Senate of the Philippines

After Zubiri ouster, ‘Solid 7’ stays part of majority for now – Binay

Bonz Magsambol

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After Zubiri ouster, ‘Solid 7’ stays part of majority for now – Binay

File photo of Senator Nancy Binay

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Senator Nancy Binay says the betrayal is still 'fresh' and they are hoping that after the two-month congressional break, 'things will be better'

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Nancy Binay on Sunday, May 26, said the so-called “Solid 7” bloc will stay as part of the majority for now even though they felt betrayed after Senator Migz Zubiri was ousted as Senate president.

“Parang at the moment majority pa naman kami, majority independent, parang kung ano sina Senator Pia and Alan nung nag-umpisa kami during this Congress. So parang ganun din ang role namin,” Binay said in an interview with Radyo 630, when asked if they are still part of the majority bloc at the Senate.

(At the moment, we’re still party of the majority, majority independent, just like the case of Senators Pia and Alan Cayetano during the start of this Congress. So that’s how our role is like.)

The “Solid 7” was formed after Zubiri was relinquished of Senate leadership on Monday, May 20, to Senator Chiz Escudero. The said bloc is composed of senators who stayed with Zubiri. They are Senators Binay, Sonny Angara, Joel Villanueva, JV Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Loren Legarda, and Zubiri.

Although the bloc is still part of the majority, Binay said that they have more “leeway” to move inside the upper chamber, especially taking a stand on issues, because they are “independent” from the original majority bloc.

“Tuloy lang din ang pagiging masipag ng aming grupo, and I think the past week makikita naman na kami ang unang nasa floor hanggang sa pagsara ng floor ay meron from the Solid 7 naiiwan. So sa amin mababago ang – mas independent ang mindset namin ngayon,” she said.

(Our group will continue to be diligent, and I think, the past week has shown that we were the first ones to enter the flor and even in the closing, there were members from the Solid 7. So for us, what will change really is we will have more independent mindset.)

‘Betrayal still fresh’

In the interview, Binay said that betrayal was still “fresh” and they are hoping that after the two-month Congressional break, “things will be better.”

The senator said that they were betrayed because they thought that they still had the numbers before Zubiri was ousted.

“Sunday night parang 13 pa kami. Noong umaga nga may tumatawag pa kay Migz na parang I’m not signing. Tapos nung hapon, pumirma na pala,” she said.

(Sunday night, we were 13. The following morning, there were who were calling Migz saying that they were not signing. Then in the afternoon, they signed.)

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Binay also confirmed that one of the reasons for the Zubiri ouster was Senator Bong Revilla’s sore foot.

Last week Senator Bato dela Rosa revealed that the reason behind the ouster was Zubiri’s refusal to allow Revilla — who was suffering from an Achilles tendon injury —to attend plenary sessions virtually.

“If a sore foot can inspire such decisive action, just imagine what a fully functioning pair of feet could do. But for now, the foot has spoken,” Binay said in a separate statement.

Zubiri believes that the ouster plot against him started when he did not agree to the proposed timeline for the approval of charter change, and when he allowed the Senate probe into the so-called Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) leaks, which has remained dubious.

Zubiri said the Marcos camp was displeased with him for allowing the probe by Dela Rosa’s committee into the PDEA leaks that claimed the supposed involvement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in illegal drugs. After four hearings, Dela Rosa failed to establish the alleged Marcos drug links. His colleagues, including Escudero, dismissed the allegation as hearsay, while leaders in the House of Representatives earlier questioned why the Senate continued to conduct the probe.

Zubiri had warned Dela Rosa to stop using Senate hearings for political persecution, but failed to stop the probe. Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed that it was former president Rodrigo Duterte who instructed Dela Rosa to conduct hearings on the alleged PDEA leaks. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.