Bishops praise Koko Pimentel move to bolt UNABy Jo Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Two Catholic bishops on Friday lauded Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for bolting the United Nationalist Alliance, describing his move as principled and a sign of protest against cheats.
“Senator Koko is like his father, both of them are principled … both of them are straight,” Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz told reporters, referring to former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.
Cruz said the younger Pimentel should earn respect because he did not allow himself to be blinded by UNA’s strong political machinery.
“UNA has the votes, the money and the party stature but the man still left despite all these and that says a lot of things about him,” Cruz said. “I understand his decision. I know the political loss he will suffer for that decision and yet he made it.”
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said Pimentel made a “good decision.”
“It’s a sign of protest against cheats,” Bastes said on the phone.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said leaving UNA showed Pimentel’s “principled stand” and political maturity. It would also give him political mileage “as he will not be perceived as a political opportunist,” Macalintal said.
He said Pimentel could not be blamed if he could not stomach campaigning side by side with Zubiri.
“If they campaign separately under UNA, as suggested by UNA officers, the more the electorate will remember their political enmity, which will not augur well for UNA and its allies and supporters,” Macalintal said.