JV: Chiz can talk with Solid 7 when emotions cool

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
JV: Chiz can talk with Solid 7 when emotions cool
Senator JV Ejercito on January 29, 2024.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Francis “Chiz” Escudero has to talk with the so-called Solid 7 in the Senate that sided with his predecessor, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, “after emotions have cooled off,” according to Sen. JV Ejercito.

The Solid 7 senators – composed of Ejercito, Zubiri, Loren Legarda, Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva and Nancy Binay – was described by Ejercito as “a formidable bloc.”

Ejercito resigned as deputy majority leader when Zubiri was forced to quit the Senate leadership.

“Eventually the new leadership has to talk to the Solid 7, still being a formidable bloc in the Senate,” Ejercito said. “But probably after emotions have cooled off.”

Ejercito hinted that their group has yet to decide whether they will be independent or join the minority bloc, led by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III.

The talk will probably take place “after we have decided which direction to take, whether we remain as an independent bloc or join the minority in the Senate,” Ejercito noted.

Escudero has said he is ready to hold a dialogue with Zubiri, as the senator from Bicol sees no reason for them not to have a good relationship.

The Senate President 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 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.

Villanueva disclosed yesterday that some of them are willing to join the minority, and not the majority, under Escudero’s leadership.

In an interview, he admitted they were hurt with the turn of events. Villanueva said some senators apologized for signing the resolution calling to replace Zubiri, but at the same time commending his leadership for their accomplishment.

“What’s important is we move forward, and at the same time choose to remove our emotion over what happened. Even if it hurts, we need to move forward and accept the reality of what happened,” he said.

“Everything is in the open, it’s an option. Right now, three or four out of seven of us are more than willing to be part of the minority. If that is the case, that is what we need to do to be more effective,” Villanueva noted.

He said they have spoken to Pimentel and “he said we are very much welcome.”

While possibly joining the minority, Villanueva said they would also consult the new leadership on how they “can be of help” to the institution.

“At the end of the day, the bottom line for all of us here is where can we be most effective in helping the institution, our country and the people,” he said.

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