By Zamantha Pacariem

PHOTO: ABS-CBN News/Senate PRIB File Photo/Bibo Nueva España

Senator Cynthia Villar officially confirmed on Wednesday that she will no longer go forward with the Senate presidency race for the 19th congress; instead, she will be backing Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri’s bid.

Villar, who chairs the Senate agriculture and food committee, said she will not continue to pursue the position since she is no longer interested in the top post of the upper chamber. 

“Ayaw ko na [I don't want it anymore]. I want a simple life,” she said.

According to Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Villar previously offered Zubiri a term-sharing agreement; however, the latter turned down the option. 

“Let’s not comment about term-sharing, who’s going to lead. I don’t want to jinx anything,” Senator Zubiri said.

Zubiri is complacent that he has the advantage, saying that his bloc is the “majority of the majority” and his chamber would be independent when he becomes the Senate president.

Meanwhile, Senator Chiz Escudero is said to be one of the contenders for the race. Senator Win Gatchalian also expressed his interest in the position. 

On the same note, Senator Imee Marcos assured that her brother, President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., is ‘most unlikely’ to endorse the next Senate president.

“Oh, it’s most unlikely and quite improper. As you are well aware, there is separation of the three branches of government. Hindi po tayo nanghihimasok sa Executive. Ang Executive, hindi papakialaman ang judiciary and so on and so forth, kasi hindi naman siya tama, ‘di ba?” she said.

The new senate president will be elected on July 25, wherein the candidate must get at least 13 votes out of the 24 members of the chamber to assume the position. 

Edited by Audrei Jeremy A. Mendador