Cagas (Davao del Sur); Joaquin Chipeco Jr. (Laguna); Gavini Pancho (Bulacan); Luis Ferrer (Cavite); Gavini Pancho (Bulacan and Alex Advincula (Cavite).
Nominated by Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and elected by the majority Tuesday were Deputy Speakers Rosemarie Arenas (Pangasinan); Rodante Marcoleta (1Sagip Partylist); Henry Oaminal (Misamis Occidental) and Pablo John Garcia (Cebu).
Earlier named deputy speakers were Reps. Paolo Duterte (Davao City); Ferdinand Hernandez (South Cotabato); Evelina Escudero (Sorsogon); Loren Legarda (Antique); Conrad Estrella III (Abono partylist); Prospero Pichay (Surigao del Sur); Roberto Puno (AntipoloCity); Eduardo Villanueva (CIBAC Partylist); Aurelio Gonzales Jr. (Pampanga); Johnny Pimenel (Surigao del Sur); Luis Raymund Villafuerte (Camarines Sur); Raneo Abu (Batangas); Neptali Gonzales II (Mandaluyong) and Dan Fernandez (Laguna).
On Tuesday, Romualdez, chairman of the Rules Committee, nominated and caused the election of the following committee chairpersons: Reps. Narciso Bravo (Masbate), public order and security and Ann Hofer (Zamboanga Sibugay), foreign affairs.
Now heading important House panels are Reps. Isidro Ungab (Davao City) appropriations; Abraham Tolentino (Tagaytay City), accounts; Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque); energy; Franz Alvarez (Palawan), legislative franchise; Leandro Madrona (Romblon) public works and highways, Jose Sarte Salceda (Albay), ways and means, and Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City), constitutional amendments.
Among the committee chairmen, only Tolentino will be new to the post, which used to be handled by Madrona in the 17th Congress.
The rest of the elected panel heads have chaired various committees during previous stints as congressman.
As expected, Velasco returned as energy committee chairman after failing to secure the speakership in deference to President Duterte’s proposal for the observance of a term sharing agreement with Cayetano for the post.