The 17th Congress has officially begun and the different leaders for the Senate and the House of Representatives have been chosen.
For the Senate, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III of the PDP-Laban is the Senate President; Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III of the National People’s Coalition is the Senate Majority leader; and Sen. Ralph Recto of the Liberal Party is the Senate Minority leader.
For the House of Representatives, Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of the PDP-Laban is the House Speaker; Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of the Liberal Party is the Majority leader; and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. of the Liberal Party is expected to be the Minority leader.
But what exactly are these government posts for? Here are the different roles and responsibilities of each important post in the 17th Congress.
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1. Senate President
Sen. Koko Pimentel will be responsible over presiding Senate sessions, maintaining order in the session hall, and order the Journal reading of the previous Senate session.
He will also be responsible for signing measures, resolutions, memorials, warrants and subpoena. The Senate President can also dismiss Senate office employees, control the number of authorized personnel in the Senate office, and is the ex officio chairman of the Commission on Appointments (COA).
2. Senate Majority leader
Sen. Tito Sotto is now the second-in-command in the Senate. His main role is to manage the legislative concerns and business affairs of the majority party in the Senate.
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Traditionally, the Senate Majority leader is also the Chairman of the Committee on Rules, which allows him to formulate, negotiate, promote, and defend the majority’s legislative programs. He can also help in developing the Senate calendar and assisting Pimentel in developing programs, decisions, and policies.
3. Senate Minority leader
Sen. Ralph Recto is the head of the minority in the Senate. He is the spokesman for his party in the Senate and is expected to vigilantly defend the minority’s rights and give constructive criticisms on the programs and policies of the majority.
4. House Speaker
Rep. Alvarez is now the highest-ranking official of the House of Representatives and the fourth highest official in the country.
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His new duties include preparing the legislative agenda for every Congress session, establishing procedures to speed up the approval of proposals, conduct monthly caucus, and establish an effective system for managing information in the House.
He also has the power to suspend and dismiss House personnel, prepare the House’s annual budget, require submission of performance reports, and delegate the representative of the House for international gatherings.
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5. Majority Leader
Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas is the official leader of the majority bloc in the House of Representatives. By tradition, the Majority leader is given priority by the House Speaker in obtaining the floor during Congress sessions and is usually appointed as the Chairman of the Committee on Rules.
6. Minority leader
Rep. Baguilat is expected to become the next official leader and spokesperson of the minority group in the House of Representatives. He is responsible for managing the business of the minority bloc, defending its rights in the House, and constructively criticizing the Majority’s policies and programs.
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