Senate names 9-man panel with 4 alternates to canvass committee

May 24, 2010 8:06 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 24 – The Senate named on Monday the members of its nine-man panel with four alternates to the joint congressional canvass committee for presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the recently-concluded automated elections.

After struggling to look for available senators, the Senate finally completed a nine-man lineup composed of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as chairman, Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Senators Joker Arroyo, Rodolfo Biazon, Alan Peter Cayetano, Gregorio Honasan, Edgardo Angara and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.

Senator Francis Pangilinan has been named earlier in the nine-panel but has been relegated to alternate team along with Senators Lito Lapid, Pia Cayetano and Jinggoy Estrada.

The membership of the panel was agreed upon in a caucus and was approved during a brief Senate session attended by 15 senators, including apparent president-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Others present were Senators Enrile, Zubiri, Pangilinan, Alan Peter Cayetano, Honasan, Angara, Revilla, Manuel A. Roxas II, Biazon, Lapid, Estrada, Pimentel, Francis Escudero and Jamby Madrigal.

Last week, the House of Representatives named its own nine-man panel composed of House Speaker Prospero Nograles as chairman, Majority Leader Arthur Defensor, Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, Senior Deputy Minority Leader Roilo Golez, Representatives Crispin Remulla, Didagen Dilangalen, Matias Defensor, and Michael John Duavit.

The Senate President encouraged the Senate members to be active in preparing the rules to avoid doubts from cropping up during the joint canvass beginning Tuesday.

Enrile, who got a fresh six-year mandate, made his appeal after Escudero and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago requested to be excluded from the joint congressional canvass panel due to various reasons.

Zubiri said those who have already inhibited were presidential candidates Manny Villar, Richard Gordon, Aquino and Madrigal as well as vice presidential bets Loren Legarda and Roxas.

Enrile said the rules in the canvass, which may likely be changed due to the first automated election system, will be approved during the convening of the joint congressional canvass committee on Tuesday afternoon at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

Unlike in the previous elections where the majority leader of each house of Congress served as co-chairmen, the Senate President and the House Speaker will now serve as co-chairmen of the joint committee. (PNA) scs/jfm

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