Senate leadership shuffle leaves ethics committee, 3 others without chairperson

Senate leadership shuffle leaves ethics committee, 3 others without chairperson
Senator Chiz Escudero takes oath as new Senate President, May 20, 2024.

MANILA, Philippines — The recent Senate shakeup that led to an overhaul of its leadership two years since the start of the 19th Congress has left some committees without a chairperson.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, who bowed out of the role of Senate president due to what he said was his "failure to follow instructions from the powers that be," was replaced minutes after by Senate President Chiz Escudero during Monday's plenary session. 

Other Senate leaders loyal to Zubiri resigned from their leadership positions and committee chairperson roles. 

This includes former Senate Majority leader Joel Villanueva, former Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, former Deputy Majority Leader JV Ejercito, as well as Sen. Nancy Binay (former chair of ethics and tourism committees) and Sen. Sonny Angara (former chair of the Senate finance committee and subcommittee on constitutional amendments).

Senators who received plum posts were Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (Senate President Pro Tempore), Sen. Francis Tolentino (Senate Majority leader and chair of the rules committee). Meanwhile, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is the new chair of the Senate committee on accounts.

The Senate's latest list of committee chairpersons show that the following committees still do not have a chairperson:

  • Ethics and privileges
  • Finance
  • Tourism
  • Youth

Escudero said in an interview with reporters that he initiated talks about a leadership change in the Senate last Thursday. 

In a press conference, Zubiri said he had already learned of the the plan to unseat him since last week, and felt disappointed with those who messaged him to show support but later voted against him behind closed doors.

The former Senate president said the discontent with his leadership may have begun with his refusal to speed up deliberations on Charter change.

In his speech on Monday, Zubiri said his "demise" may have stemmed from his insistence on keeping the Senate "staunchly independent."

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