Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Zubiri not expelled from Senate


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FACT CHECK: Zubiri not expelled from Senate
The false video uses audio narration from a vlogger’s opinion about Zubiri’s pledge to step down as Senate president if the Constitution is amended beyond its economic provisions

Claim: Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri was expelled from office.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The false video was uploaded on January 20, 2024, by a YouTube channel with 111,000 subscribers. As of writing, it has been viewed over 23,000 times with 481 likes and 56 comments. 

The video’s thumbnail originally showed photos of Zubiri, Vice President Sara Duterte, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, and Senator Imee Marcos. It was altered to appear as if Senator Marcos was holding a supposed order expelling Zubiri from the Senate. An arrow points to the document along with the text, “Confirmed. Good News” and “Sibak na” (Expelled). The thumbnail also displayed the text: “Tinanggal na si Zubiri. Sa wakas pinalitan sa pwesto” (Zubiri was removed. Finally he was replaced.)

The video’s title, which has since been revised, previously read: “Viral video: Nasíbak na. Zubiri sa wakas tinanggal sa pwesto. Nagulat si Tamba sa pasabog ni Sen. Imee” (Viral video: Expelled. Zubiri was finally removed from his post. Tamba was shocked by the revelations of Sen. Imee.)

The bottom line: Zubiri remains the Senate President, as seen on the Senate website’s roster of senators of the 19th Congress. 

The official Facebook accounts of Zubiri, Marcos, and the Senate have not made any confirmation regarding the senator’s alleged removal from office.

Moreover, there are no reports about any move in the Senate to expel Zubiri from office. Article VI, Section 16, of the Constitution explains the process for expelling a senator: “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days.” 

What the video actually shows: No evidence is provided in the misleading video to support its claim. Instead, it only shows a compilation of photos of Zubiri, Romualdez, and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., with audio narration from the YouTube channel Badong Aratiles Vlog. The video’s narrator talks about Zubiri’s statement that he would step down from his post as Senate president if Congress introduces amendments other than the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Zubiri changes tune: Known for being previously against charter change, Zubiri, after meeting with the President and Speaker Romualdez, said the Senate would now take the lead in reviewing proposals to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution, for eventual adoption by the House of Representatives. (READ: [In This Economy] Will economic charter change work? An objective look at the studies)

On January 15, Zubiri filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 6, “proposing amendments to certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.” Co-authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda and Senator Sonny Angara, the resolution only includes amendments to the operation of public utilities and education services. 

The resolution needs 18 votes in the Senate to be adopted. The review will be led by Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee. – Larry Chavez/Rappler.com

Larry Chavez is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program.

This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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