‘It’s complicated,’ Senator Pimentel says of his party relationship statusBy Kate Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines –Senator Aquilino Pimentel III used a popular Facebook relationship status to describe his current predicament: “It’s complicated.”
Pimentel remained evasive Thursday on questions whether he would bolt the United Nationalist Alliance after the coalition announced that it would be fielding former Senator Miguel Zubiri for its senatorial slate.
In a press briefing, Pimentel said he was still ironing out his problem with UNA over the inclusion of his rival Zubiri on its list of senatorial candidates in the 2013 elections.
The senator from Cagayan de Oro City has always contended that Zubiri knew of the Arroyo administration’s alleged plot to rig the 2007 senatorial election.
As a result, Zubiri was able to edge out Pimentel and occupy a Senate seat until last year when former election supervisor Lintang Bedol surfaced in August to say there was cheating in Maguindanao in 2007.
Zubiri stepped down and Pimentel, who had the most votes after Zubiri, took over the seat. By then Pimentel had missed the first four years of his term.
Pimentel said that he was opening himself to more possibilities but maintained that whatever his decision may be, he would remain a member of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
“Whatever is the solution, I will not leave my party, the PDP laban,” Pimentel told reporters, adding that he will make his decision whether to run under the UNA coalition slate within the next two weeks.
“And that’s what actually makes it difficult. What is that solution? I don’t want to run with a nominee of the PMP (Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino) yet I don’t want to leave PDP-Laban, yet the PMP and PDP-Laban have a signed agreement. I need to consult with my friends and party-mates because it’s complicated” he added.
Despite denouncing UNA for its decision to include Zubiri in its senatorial late, Pimentel said he was still hopeful he could save his membership in the coalition, the political alliance between Vice President Jejomar Binay’s PDP-Laban and former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
“I want to stay, I want to stay with UNA, I will try to save my membership with UNA, because matagal ko nang kasama mga yan,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pimentel said that he was still consulting other members of their party. So far, according to the senator, he has been receiving positive feedback from his party-mates. However, he admitted that things haven’t been going according to how he wants it to be.
“So far, it’s OK, [because] they are supportive,” Pimentel said. The Senator maintained that the purpose of his consultation with partymates was to come up with a sound solution to his problem. He said so far all he got were pledges of support for whatever his decision would be.
Pimentel also said he would stop calling Zubiri a cheat. “OK, I will give him his request; it’s no longer time to call people names. It’s time to act,” he said.
Nevertheless, Pimentel said that he would not hesitate to file a case against Zubiri if he would find enough evidence to warrant legal action.