MANAOAG, Philippines – Re-electionist Senator Aquilino Pimentel III is considering the filing of libel charges against former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who said in a forum that Pimentel’s former wife Jewel once told him and wife Audrey that she was a battered wife.
Pimentel said some matters were off-limits even in the course of a political campaign.
“My laywers are studying possible libel. We’d talk about the draft complaint,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said Zubiri’s charge was of a personal nature and was a lie.
“If you invented a personal attack, that’s like a double technical foul. You’re out of the game,” Pimentel said. “The allegations, the invented personal issue has been denied by the person concerned that’s why, as I said, that’s a double whammy on the part of the person making that baseless accusation.”
Jewel May Lobaton-Pimentel, in a statement, appealed to Zubiri to “keep my marital issues out of the campaign issues for a Senate seat in this 2013 election.”
“I categorically state that I have never claimed nor complained to Migz Zubiri that I was a battered wife. In the close to 12 years that we lived together, my husband Koko Pimentel never ever physically hurt me,” Lobaton-Pimentel said.
“My marital issues are not national issues. And my children have been greatly affected. Please spare my two sons, as they are mere children aged 8 and 3 years old respectively,” Lobaton-Pimentel added.
Two women in Pimentel’s senatorial ticket took up the cudgels for their fellow candidate.
“I commend Jewel’s courage na harapin ang isyung ito para ipaglaban ang kanyang karapatan bilang isang babae at ang kapakanan ng kanyang mga menor de edad na anak,” former Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal said in a statement.
“I am very disappointed that Migz Zubiri had to resort to spreading falsehood about the Pimentels’ family life para sa kanyang kampanya. I am afraid na bukod sa impression na siya ay mandaraya ay magkaron din ng impression na siya ay sinungaling. Migz should issue an apology to Jewel,” she added.
“Migz Zubiri finally crossed the line and plunged into the darkest depths of gutter politics when he invaded the privacy of the Pimentels’ home and peddled that shameless falsehood,” said Madrigal, known for her advocacy of the rights and welfare of women and children.
“This is condemnable and contemptible behavior. A candidate, desperate for a boost in the surveys, has resorted to underhanded tricks. Zubiri and UNA should respect the sanctity of the Filipino family and keep domestic problems away from dirty politics,” Madrigal said.
Hontiveros called on Zubiri “to desist from exploiting the very real issue of violence against women to shore up UNA’s rapidly declining ratings.”
“Stop hiding behind invented stories of physical abuse to shore up their campaign,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Domestic violence is a real issue, and should not be taken lightly,” Hontiveros added.
Hontiveros said Zubiri committed something that was “unethical and could be harmful to the family involved.”