MANILA, Philippines – The new Senate under the next 18th Congress will be filled with 20 administration senators and 4 opposition members.
Senate leaders said this on Monday, May 20, after the caucus held by the current majority bloc.
“We expect a majority of 20 senators,” Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto told reporters in an interview after the meeting.
Recto and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the consensus between incumbent and incoming senators was to retain the current leadership of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
This was reached on Saturday, May 18, during the meeting between incumbent and incoming senators to discuss the composition of the next Senate.
“All 20 members of the majority….so far the discussion is to retain Sotto as Senate President, myself as majority leader, Senator Recto as Senate [president] pro-tempore….Status quo, yung mga committees lang ang pinag-uusapan (only the committees are up for discussion),” Zubiri said.
Sotto said presumptive senators Bong Go, Ronald dela Rosa, and Francis Tolentino were all supporting him.
“Well, that was how I gauged it because Manny Pacquiao was doing all the talking, siya yung nagsabi na kasama namin silang tatlo, sabi niya, gusto natin suportahan pa rin yung leadership ni Senate President Sotto, sabi niya. (He said they want to support the leadership of Senate President Sotto.) So, I think that is how I gauged everyone that night,” Sotto said.
Despite this, Sotto and other senators maintained that the Senate will be independent.
Likely composition of the new Senate
The 20 administration senators will likely consist of the following:
- PDP-Laban bloc
- Ronald dela Rosa
- Bong Go
- Manny Pacquiao
- Aquilino Pimentel III
- Francis Tolentino
- Macho bloc
- Panfilo Lacson
- Lito Lapid
- Grace Poe
- Vicente Sotto III
- Juan Edgardo Angara
- Nancy Binay
- Sherwin Gatchalian
- Richard Gordon
- Joel Villanueva
- Juan Miguel Zubiri
- Nacionalista Party
- Pia Cayetano
- Imee Marcos
- Ralph Recto
- Cynthia Villar
- Bong Revilla
The 4 opposition senators are:
- Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon
- Francis Pangilinan
- Risa Hontiveros
- Leila de Lima, who is detained in Camp Crame over alleged drug charges.
As for the committee chairmanships, Senate leaders said the priority will be given to incumbent senators.
So far, Zubiri said Go has requested the chairmanship of the committee on health, which would be vacated by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito.
Dela Rosa expressed interest to head the committee on public order and dangerous drugs. Zubiri said current chairman Lacson is open to giving it to Dela Rosa.
The public order committee was the panel that investigated the government’s bloody drug war, which was headed by Dela Rosa as former chief of the Philippine National Police.
The coveted finance committee, which would be vacated by outgoing Senator Loren Legarda, is likely to be headed by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara. Sotto said Angara might leave the local government and ways and means committees.
Other senators are keen on retaining their committees. These include Villar for the agriculture and environment committees and Gordon for the justice and blue ribbon committees.
The 17th Congress is set to adjourn on June 8. The 18th Congress is set to open on July 22, the same day that President Rodrigo Dutere will deliver his 3rd State of the Nation Address. – Rappler.com