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Drilon denies dangling committee posts to ensure Senate presidency win



Amid assertions of some senators casting doubt still on the possibility of Sen. Franklin Drilon bagging the Senate presidency when the 16th Congress opens three weeks from now, the lawmaker yesterday indicated that he’s out to disprove so-called skeptics.
“I am trying to have the best team,” Drilon said in a chance interview with reporters, referring to what he claimed as ongoing reorganization on the committee chairmanships, supposedly under his leadership.
As of last week, no one among senators aligned with the administration could ascertain the committee assignments that will be assumed by them when the new round of plenary sessions opens later this month.
Drilon announced though that the matter is still in the process of being threshed out, supposedly by those who will form the new majority bloc in the Senate and with the much-coveted committees ending up in their hands and the less significant ones being left out for the members of the minority bloc to fill in.
“The committee chairs (will be named) based on what we believe will be a public interest, the competency of the senators,” he said.
“It’s not a question of making one happy. It is a question of making the public satisfied that we deliver the services needed,” Drilon added.
Earlier, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero had dismissed the impression that Drilon is allegedly dangling the committee chairmanships to ensure his hold on the Senate presidency.
Escudero said there was no “condition” sought from them or asked of them as they were merely told to submit their “preferences” insofar as committee assignments are concerned.
He, however, admitted that he’s not privy to whatever negotiations that are currently ongoing.
Former Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., president of the Nacionalista Party, repeatedly said that the matter of committee assignments should be settled by Drilon, saying that whoever is seeking the upper chamber presidency is expected to be able to resolve this issue before assuming the post.
Escudero was quick to assess that the NP could only be engaged in saber rattling to ensure its ranks in the Senate would be able to corner the posts and committees of their choice.

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