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Mikey, Iggy Set To Lead House Energy, Natural Resources Panel

Published by MAC on 2007-07-30
Source: Manila Bulletin

Mikey, Iggy set to lead House energy, natural resources panel

By BEN R. ROSARIO, Manila Bulletin

30th July 2007

The chairmanship of two of the most sought after committees in the House of Representatives will be occupied by presidential son, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" M. Arroyo, and his uncle, Rep. Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo of Negros Occidental, once nominations for key posts in the chamber resume this week.

House Majority Leader Arthur Defensor disclosed that aside from the election of assistant minority and majority leaders, chairmanships to be filled this week are those for the committees on energy, natural resources, and ways and means.

However, sources disclosed that chairmanship nominations will also be conducted for the committees on health and agriculture to be headed by Reps. Arthur Pingoy (NPC, South Cotabato) and Abraham Mitra (LP, Palawan), respectively.

Much to the dismay of a number of senior lawmakers from the majority, the energy panel will go to Rep. Mikey Arroyo while his uncle will get the committee on natural resources.

Both second termers, the two Arroyos overtook a number of "graduating" congressmen who supposedly were priority candidates for the two important positions. Camarines Sur Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella, a former speaker, had been eyeing the chairmanship of the energy committee which he handled in the 10th Congress.

As a consolation for giving way to the presidential son, Fuentebella was offered the deputy speakership post which reportedly, he hesitatingly accepted.

Expected to be named chairman of the powerful ways and means panel is Antique Rep. Exequiel Javier, a senior vice chairman of committee.

Defensor disclosed that he expects the nomination of Rep. Crispin Remulla (NP, Cavite) as among the assistant majority leaders of the chamber.

He also admitted that "term sharing" schemes may be observed in key posts such as membership to the Commission on Appointments and the chairmanship of the committee on appropriations.

Reps. Edcel Lagman (Lakas, Albay) and Junie Cua (Lakas, Quirino) are the principal contenders of the appropriations panel.

Meanwhile, senior members of the House of Representatives warned House Speaker Jose C. de Venecia Jr. yesterday against throwing caution to the wind by re-appointing 13th Congress solons as committee chairmen or members of powerful congressional bodies.

Lawmakers who supported the House leader during the speakership race said De Venecia should instead heed the warning aired by Makati City Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr. and stick to his pledge to institute immediate reforms in the Lower House.

Locsin had threatened to identify colleagues involved in extortion should they get re-appointed to committees allegedly tainted with graft during their term in the 13th Congress.

A month prior to Locsin's expose, former Rep. Herminio Teves, chairman of the House committee on ways and means during the 13th Congress, gave a public indictment of the House contingent in the CA whom he accused extorting R5 million from certain Cabinet men seeking confirmation of their appointments.

Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles, who was named head of the House contingent to the CA, said the "public proposal" of Locsin should be studied carefully by the House leadership "as it makes a lot of sense."

Rep. Bienvenido Abante (Lakas, Manila) supported the move that no former CA members should be reappointed.
"If we talk about reforms in the House, De Venecia should be firm," said Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin.

Now on her second term as lawmaker, Garin said CA appointees should be limited to "third term" congressmen to avoid "overstaying."
Comebacking Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said by not re-electing previous members of the CA, De Venecia will convince the nation that he is serious in his vow for reforms.

"(That is) important first step for JDV to lift image of Congress. It will evince serious effort at house-cleaning," Aggabao, one of the brilliant lawyers of the chamber, said.

Yesterday, Marikina City Rep. Del de Guzman revealed that the panel tasked to recommend nominees for committee chairmen and membership to congressional bodies is strongly considering Lanao del Norte Rep. Bobby Dimaporo as a holdover CA member.

Himself a member of the selection panel, De Guzman admitted that infusing new blood into the CA and other key standing committees is "most ideal" in pursuing reforms in the Lower House.
While Locsin and Teves have yet to identify the Lower House "crooks involved in extortion activities," a number of congressmen asked De Venecia to make the right choice of not pushing for the election of any "overstaying" solon to powerful legislative bodies like membership to the CA and chairmanship of the appropriations panel.

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