Zubiri cites possible reasons behind his ouster

MANILA. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri salutes to the Philippines flag after he announced that he resigned as Senate President on Monday, May 20, 2024.
MANILA. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri salutes to the Philippines flag after he announced that he resigned as Senate President on Monday, May 20, 2024. Photo from Zubiri's Facebook page

FORMER Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri cited several possible eventualities that could have “ruffled other people’s feathers,” leading to his ouster as the third highest government official.

In a press conference after he relinquished the Senate presidency to Senator Francis Escudero on Monday, May 20, Zubiri expressed belief that his strict adherence to the independence of the Senate “could be the cause of my demise.”

Zubiri said he “saw it coming,” starting when he stood firm against the controversial People’s Initiative, which is aimed for charter change.

“Nung hindi po tayo sumang-ayon sa People’s Initiative (PI), diyan po nag-umpisa. Hindi tayo sumang-ayon sa kanilang timeline sa charter change, diyan ko din naramdaman na medyo may sama ng loob at mahirap dahil ang akin naman, gusto ko lang po manatili ang indipindensya ng ating institusyon ng Senado,” he said.

(When I disagreed with the People's Initiative (PI), that's where it started. We did not agree on their timeline on the charter change, that's also where I felt they were a little resentful and it was difficult because I just want the independence of the Senate to remain.)

“Nag-umpisa po iyan doon sa People’s Initiative at gusto po nila sumunod lang ang Senado, eh hindi po kami papayag doon (That started with the People's Initiative and they want the Senate to follow, well we will not agree to that). For one shining moment, the Senate was united in our stance against People’s Initiative but after that, the attacks began,” he added.

He said he also believes that the ongoing investigation of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs led by Senator Ronald dela Rosa on the alleged leak of confidential documents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that links President Ferdinand Marcos and veteran actress Maricel Soriano, among others, to illegal drug use back in 2012 could be a factor for his ouster.

Zubiri maintained that despite calls and pressure to call off the probe, he remained fair and kept the committee system strong and independent from “any outside forces to dictate what should or should not be in the committee system.”

The lawmaker from Bukidnon said since Wednesday last week, he already heard about moves to remove him from the post.

He said one of his fellow senators even expressed full support to him but changed his tone a day after.

"Medyo masama nga po ang loob ko. Meron pang mga nagte-text sa akin. 'We're with you', 'Full support po kami', 'Kami po ay 100 percent sa 'yo'," Zubiri said.

(I'm a bit disappointed. There are still people texting me: 'We're with you', 'We're in full support', 'We're 100 percent with you.')

"Wala pang isang araw, wala na. Ang hirap talagang maging pulitiko…‘Yung nakipag-usap sa 'kin 'yung nag-traydor sa akin…Full support. Ngayon, no support. Pero okay lang 'yun. I don't want to rain on the parade of Senator Escudero" he added.

(Less than a day, it was gone. It's hard to be a politician... The one who talked to me is the one who betrayed me...Full support. But now, no support. But that's okay.)

Zubiri expressed gratitude to those who stayed with him until the end such as Senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, JV Ejercito, Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, and Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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