IN contrast to the wangling and bickering at the House of Representatives, senators smoothly filled the vacant committee chairmanships on Tuesday with most of the juicy positions going to those who were among the first senators to join the super-majority forged by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.
But while returning Senator Richard Gordon was late in joining the new majority bloc, he was still given the juicy post at the helm of the Blue Ribbon committee.
Based on the initial plan, Senators Loren Legarda of the Nationalist People’s Coalition and Leila de Lima of the Liberal Party were elected chairman of the finance and justice committees.
Senator Sonny Angara of the LDP-Laban retained the chairmanship of the ways and means committee.
The public works committee, formerly headed by Senator JV Ejercito, went to Senator Manny Pacquiao who recently bolted the United Nationalist Alliance and joined the now dominant PDP-Laban.
Three other neophyte senators—Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros and Joel Villanueva—were also given the chairmanships of the committees on energy, health and labor, respectively.
Gatchalian was earlier chosen to head the local government committee chaired in the 16th Congress by former Senator Bongbong Marcos but he rejected the post.
Returning Senators Panfilo Lacson, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Francis Pangilinan were elected chairmen of the committee on public order, trade and agriculture, respectively.
Senator Grace Poe got the committee on public services. Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino was named chairman of the committee on education while Senator Nancy Binay is head of the committee on tourism.
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito is chairman of the committee on urban planning housing and urban resettlement.
Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II was elected head of the Senate committee on national defense.
Senator Cynthia Villar, who failed to keep the agriculture committee, was given two chairmanships”•committees on environment and on social justice, welfare and rural development.
Senate Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon of LP was also elected chair of the committee on constitutional and revision of codes. Majority Leader Senator Vicente Sotto III of the NPC will chair the committee on rules.
The other leader of the Senate is Minority Leader Ralph Recto.
Sotto said the Senate has so far constituted 20 committees but there are still 19 other standing committees.