Marcos Jr. knew of Migz’s looming ouster but denies hand

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos Jr. knew of Migz�s looming ouster but denies hand
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri presides over the public hearing of the Committee on Public Services on May 22, 2024.
Facebook / Senator Migz Zubiri

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – President Marcos yesterday denied involvement in the ouster of Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri as Senate president, but admitted knowing beforehand movements to change the chamber’s leadership, which prides itself as independent of Malacañang.

Speaking to reporters who covered his state visit here, Marcos said he learned about the plan to unseat Zubiri from Senate President Francis Escudero himself.

“It was Senator Chiz, the minute he started thinking about it, he already brought it up and he said: ‘I think I’m going to try to be the SP. What’s my situation? What do you think?’ And I did not speak to any parties at any point, simply because I was out of town,” Marcos said.

“That morning, I was asked if I would issue a statement on the change of leadership and I said, ‘Why? Has it changed?’ They said, ‘Well, someone is moving,’ ” Marcos added.

Marcos was in Tacloban and Dumaguete to distribute aid to El Niño-hit sectors on May 20, the day Zubiri was replaced by Escudero.

“When I landed back in Manila at about three or four in the afternoon, I learned that it was over. It has changed. Senator Migz has stepped down,” Marcos recalled.

“I was basically informed at every step of the way, but it moves so quickly as well,” he added.

Marcos revealed knowing the state of the voting while Escudero collected votes.

Escudero mustered the support of 14 of his colleagues, allowing him to seize the Senate presidency.

“The decision to change the leadership is not made by me. It was made by the senators,” Marcos maintained.

After his ouster, Zubiri claimed that he lost his post since he did not follow instructions of the “powers that be” but did not elaborate.

Escudero admitted initiating Zubiri’s removal and clarified that Malacañang and the House of Representatives had no hand in it.

“I guess if you’re Senate president, the only power that be is the President. I’m not sure what he is referring to, if that is a specific instance or just as a general principle. I don’t know,” Marcos said.

“I haven’t spoken to him about it. The last time I spoke to him, we talked about the procurement law. This didn’t come up. It’s hard for me to answer, simply because I’m not quite sure what he’s referring to... what instructions could there be that he did not finish. Yes, that’s still unclear to me what he was referring to,” he noted.

Asked if he still trusts Zubiri, Marcos said senators are the ones who decided to change their leader.

“That does not reflect on my view on Senator Migz and the trust and confidence that I have in him,” Marcos said.

Meanwhile, Zubiri yesterday said he will go on a vacation with his family “at personal expense and no cost to the government.”

“This will be my ‘me time,’ an emotional and mental break from the politics and the nasty backstabbing. I will be on vacation mode for the next three weeks,” he added.

Zubiri refused to comment on Marcos’ statement.

“Let them be. And let the people be the judge,” he said.

The seven-member bloc that sided with Zubiri –Senators Joel Villanueva, Loren Legarda, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay and Sherwin Gatchalian – is considering beefing up the two-member minority bloc of Aquilino Pimentel III and Risa Hontiveros. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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