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Senate presidency: Zubiri sees supermajority, but mum on who will lead

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday kept his silence on speculations of term-sharing for the Senate presidency, but said talks are ongoing with Senator Cynthia Villar and dismissed reports of his supposed rivalry with incoming senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero for the position.

At a press conference, Zubiri downplayed reports about competition between him and Escudero for the presidency of the upper chamber.

"Well, kami ni Chiz, hindi kami magkaaway, magkaparehong grupo kami. Eventually, ang mangyayari d'yan 'yung grupo namin will decide sino magli-lead ng bloke namin. I'll leave it at that," Zubiri said.

[Chiz and I are not enemies; we're from the same group. Eventually, the group will decide who will lead our bloc.]

He also declined to discuss the possibility of term-sharing.

“No comment muna. Let’s not comment about term-sharing. I don’t want to jinx anything,” Zubiri said.

He, however, said that talks are ongoing with the Villar camp regarding the leadership of the next supermajority.

“The lines between me and Senator Cynthia had been open from day one…We’re still discussing,” he said.

Zubiri admitted that there was animosity among the current members of the Senate because of the session break, but added that they have re-ignited their relationship with one another during lunch on the resumption of session today.

“Sabi ko nga, at the end of the day, ‘di tayo nag-aaway. Magkakasama naman tayong lahat [As I said, at the end of the day, we're not enemies. We are all colleagues].  So I think that is a good first step to discuss the issue of leadership and we have time, we have sufficient time. Sabi ko nga tapusin ko muna ‘yung canvassing [I said to wait until the canvassing of votes is finished]... all the discussions on leadership, maybe, we can postpone for next week. We'll be here one more weekend [and] we can sort things out then. But eventually we will be together in supermajority,” he added.

Zubiri, Villar and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian are among the senators who are reportedly vying for the Senate’s top post in the 19th Congress.

GMA News Online previously asked Escudero to confirm reports that he is vying for the Senate presidency, to no avail.

Some senior members of the Senate, such as Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, already expressed support for Zubiri as the next Senate president.

On the other hand, Senator Imee Marcos, sister of presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., is pushing for Villar as the next Senate leader. — BM, GMA News