House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez — PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

By Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio

KEY SENATORS and congressmen will meet on Thursday to align their legislative agenda after a change in leadership at the Senate, according to Speaker and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez.

“We will have a meeting to discuss priority legislative agenda,” he said in a statement in Filipino on Wednesday. “There has been a change in the leadership [at the Senate], and there might be new priorities that could be recommended.”

Senator Francis “Chiz” G. Escudero in May replaced Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri as Senate president, which also led to changes in the leadership of Senate committees, including economic affairs, finance and energy.

Mr. Romualdez said the House of Representatives has approved all 19 Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) priority bills before the June deadline. The Senate has passed eight measures.

The Senate should continue the legislative agenda set by the LEDAC, Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco, a senior research fellow at the Ateneo de Manila University Policy Center, said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

“If he wants to make his own mark, it’s best to do this after President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s state of the nation address, when he may be open to his inputs,” he added.

“The expectation is he’ll support the legislative agenda of the President. So there is no viable reason for him to deviate from the agenda already set by the LEDAC.”

Mr. Zubiri was probably replaced to make the Senate “more on board the executive agenda,” Hansley A. Juliano, a political science lecturer at the Ateneo, said via Messenger chat.

The Senate could assert its own priorities in the second half of Mr. Marcos’ six-year term if Mr. Escudero does not want to become a rubber stamp, Arjan P. Aguirre, another Ateneo political science professor, said in a Messenger chat.

There might be changes in priority bills, which “usually happens after every leadership change in the upper or lower chamber of any Legislature,” he said.

The backlog in Senate approvals might be due to its focus on politically sensitive issues such as the “allegations of celebrities and political figures using drugs,” Mr. Juliano said.

Congress is on recess and will resume sessions on July 22, before the president’s address before Congress.