Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Michael “Mike” Defensor  said Tuesday that there is “no tradition” that the chairmanship of the House Committees on Public Accounts and Ethics and Privileges should belong to the House opposition bloc. 

mike defensor - Defensor belies supposed traditional chairmanship of committees for any House bloc
Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor
(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The chairperson of the House Committee on Public Accounts  explained that the rules of the 299-man House of Representatives  does not provide that the leadership of major committees belongs to any political parties or groups. 

“First and foremost, there is no rule in the House that any party or bloc has ownership of the committees,” he said in a text message, after new House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano asserted that the minority bloc should lead the two influential committees.

“The tradition of the Ethics and the Public Accounts being with the minoroty is also not true. The Public Accounts Committee is a new creation for the Philippine Congress and the other Congresses of the world,” Defensor pointed out. 

In a virtual press briefing on Paduano said he would ask Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to consider giving the chairmanship of the two panels to his group. 

He recalled that during the leadership of former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, he, along with former Minority leader and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr., and Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin, raised the issue and insisted that the Public Accounts panel “should belong to the Minority.”

Defensor said Paduano phoned him up on Wednesday night to “clarify the issue.”

“And I told him they are most welcome as the minority as plays an active part in the person of former minority leader Benny Abante and Congresswoman Stella [Quimbo]. So I’m fine with them joining,” he said. 

Paduano earlier said they also wanted to secure the vice chairmanship of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, and other major committees in the chamber, but they are still looking into it because of some complications. The panel is chaired by Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado.

There are 63 standing committees, 17 special panels, and one ad-hoc committee with five clusters in the House of Representatives.

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