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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Imee vs. Zubiri, RCEP issue fuels Senate coup talk

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Amid rumors of a coup to overthrow and replace Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Friday nothing is needed to be stable in the Upper Chamber’s highest post.

“There’s no guarantee of stability in the leadership. So, this is just done through personal relationships, then at the same time, the next step after establishing a personal relationship… least common denominator in governance,” said Pimentel, a former Senate President himself.

His advice to Zubiri? “Do not be too attached to the position. Any time, let it go. If one has a critical number, just give it, because that’s the rules.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Imee Marcos said while she has been over coups, she ought to respond to Zubiri’s statement that she was to blame for the “delayed” ratification of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a priority measure of the Palace.

Aside from Zubiri’s alleged “low performance” as Senate President, reports said the delay in the passage of RCEP was also among the cause for his impending replacement as the chamber’s leader. Macon Ramos-Araneta (See full story online at manilastandard.net)

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“Take care of ego and interests,” he further stated.

Pimentel also pointed out the country’s weak party system and political parties, noting that leaders of Congress “have no party backing.”

Pimentel related that during his time, he also embarked on personal relations, “pakiusap” (asking for favors), and a little bit of common direction.

Meanwhile, Sen. Imee Marcos said while she has been over coups, she ought to respond to Zubiri’s statement that she was to blame for the “delayed” ratification of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a priority measure of the Palace.

Aside from Zubiri’s alleged “low performance” as Senate President, reports said the delay in the passage of RCEP was also among the cause for his impending replacement as the chamber’s leader.

In defending the delay in the passage of one of the priority measures of the President, Zubiri said it was due to the lack of support it got “from the main sponsor herself, who is the chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations.”

He was obviously referring to Sen. Marcos, who has repeatedly opposed RCEP, claiming it will prejudice Filipino farmers and the country’s agricultural sector.

Marcos, the President’s sister, confirmed Zubiri was obviously referring to her even without mentioning names.

She explained that even before the Office of the President transmitted the RCEP ratification package to the Senate on November 29, Marcos said she had already conducted a public consultation in September to urge DA, DTI, and BOC to respond to the concerns raised by the agriculture and MSME sectors.

The ratification package, she said, was referred to her committee only on December 6. In less than a week, on December 12, she conducted the first formal hearing.

“Again, the concerned departments were unresponsive,” said the lady senator.

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