Being a topnotcher in the May 9, 2022 senatorial elections should have weight in determining who gets to have Senate committee chairmanships.
Senator-elect Sherwin Gatchalian gave this take regarding the desire of Senator-elect Robin Padilla to chair the Senate National Defense and Constitutional Amendments Committees because he topped the senatorial race.
These committees are considered two of the most powerful in the chamber.
Senator-elect Raffy Tulfo was reportedly eyeing the chairmanship of the Senate Civil Service and Labor Committees. He landed third behind returning Senator Loren Legarda.
Since they are all senators, Gatchalian said it is their right to pick the committee where they feel they are effective.
He said he would help the two get the committees of their own choosing ‘’but that is up to the body to decide”.
‘’The choices would be up for discussion,’’ he added.
Gatchalian ran and won as a reelectionist under the UniTeam of presumptive President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Padilla also ran under the UniTeam.
Tulfo ran as an independent. He earlier said he would be joining the majority bloc.
Gatchalian’s view contradicts the position of outgoing Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who said that incoming neophyte senators should study and observe traditions in the Senate.
While everybody may be qualified to chair a major Senate panel, Drilon said ‘’seniority’’ plays a role as a matter of Senate tradition.
‘’The tradition in the Senate is that seniority is given weight and recognition… of course, everything is a matter of compromise but certainly being a topnotcher is a factor in your favor,’’ he added.
Outgoing Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he expects the senators to begin discussing who should be the Senate President, Senate President Pro Tempore, Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader and chairmen of the various committees starting July 1.
The 19th Congress begins on July 25.