Zubiri says he lost Senate presidency for defending Dela Rosa

Zubiri says he lost Senate presidency for defending Dela Rosa
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri delivers his privilege speech on May 20, 2024 (left), while Sen. Ronald dela Rosa is seen tearing up during Zubiri's announcement of his resignation as Senate president.
Senate of the Philippines website; Senate livestream

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed on Tuesday that his colleagues wanted to unseat him as Senate president for defending Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who eventually ended up voting against him.

Zubiri told reporters that this was why he was "dumbfounded" after learning that one of the 15 senators who signed a resolution supporting his ouster included Dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa, chair of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, has led at least four hearings into the alleged leaked Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) documents linking President Marcos Jr. to illegal drug use.

"I thought I’ve seen strange things in my political career. And this happens to be the strangest,” Zubiri said.

“At least alam niya na dinepensahan ko siya bilang isang chairman ng committee, at dahil diyan, nagkaroon ng sakripisyo. Ako po ay sakripisyo diyan. Nawala ako sa position,” he continued.

(At least he knows I defended him as chairperson of a committee, and because of that I was sacrificed. I lost my position.)

In an emotionally charged privilege speech on Monday, Zubiri announced his resignation and said he was stepping down due to his "failure to follow instructions from the powers that be"

Zubiri said he fought to keep the Senate "staunchly independent."

In a press conference on Tuesday, Dela Rosa admitted to signing the resolution in favor of electing Senate President Chiz Escudero to replace Zubiri.

Dela Rosa said his signature was already "insignificant" because the group supporting Escudero had already clinched 14 out of 24 signatures needed to install him.

The senator was seen weeping in the background during Zubiri's speech on Monday. 

"I'm sorry we lost the war," Dela Rosa said. — Cristina Chi

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