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Bato apologizes to Migz and stands by Chiz

The Senate panel investigation led by Senator Ronald dela Rosa was cited as a key reason for Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri’s removal as Senate president. Yesterday, it was disclosed that Dela Rosa was one of the 15 senators who supported replacing Zubiri with Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

Dela Rosa apologized to Zubiri and acknowledged that he had not stood up for him when the attempt was made to remove him from office. Reportedly, he was one of the seven senators who backed Zubiri, but he clarified that he had really signed the paper confirming Escudero as president.

“My commander, I’m sorry, boss, I didn’t win the war for you,” Dela Rosa stated at a press conference. “Being a good soldier, I wanted to tell him.”

Dela Rosa stated that in accordance with the party’s determination to follow the majority, he was forced to vote out Zubiri alongside his three fellow Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) senators, Francis Tolentino, Bong Go, and Robin Padilla.

Joel Villanueva, an ally of Zubiri’s, lost to Tolentino in the election to lead Escudero’s majority. When Escudero’s camp invited Dela Rosa to join the majority, she felt gratified.

Dela Rosa revealed, “I was on the verge of becoming a minority, but I was convinced to join the majority instead.” “Senate President Chiz is a generous winner. He further said, “He persuaded me to join the majority even though he no longer needed my vote because the battle was won.

Dela Rosa was one of the senators acknowledged in Zubiri’s farewell address, so at first it appeared like he was backing Zubiri. During the speech, Dela Rosa broke down in tears and revealed that Zubiri’s thanks was the reason for his emotional response.

“When Senator Migz saluted me in his speech, I could not help but cry. I felt ashamed. If he is heartbroken, I am also heartbroken. He is a good leader,” Dela Rosa said.

He denied crying out of guilt for Zubiri’s downfall due to his investigation into a 2012 Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) pre-operation report targeting then-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“I was told that that was not the reason he was replaced,” Dela Rosa said, assuring he would continue with his investigation into the “PDEA leaks.”

Dela Rosa confirmed he would retain his position as chair of the public order and dangerous drugs committee under Escudero’s leadership. Zubiri had hinted that Dela Rosa’s investigation “ruffled the feathers” of influential figures and led to his demotion.

“I failed 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 in his resignation speech.

Senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Nancy Binay, and Sherwin Gatchalian supported Zubiri. Aquilino Pimentel III and Risa Hontiveros abstained, while the remaining 14 senators, including Dela Rosa, voted for Escudero. Jinggoy Estrada replaced Legarda as Senate president pro tempore.

New Senate majority leader Francis Tolentino expressed respect for Zubiri’s feelings, acknowledging his claims of being a victim of the Marcos-Duterte factional rift.

“Let’s respect his feelings. Let’s just leave it at that. We want everyone to be in a reconciliatory mode, and we don’t want to add to the heat from what happened,” Tolentino said.

Zubiri claimed pressure from the Marcos and Duterte factions led to his replacement, as he had angered both camps—Marcos’ faction by allowing Dela Rosa’s drug inquiry and Duterte’s by signing the arrest order against Apollo Quiboloy.

“I was caught in the middle of the Duterte and Marcos factions. I’m caught in between, but I just did my job, and did it well. This is the consequence of my actions,” Zubiri said on TV Patrol.

At a separate briefing, new Senate president pro tempore Jinggoy Estrada chose not to speculate about Malacañang’s involvement in Zubiri’s ouster, stating, “It’s already water under the bridge. They have nothing to do with the change of leadership here in the Senate.”

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