Jinggoy Estrada will be new Senate leader

(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — Senator Jinggoy Estrada belied speculations that he would replace  Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, saying he is not ready to take over.

“To quell all speculations, there’s no truth to it,” said Estrada when he was asked by reporters in an ambush interview.

He was asked whether or not there’s truth to rumors that he would replace Zubiri as the Senate chief.

The senator simply said, “No.”

“So what if I am a senior senator? I have high respect [for] Senate President Zubiri,” he emphasized.

He also denied rumors that he is instigating an ouster plot against the Senate leader.

“Me? Talaga? Instigador na ako ngayon!” a baffled Estrada told reporters.

(Me? Really? I am an instigator now!)

Asked if there’s truth to these rumors, he shook his head from left to right as a sign of disagreement.

But Estrada admitted that his chairmanship of the Senate committee on national defense and security, peace, unification and reconciliation is in danger.

Reporters asked Estrada whether or not it is true that he would be removed as the chair of the panel.

He responded, “Daw. (That’s what they say.) In case they remove [me], I’ll ask the leadership what the reason [is].”

In a separate ambush interview on Monday, Senator Bong Revilla said Estrada is not interested in heading the chamber.

“He’s not interested. Wala namang kakumpitensya eh,” said Revilla.

(He’s not interested. There are no competitors.)

Like Estrada’s stance, Revilla said he is willing to sign a resolution supporting Zubiri’s leadership, if there will be one.