Escudero: ‘Unfair’ to tag me as Palace lackey for replacing Zubiri

Escudero: 'Unfair' to tag Zubiri's replacement as Palace lackey

Newly installed Senate President Chiz Escudero answers queries from members of the media on Monday, May 20, 2024. Noy Morcoso/

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Monday protested insinuations he was picked to head the upper chamber for being a Palace lackey.

“That’s unfair because nobody ever accused Senator Zubiri [of] being a Palace lackey, that he was chosen by the Palace to be our Senate president. We’ve always stood up and said that we chose him as our Senate president,” Escudero said in an interview over ANC’s “Headstart.”

“For him to say now or to accuse that, if it’s anyone other than him, then it’s a Palace lackey will be unfair because the Palace does not even have a vote on this issue. Suffice it to say that senators-elect the Senate president,” he added.

He was asked about resigned Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s supposed statement that there were outside forces involved in the chamber’s leadership change and that Escudero was the only candidate that Palace wanted to replace  Zubiri.

When Zubiri announced his resignation on the Senate floor last May 20, he mentioned his failure “to follow instructions from the powers that be.” 

“I fought the good fight. If I have ruffled some feathers in doing so if I have upset the powers that be, then so be it,”  Zubiri said then.

But before the leadership change happened, Escudero said he was not interested in the Senate top post despite his “concerns” about the direction of the previous leadership of Zubiri, especially on the Charter change issue.

Only last May 16, he said he had initiated a change in Senate leadership.

“When I say initiated, that’s when I decided that I do want to take the leadership helm of the Senate if my colleagues will support me,” Escudero said.

According to him, he first called up Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who later talked to Senator Jinggoy  Estrada, who is now holding the second top post in the chamber as Senate President Pro Tempore.

Estrada was rumored to have replaced Zubiri earlier when an alleged coup plot surfaced early this year.

Escudero clarified he was not part of this supposed coup plot supposedly involving Estrada, saying the latter did not talk to him since he was abroad during that time.