ONE week after the opening of the 17th Congress, administration allies in the House of Representatives have started getting committee chairmanships.
To date at least six solons, who are among those who elected Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker of the House, have been designated to head juicy committees.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas announced on the floor the nomination of Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles as chairman of the Committee on Appropriations; Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco as chairman of the Committee on Energy; Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez as chairman of the Committee on Legislative Franchises and Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez as chairman of the Committee on Tourism.
San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora was also assigned to head the Committee on Appointments House contingent.
Last week, the Lower Chamber announced the designation of Batangas Rep. Eileen Ermita-Buhain as chairman of Accounts Committee and Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop as chairman of the Committee on Public Order and Safety.
A source said, one of the powerful committees, the Appropriations panel, was first offered to Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya but due to the closeness of Nograles to President Rodrigo Duterte, it was given to him.
The source said Andaya, who joined the PDP-Laban after the elections, will be rewarded with another most sought after body, the Committee the Ways and Means.
Andaya was the Budget and Management Secretary during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Last week, members of other political parties who forged an alliance with the PDP-Laban and supported the speakership bid of Alvarez were designated as Deputy Speaker, namely: Negros Occidental Rep. Mercedes Alvarez of Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC); Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro of National Unity Party (NUP); Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo of Liberal Party (LP); Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu of Nacionalista Party (NP) and Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson of PDP-Laban.
Meanwhile, one from the Party-list Coalition will be appointed as Deputy Speaker, and the leadership is choosing between AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin and Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
In a related story, the House Legitimate Minority group, headed by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, is demanding committee chairmanship and membership, being part of the House of Representatives.
The group of Baguilat still insists he is the Minority Leader after getting the second highest number of votes in the Speakership election.
However, in the separate voting of some 25 solons, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez won.
According to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman since Baguilat is the genuine Minority Leader, it is proper for the House leadership to recognize the group and give it committees to head or be members of.
Lagman told Alvarez in the letter to assign the Minority members to their committee preferences.