As Congress opens, Zubiri keeps Senate presidency
MANILA, Philippines — Despite murmurs of a possible change in Senate leadership over the past months, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri is staying as the chamber’s chief in the 19th Congress.
The Senate opened the second regular session of the 19th Congress on Monday, with Zubiri banging the gavel to mark its official start.
The session lasted less than 30 minutes and ended with no one daring to challenge Zubiri for the top post in the upper house.
Zubiri has been the target of rumors of a coup since he became Senate President, supposedly because of the inefficiency of the Senate and his unpopular stance on constitutional reform.
But in the weeks leading up to the opening of Congress, several senators from the majority bloc quashed the possibility of a shakeup in the Senate leadership as they renewed support for and loyalty to Zubiri.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, rumored to be replacing Zubiri, had denied talks of a coup in the chamber.
“The supermajority — the members of the majority — are fully supportive of Senate President Migz Zubiri,” he clarified.
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda was also among the lawmakers who dismissed talks of a leadership shakeup in the Senate.
“Why would you fix something that is not broken…There are no talks. There will be no change. We are in full support of Senate President Migz,” she said.
His colleagues overwhelmingly elected Zubiri as Senate President during the opening day of the 19th Congress.
Zubiri has repeatedly said he would let go of his coveted post if enough senators vote to unseat him.