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Sotto says no special favors for Duterte allies over Senate committee chairmanships

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Sunday said no special favors were given to first-time senators Christopher "Bong" Go, Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino even as they were poised to get the chairmanship of key Senate committees in the 18th Congress.

The three new senators, who are close to President Rodrigo Duterte, are poised to head some committees because, according to Sotto, luckily these committees had no leaders.

“Wala, buwenas lang talaga. E 'yung mga gusto nila, bakante,” Sotto said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV on Sunday.

According to Sotto, Go would chair the committees on health; on urban planning, housing and resettlements; and on sports. Dela Rosa will head the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs. Tolentino will chair the Committee on Local Government.

The Senate President said most of the committees that the three senators want to chair are committees that no other senator wants to head.

“Bakit si Bong Go, 'yung sinasabi mo na committee, nabakante. E 'yun ang kursunada nila. Bakante ang health, urban planning... Walang ibang interesado," he said.

Sotto said Senator Sonny Angara let go of the local government committee so it was given to Tolentino.

He noted that, in fact, Tolentino’s preference, the justice committee, was not given to him because its current chair Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon refused to let go of the chairmanship.

“'Di nga napagbigyan si Senator Tol (Tolentino) kasi ang second committee na gusto niya, 'yung Committee on Justice. Noong binanggit ni (Senator) Manny (Pacquiao) kay Dick 'yun, lumukot ang noo ni Dick,” Sotto said. —Joviland Rita/KG, GMA News