Pimentel: I’m not on leave from my partyBy Cathy C. Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
More cracks are surfacing in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) as Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the Partido ng Demokrtikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban), one of the component parties, released a statement saying that he had not taken a leave from the party.
Pimentel was apparently reacting to an announcement from UNA spokesperson JV Bautista that the reelectionist senator filed a leave of absence as president of PDP-Laban.
The PDP-Laban and the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of deposed president Joseph Estrada are coalesced in the UNA for the 2013 elections.
Pimentel, however, has refused to run under the UNA because of the presence in the coalition’s senatorial slate of Juan Miguel Zubiri. He has already accepted a slot in the ruling Liberal Party’s 2013 senatorial lineup.
Pimentel blames Zubiri for his much abbreviated first term. Zubiri was initially declared the winner of the 12th slot in the 2007 elections but his victory was overturned after the Commission on Elections gave credence to allegations of cheating in in the elections in Maguindanao and awarded the seat to Pimentel.
In his statement, Pimentel said Bautista’s announcement “has no factual and legal basis.”
“No one has asked me to go on leave, except Atty. JV Bautista, who is a newcomer to the party. Even our party chairman Vice President [Jejomar] Binay has not directly asked me to go on leave. I also do not feel any clamor from my partymates that I go on leave,” he said.
“I want to believe that Atty. JV Bautista was just making a personal suggestion when he issued that statement,” the senator added.
Pimentel said that while he has “inhibited” himself from UNA matters after Zubiri’s inclusion in the senatorial lineup, he continues to handle all “party noncoalition matters.”
PDP-Laban secretary general Jose de Venecia III handles all UNA-related issues, he said.
“I have been a member of the PDP-Laban since 1982 and have invested my time, energy, resources, talent, sweat, tears, and blood in the party, hence, I cannot just turn my back on my responsibilities as party president,” Pimentel said.
He said that while he is inactive in the UNA, he remains involved in membership expansion and chapter establishment and livelihood programs of the PDP-Laban.