Photo from Senator Migz Zubiri’s Facebook page. 

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri is the Senate President of the 19th Congress.

Zubiri was already the acting Senate president and was elected by acclamation. No other candidates for the position were nominated. No objection to his nomination was raised as well. Six senators nominated him for the post.

The Senate president position has historically gone to majority leaders of the upper chamber. Zubiri, who was majority leader of the 18th Congress, has also long been recognized as experienced in the ins and outs of the Senate.

Gatchalian nominated Zubiri for Senate President saying the latter exceeded expectations. Gatchalian also supported Zubiri for Senate Majority Leader in 2018.

“Zubiri set the tone and led this chamber towards accomplishing the agenda of the people even amidst the pandemic,” Gatchalian said in his lengthy praise of his colleague. 

Sen. Loren Legarda also nominated Zubiri, calling him a “dynamic and forward-looking” leader.

Senators Jinggoy Estrada, JV Ejercito, Grace Poe, and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa also praised Zubiri’s ability to bring conflicting stances together.

Meanwhile, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Koko Pimentel and siblings Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano abstained from voting. Hontiveros and Pimental form the minority block with Pimentel chosen by Hontiveros as the minority floor leader.  The Cayetano siblings decided to be independents in the upper chamber.

Sen. Loren Legarda was nominated as Senate President Pro Tempore by Sens. Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, and Nancy Binay. Like Zubiri, she took the post with no other senator nominated.

Sen. Joel Villanueva was elected Majority Floor Leader along with it, the chairmanship of the Senate committee on rules — a post that traditionally belongs to the Majority Floor Leader.  Sens. Angara, Zubiri, and Ronald dela Rosa nominated him.  

After  Villanueva was elected, neophyte senator Robin Padilla took the floor to inform the chamber he was abstaining from the voting.

In a message to reporters, Padilla, explained his reason for abstaining.

“Pag-usapan po namin muna ni Majority Floor Leader ang isyu ko sa kanya [I’ll discuss first with Majority Floor Leader my issues with him],” he said.

 — Ronald Espartinez