Father comes to defense of Koko
UNA: Why has Koko not yet declined LP?
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 1) - Former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. came to the defense of his son and namesake after the United Nationalist Alliance decided to retain the younger Pimentel's rival in its 2013 senatorial slate.
The older Pimentel said that by welcoming former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri into its fold, “UNA has unequivocably put itself on the side of electoral cheats and sends the message that it will do anything to propel itself into power.”
He said accommodating Zubiri, despite allegations of poll cheating, “weakens [UNA’s] pretentions that it will set the tone for the reformation of our country’s corrupt political system.”
He said that to UNA, the principles that his son is fighting for “are useless and irrelevant. And should be substituted by what is politically practical and expedient.”
He added: “It seems that money is now the principal measure of what is right and good in the political arena.”
Pimentel's son, Sen. Koko Pimentel, has openly opposed Zubiri's inclusion in the UNA slate. He said he cannot run with a candidate who benefited from poll cheating.
The younger Pimentel, as president of PDP-Laban, was the first to be fielded by UNA, which is an alliance with former President Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP). Zubiri recently jumped ship from Lakas-CMD to join Estrada.
On Monday morning, Estrada formally endorsed Zubiri to run as senator for UNA.
The younger Pimentel earlier said he will consult with his “core leaders and supporters” to discuss his next move after UNA decided to field Zubiri.
In a separate statement, UNA said it respects the sentiments of the older Pimentel.
It said, however, “We also find it unfortunate that the former Senator may have overstepped the bounds of civility when he equated the decision of UNA to field Migz Zubiri as placing priority on money over principles. Nothing can be farther from the truth.”
It added: “We hold the former senator in high esteem but we would like to remind him that unlike the Liberal Party, which has extended an invitation to Senator Koko Pimentel – an invitation that Senator Koko has not declined despite a clear provision in the unity agreement against running with a party not included in the alliance – UNA does not have access to the formidable government resources at LP’s disposal.”