Zubiri resigns amid poll fraud scandalBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines— Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri announced his resignation from his post on Wednesday, saying he and his family were deeply hurt by fraud allegation and trial by publicity being waged by his rival, lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who lost against him for the 12th slot in the 2007 senatorial elections.
“Without admitting any fault and with my vehement denial of the alleged electoral fraud hurled against me, I am submitting my resignation as a duly elected Senator of the Republic of the Philippines in the election for which I am falsely accused without mercy and compassion,” Zubiri said in a privilege speech, a copy of which was obtained in advance by INQUIRER.net.
“I am resigning, not because I am exhausted from the demands of my calling as a legislator. Hindi po ako napagod sa paglilingkod sa inyo [I never got tired of being of service to you],” he said.
“I am resigning, not because I wish to evade the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Handa ko pong tanggapin ang anumang hatol mula sa nasabing hukuman [I am ready to accept any verdict from the said tribubal].”
“Rather, I am resigning because of these unfounded accusations against me and these issues has systematically divided our nation and has casted doubts in our electoral system which has affected not only myself, this Institution but the public as well,” the senator added.
Zubiri said he would be doing an “injustice” to his fellowmen and the institution if he would continue working “half-heartedly and without full concentration and devotion.”
He said he directed his lawyers to make proper and immediate representation before the Senate Electoral Tribunal about his resignation to expedite the process and allow the tribunal to come up with a decision at the soonest possible time.
Zubiri was elected in the May 2007 elections after getting over 11 million votes. His term should have ended in 2013.
But Pimentel, son of former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., filed an election protest before the SET alleging fraud in some areas in Mindanao.
The case has been pending in the tribunal until recently, various personalities came out and claimed irregularities and cheating during the 2007 elections.
“My rival took advantage of this political situation. He and his supporters are now asking for my resignation as a duly elected Senator, despite the pendency of his election protest at the Senate Electoral Tribunal,” Zubiri said.
“My political detractors began calling me ugly names and dragging the name of my family in entirety. In other words, Mr. President, the trial by publicity has begun. The trial at the Senate Electoral Tribunal where this issue could have been properly ventilated and resolved has been practically set aside,” he lamented.
Zubiri reiterated that he did not cheat and that he did not talk to anyone to cheat for him.
“I am not the only one who feels the hurt because of the personal attacks against me and my family,” he said.
“I could feel how my wife has had sleepless nights, my father, my mother, who has undergone two (2) major brain operations and is now constantly suffering physically and emotionally, together with my siblings who have been hurt and affected by such unfounded and baseless accusations.”
“Kung ako lamang ang nakadarama ng masasakit na batikos at akusasyon, ay maaring makayanan ko pang dalhin [If I were the only one who could feel the attacks and accusations, I could have endured them],” he further said.