‘Fate of administration coalition hangs on who gets what committee’

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SEVERAL lawmakers on Monday agreed with the observations of political analysts that the administration coalition might no survive beyond 2014.
According to former Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd, one of the issues the coalition needs to address is the distribution of Senate committees among its members, considering that the Nacionalista Party (NP) outnumbers the Liberal Party (LP) in the chamber.
Sotto said he received information that the NP bloc has a set of demands to the incoming Senate leadership and failure to meet the demands could damage the relationship among coalition members.
Of the 16 senators who are expected to support the administration coalition, five are from NP, four from LP, and the rest belong to other parties.
In an earlier interview, Sotto admitted talking to Senator Manny Villar, head of NP and assuring him the party will remain loyal to the coalition.
But such assurance, according to a Senate insider, will depend on how the administration party will accommodate the NP senators in the 16th congress.
The insider said NP knows that it has the numbers and it would make sure that its senators will get the choice posts.
Sotto made it clear that the coalition is intact at present but cracks may soon surface once the session begins next month.
NP Sen. Ferdinand Marcos doubts the coalition can stay together until 2014.
He said just like the past political alliances, the LP-led coalition may soon be dissolved since every senator has his or her own position on various issues.
He said one looming source of conflict is the distribution of committee chairmanships.

Marcos said there are 39 regular committees and 35 oversight committees and chances are all incumbent senators will be given a committee chairmanship. But only a few will get the plum posts.

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JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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