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Chiz says majority not seniority rules in Senate:’Di porke’t No. 1 ka, ikaw ang first choice

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What equity of incumbent?

Outgoing Senator Chiz Escudero says this rule is just a figment of imagination of some senators wanting to keep to keep their committees away from the prying hands of incoming senators.

In his view, Escudero said all senators, new or old, have equal powers and that only the majority has the final say on the distribution of committee chairmanships in the coming 18th Congress.

“Pare-pareho lamang naman silang senador. Pare-pareho lamang naman ang suweldo nila. Pare-pareho naman silang ibinoto at inihalal ng taong bayan. Hindi naman porke’t sinabi na number one ka ay ikaw ang may first choice. Ikaw ay number two, ikaw ay may second choice,” said Escudero.

“.Wala rin naman sa rules ng Senado na sinabing kapag bago ka ay diyan ka lang. Ang pagtingin ko at dapat maging pagtingin sa bawat miyembro ng Senado ay pantay at pareho. Susukatin na lamang gaya ng sinabi ko sa kakayanan, sa adbokasiya at gayundin sa sipag na magtrabaho,” he added.

Related story: Chiz thinks breaking up is worse than leaving Senate after 12 years

Senate President Tito Sotto is reportedly facing a threat to his seat from Senator Cynthia Villar who topped the recent elections. Sotto is invoking the equity of the incumbent “rule” to keep his majority allies behind him while making sure incoming senators weer satisfied with their committee desires.

Escudero said the equity of incumbent was hard to implement and would create its own problems based on his experience as a congressman (nine years) and senator (12 years).

“Isang congressman na nag-graduate after three terms, nagpahinga ng isang termino at pinatakbo iyong anak o asawa niya, after one term bumalik. Paano mo siya bibilangin, neophyte congressman o four term congressman? Naging dating speaker, bumalik first term uli niya, paano mo siya titimbangin? Neophyte congressman o bibigyan mo bang galang na pang-apat na termino na niya iyon at dati pa siyang speaker?” said Escudero.

“Ganoon din sa Senado, may ilang nagbabalik na mga miyembro ng Senado na hindi naman maaaring maituring na neophyte na senator dahil nanilbihan na sila sa loob ng 12 taon. Natapos lamang naman,” he added.

Escudero said the bottomline was the majority has the final say on how to distribute the committees among themselves.

“Kung ang maging desisyon ng mayorya, sundin ang equity of incumbent, puwes iyon ang susundin. Pero, puwede rin naman nilang hindi sundin iyon; nasa kamay nila, actually, ang pagsasabi o pagpili. Hindi naman siya rule na dapat sundin at hindi puwedeng mabali,” he said.

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