Zubiri says Senate won’t be dissolved under his watch: If it means my head, then so be it
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday vowed to block any moves that would either weaken or dissolve the Senate as lawmakers tackle Charter change (Cha-Cha) proposals.
Despite coup threats against him for his stand on Cha-cha, Zubiri said he would not allow the upper chamber to be dissolved under his watch even if it means losing his post.
The Senate leader himself raised the possibility of the Senate being dissolved while discussing on ABS-CBN News a gray area in the Constitution: how Congress should vote on proposed amendments.
“There are arguments on one side, particularly from our colleagues in the House that say — they don’t say it openly — but they say it privately that it should be voting as one,” he said.
“Kung voting as one, ‘yung 24 na senador ay talagang lampaso sa (If voting as one, the 24 senators will be dominated by the) 301 members of Congress so they will be able to reach three-fourths vote without any say from the senators even if we all vote against.
“Imagine if there will be political amendments, tanggalin ang Senado (Senate will be removed)? My goodness…” Zubiri said.
So when asked about the possibility of the Senate being dissolved if the Cha-cha bid succeeds, the senator said: “It’s possible.”
He made it clear, however, that he would not allow this to happen under his watch.
“Not on my watch; that’s why there are coup threats against me. Well, it’s fine but I’m an institutionalist, I believe in the institution,” Zubiri stressed.
It was earlier reported that Zubiri almost lost his post supposedly over the lackluster performance of the chamber under his leadership.
According to him, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and another source received information that the alleged leadership change talks could be because of his refusal to “dance to Cha-Cha.”
“As I mentioned, I’m an institutionalist. I believe in the institution. I really believe in the sanctity and the wisdom of having a Senate, a bicameral system of government and if it means my head then so be it,” he said.
“But not on my watch where I’m sitting here and since 1916 where this has been the last bastion of democracy that I allow it to happen that I dissolved, that I‘m the last Senate President who allowed the dissolution of the Senate. I don’t think that’s gonna happen on my watch…” Zubiri said.