There’s a ‘footnote’ to Zubiri ouster
Nancy sneers at ‘Bato’ claim

There’s a ‘footnote’ to Zubiri ouster

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:38 AM May 25, 2024

There’s a ‘footnote’ to Zubiri ouster

Former Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri—Senate PRIB

Here’s a “footnote” to the recent Senate leadership shake-up.

According to Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the last straw that led to the ouster of Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri as Senate president was when he turned down the request of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who was then nursing an injured foot, to be allowed to attend the last five days of plenary session online or via video conference.


Dela Rosa made this claim in a TV interview on Wednesday, two days after he and 14 other senators voted to oust Zubiri and install Sen. Francis Escudero as new head of the chamber.


A former national police chief, Dela Rosa drew some media attention away from both Zubiri and Escudero—first when he was seen breaking down in tears during Zubiri’s emotional farewell speech as Senate president, and later when he gave Zubiri’s wife Audrey a consoling hug in the gallery.

Nancy not buying it

But another senator—a close ally of Zubiri—would have none of Dela Rosa’s version of events.

“It’s just weird to think that of all the conspiracy theories that have come out about the Senate coup, the reason why [Zubiri] was removed was because of one foot,” Sen. Nancy Binay said in a statement on Friday.

“So that’s it. The best or worst interest of the nation is just a foot away,” Binay’s statement read, dripping with sarcasm.

“If a sore foot can inspire such decisive action, just imagine what a fully functioning pair can do. But for now, the foot has spoken. Let’s rally behind Sen. Bong Revilla’s foot.

“[It must be the] first time in Philippine politics that a foot, despite being injured, has shown more kicking power than the powers that be. If the reason why Zubiri was removed was because of a foot, then we can say that they have really put their best foot forward,” she said.


‘Apat na Sikat’

Binay said she, Zubiri and five other peers—Senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Juan Edgardo Angara and JV Ejercito—would remain “vigilant overseers and active fiscalizers” as members of a new bloc she called the “Solid 7”.

“Solid 7 will continue to march forward in the 19th Congress. We will stand on two feet or one foot. Injured or not, rest assured, we will always step up,” Binay said.

In the TV interview, Dela Rosa also said it was actually Sen. Jinggoy Estrada who initially plotted Zubiri’s ouster but failed to get the support of at least 12 other administration senators.

The plot was revived, Dela Rosa said, after Zubiri engaged Revilla and other senators in an argument on the floor on May 13 over Revilla’s request to be allowed to participate online.

Revilla still managed to attend the session in person that day, though he was already wearing a walking boot—or medical shoe—after undergoing surgery for his Achilles tendon injury.

Escudero and Senators Francis Tolentino and Imee Marcos stood up to support Revilla’s request. But Zubiri, who had previously served as majority leader, pointed out that under the Senate rules only members who had contracted COVID-19 and other highly communicable diseases may be excused or allowed to attend the proceedings online.

Dela Rosa said this did not sit well with Revilla’s allies in the so-called “Apat na Sikat” (Famous Four) bloc of movie stars-turned-senators. Aside from Revilla, the informal grouping included Estrada, Lito Lapid and Robinhood Padilla.

Padilla, Estrada ‘angry’

“I’m not trying to fend off the blame [for Zubiri’s removal]. But I just want to share the information that what triggered the ouster of Zubiri was because the actor-senators got mad at him,” he said, adding:

“When [Revilla] attended [the May 13 session] physically, his condition worsened. Padilla and Estrada both got angry.”

Dela Rosa earlier took a bashing on social media for voting for Zubiri’s ouster then publicly apologizing later—tears and all—for what he had done.

The ousted Senate leader later insinuated that Dela Rosa’s insistence to investigate the supposed document leak from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) linking President Marcos to illegal drugs had made him fall out of Malacañang’s favor.

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But Dela Rosa said Escudero had assured him that Zubiri’s removal had nothing to do with the PDEA investigation.

TAGS: Bato Dela Rosa, Juan Miguel Zubiri

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