Zubiri: Cha-cha is dead in Senate

MANILA. Former Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
MANILA. Former Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.Photo from Zubiri's Facebook page

OUSTED Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri expressed belief on Monday, May 20, 2024, that the administration’s push for constitutional amendment will no longer prosper in the Senate under the new leadership of newly elected Senate President Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

“No more Cha-cha. Goodbye, Cha-cha. Senator [Juan Edgardo] Angara has resigned. You know that Senator Escudero is anti-Cha-cha. Openly, he’s anti-Cha-cha. I hope the people who supported him knew that. Strange bedfellows, isn’t it?” Zubiri said in a press conference after he stepped down from post.

“As far as we’re concerned, Cha-cha is dead in the Senate this week,” he added.

The subcommittee on constitutional amendments chaired by Angara has cancelled the second and third “regional consultations” on the Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 (RBH 6), which was supposedly held on May 23 and 24, in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro cities, respectively.

Zubiri filed RBH 6, which seeks to amend Articles 12, 14 and 16 of the Constitution or the provision on public services, education and advertising industry of the 1987 Constitution by adding the phrase "unless otherwise provided by law."

The Senate started its deliberation on RBH No. 6 in the first week of February.

Angara, along with other Zubiri’s allied senators such as Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Majority Leader Senator Joel Villanueva, Senate Committee on Tourism, Accounts and Ethics chairperson Nancy Binay, and Senate deputy majority leader JV Ejercito, resigned from their post as a courtesy to Escudero’s leadership.

Meanwhile, in a separate press conference after he assumed post as the third highest government official, Escudero, who had been vocal on his stand against constitutional amendment, said the majority block will discuss plans pertaining to Charter change (cha-cha).

"We will discuss it on the part of the majority. But you know my position and I have no plans of changing my position," he said, adding that “it is not for me to say” whether cha-cha can already be considered “dead” in the Senate or not.

In the House of Representatives, House Speaker Martin Romualdez expressed confidence that with Escudero’s leadership, the administration’s legislative agenda will further prosper.

"Under President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' R. Marcos Jr.'s administration, we have laid out comprehensive programs and initiatives aimed at uplifting the lives of millions of Filipinos," Romualdez said, as he congratulated Escudero for his election as senate president.

"With Senator Escudero's leadership in the Senate, I am confident that we can further strengthen our legislative agenda and ensure the successful implementation of these programs," he added.

House Majority leader Zamboanga City Representative Manuel Dalipe expressed optimism that Escudero’s leadership will take positive strides toward achieving the economic constitutional reforms advocated by Marcos. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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