Chiz open to dialogue with Migz

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Chiz open to dialogue with Migz
Chiz Escudero on May 20, 2024.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Francis Escudero is ready to hold a dialogue with his predecessor Juan Miguel Zubiri as the senator from Bicol sees no reason for them not to have a good relationship.

Escudero clarified that he is not trying to avoid Zubiri, whom he replaced after 15 other senators signed a resolution calling for a leadership change in the Senate.

“Since we are not enemies, I see no reason why the relationship cannot be good, although we have different views on some things,” Escudero said.

“If we get a chance to talk, as I am not avoiding them, maybe we can talk here in the Senate itself or outside. If we meet or if I miss them or they miss me, it’s easy to just text,” he said.

The recently installed Senate president admitted that there were some gaps between fellow senators after the leadership change, but he noted that he understands that the other senators would feel that way.

He expressed optimism that time will heal these wounds. For Escudero, the issue is not personal, thus wounds will heal more easily.

“There are no tears yet, but this is just part of the process. I believe that the Senate will overcome this as an institution. There will be times of sadness, there will be times of happiness and there will be times of future challenges. There will be times when everything will be easy. Perhaps, one of those will also come. Our time is good, the relationship and the Senate’s progress is better,” he said.

Six of the senators – Senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito and Sherwin Gatchalian – have expressed their sentiments on the ousting of Zubiri. They said they were poised to form an alliance and preferred to be independent.

Villanueva earlier said he is studying the opposition’s side in the Senate and that he would break away from the majority.

Escudero gave assurance that the tension would subside and the legislators would unite for the people.

He said it was not the issue of the “PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) leaks” or Zubiri’s unwillingness to allow online attendance at sessions that caused the latter’s ouster. But Escudero did not specify the reason.

Escudero is hopeful that despite the setback, the proposals on the priority agenda of the Marcos administration will be passed.

A week after he assumed the Senate presidency, Escudero continued to conduct inspections of the Senate premises at the GSIS building in Pasay City.

He also held dialogues with employees and even checked the setup of parking spaces and the temperature at the Senate building.

Escudero also visited the Legislative Records and Archive Service (LRAS), which is open 24/7 to accommodate the needs of legislators, students and academe on their research involving Senate proceedings.

LRAS chief Marilou Binanitan said she has been in the Senate for over 30 years and it was the first time that a Senate president checked the unit.

“I served in my executive function as governor, that’s what I did. Now, as the president of the Senate, I consider myself the administrative head of the Senate, and it is only right to visit and find out what each office is doing and how we can serve them so that they can improve their service to anyone who comes to their office. I’m not even finished, I’m still on the fourth floor, I’m still on the third floor, I’m not out yet,” Escudero said.

Asked when the Senate will move to its new building in Taguig City, he answered that the best time to do so is when the Senate adjourns sine die.

“Our target transfer will probably be in 2025 sine die, if not 2026 sine die. If it doesn’t reach that, 2027 sine die. At least, we have two months to formally move and make arrangements so that the workflow will go more smoothly when sessions resume,” he said.

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