Press Release
August 3, 2010

Senate committee assignments are not 'rewards' -- Drilon

Senator Franklin Drilon stressed yesterday that committee assignments in the Senate should not be viewed as a reward but as something that is related to the work, expertise and espoused causes of the individual senators.

"It is unfortunate that these committee assignments are being viewed in general as a reward. Unfortunately, it is not being perceived as the instrumentality and the avenue through which we craft laws," said Drilon in an interview.

"Remember that President Noynoy Aquino has the mandate and therefore he will be held responsible for his programs. It is natural that we who are members of the Liberal Party will have the burden of that responsibility."

A former Senate President, Drilon said that the senators will be judged by the electorate on how they will perform and not because they were assigned to the committees.

Drilon brushed aside issues being raised over the appointment of Senator Teofisto Guingona III to the Blue Ribbon Committee over Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, saying Guingona as a lawyer campaigned on the issue of graft of corruption.

He said Guingona's task of probing cases of graft and corruption in government "is not an easy job, I do not know why this is being considered a plum committee."

Santiago's not getting a chairmanship, on the other hand, "is a decision of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile," said Drilon.

Likewise, he said that it is not at all true that Senator Ralph Recto had been appointed to head two powerful committees, the Ways and Means, and Government Corporations and Public Enterprises.

"The Committee on Ways and Means, I think nobody can dispute the competence of Senator Recto to handle that. He used to handle that. He steered into law a number of tax measures in his previous term," said Drilon.

"Now, that matter of the Government Corporations, that is a minor committee, and each member of the majority had two committees. He was not bidding for it (Government Corporations) but nobody wanted to take it so it was assigned to him," he added.

As chair of the Committee on Finance, Drilon said that his priority is the budget that will be presented to the Senate sometime toward the end of the month.

On questions raised over the appointment of the indisposed Senator Panfilo Lacson to head the Committee on Accounts, Drilon said that the Majority Leader can very well take charge of it in Lacson's absence.

"The committee on Accounts is just a formality that is given to a member of the Senate. It looks into the budget of the Senate, but this could very well be done by the Majority Leader as Chairman of the Rules Committee. When I was Majority Leader I handled it in the previous Congresses."

And with Senator Antonio Trillanes being assigned to chair the Civil Service and Government Reorganization, Senator Drilon said that his agreement with Trillanes is that he as vice-chair will preside over the hearings in Trillanes' absence.

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