Escudero elected Senate president amid leadership shakeup

Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau Photo

The Senate of the Philippines witnessed a significant leadership change on Monday, with Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero being elected as the new Senate President, replacing Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.

In an emotional privilege speech, Zubiri announced his decision to step down from the Senate leadership and transition to an independent senator.

“Today, I offer my resignation as Senate President, and upon stepping down, I vow to serve as an independent member of the Senate—my allegiance, as ever, belonging to no one but the people,” Zubiri said.

He reflected on his tenure and expressed confidence in the new leadership.

“I leave with my head held high, knowing I did what is right for the Senate and for the nation. I wish our new leadership the very best, and I pray that they will be steadfast in upholding the independence of our beloved institution.”

Zubiri’s resignation followed mounting rumors of a Senate “coup” driven by discontentment with his leadership, exacerbated by tensions over the People’s Initiative and the House of Representatives’ criticism of the Senate’s resistance to Charter change.

During the plenary session, senators confirmed Escudero’s election as the new Senate President.

“To the new leadership, Senate President Chiz Escudero, I wish you and your team the best,” said Senator Sonny Angara, extending his support.

Senator Joel Villanueva also resigned from his position as Senate Majority Leader, confirming the leadership shift in a message to reporters with the words “signing off.” He indicated that an advisory had been issued regarding the Senate’s leadership transition.

Senator Angara disclosed that 15 senators voted to oust Zubiri, a move preceded by discussions involving Escudero and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.

Under the new leadership, all Senate committees will be declared vacant, signaling a comprehensive reorganization of the chamber’s structure.

As the Senate moves forward under Escudero’s leadership, the focus will likely be on maintaining institutional independence and addressing the controversies that have recently enveloped the chamber.