Zubiri: Senate leadership talks on hold until next week

Published May 23, 2022, 6:15 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The shape of the Senate leadership for the 19th Congress is still hazy.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel ‘’Migz’’ Zubiri said discussions on the leadership issue might be postponed until next week (but) ‘’we will be together in the super majority.’’

Three names being bandied about as leaders of the ‘’super majority’’ are Zubiri, Senator-elect Francis ‘’Chiz’’ Escudero and Senator Cynthia A. Villar.

They are reportedly in the race for the Senate presidency.

Zubiri stressed that he and Escudero are not enemies and that they are in the same group which would decide who should lead the bloc and ‘’I leave it at that.’’

He said he embraced Villar in today’s Senate hybrid plenary session today whose group ‘’will be part of the super majority and hopefully we can come up with decision.’’

‘’The lines between me and Senator Cynthia had been open since day one at lahat naman ng campaign manager niya kaibigan ko (and all her campaign managers are my friends),’’ he pointed out.

‘’Today is a good day. We have a good laugh in the (Senate) lounge sabi ko nga (as I have said), at the end of the day di tayo nag aaway magaksama tayong lahat (we are not enemies, we are friends). We have time we have sufficient time. sabi ko nga tapusin muna natin ang canvassing (As I have said, let us finish the canvassing first),’’ he added.

Zubiri is a member of the Senate panel to the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC) that would canvass the votes cast and proclaim the President elect and Vice President elect, probably late Wednesday or Thursday.

He assured the nation that the Senate majority bloc would ‘’never stifle the independent senators’ advocacies, protect the institution by recognizing traditions and rules and the independence of the institution.’’

‘’I think we have proven that we will continue that tradition as I said patas lahat walang members ng majority o minority (all members of the majority and minority blocs are equal),’’ he pointed out.

‘’Kung sakali nabigyan ng pagkakataon we have to make sure na tuloy tuloy economic agenda, napakadami ng mga kababayan hirap na hirap sa buhay (If given the chance, we have to make sure the economic agenda goes on as there are many of our countrymen who facing economic dificulties),’’ he added.

Zubiri stressed that the Senate has to push for economic agenda of the new administration.

‘’We collaborate with them …social reform agenda, appointment of key cabinet officials, kasi CA (because that is Commission on Appointments) yan. I’m so happy that Toots Ople will be given a chance to head the Department (of Migrant Workers). we are looking forward to that,’’ he said.

Zubiri said he feels strongly that Senator Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ M. Angara should continue being the chairman of the Senate finance committee ‘’and the others are up for grabs.”