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On the Zubiri-Pimentel Case, the Philippine Senate Is Shameless! PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 20 July 2010 22:45
Poor Koko 15 July 2010 No Comment by Ducky Paredes from MALAYA “(I)f the Zubiri protest would be heard to its end, there was no possibility that Koko could ever be proclaimed senator since the Zubitri counter-protest could not possibly end before the end of the disputed senate term.” — Ducky Our Senate is shameless! There is just no other way of looking at our senators. In the face of clear facts that among its members is one who should never have been there from Day One, the majority of the senators would rather keep him on than allow the rightful senator to take his seat. Koko Pimentel lost in the 2007 elections for the Senate. After a neck-to-neck race, Migs Zubiri was declared as the 12th winning senator, winning by a scant 18,000 votes.. Koko filed a protest that pinpointed where the cheating happened – in the Ampatuan – controlled areas of Mindanao. All Koko asked for was a recount of the pin-pointed 2,600 precincts in 2,600 precincts in Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte and Sur, Shariff Kabunsuan, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu and Basilan. As early as 2008, the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) already knew that Zubri actually lost to Pimentel. Official SET documents show Pimentel recovering more than 257,000 votes from the protested precincts. There is no way that Zubiri won his Senate seat. That is crystal clear. What Senator Zubiri did, earlier, was that he filed a counter-protest. He asked for a recount of the votes in over 75% of 73,000 precincts nationwide in the 2007 senatorial elections. Thus, as early as the start of the revision, it was already clear that if the Zubiri protest would be heard to its end, there was no possibility that Koko could ever be proclaimed senator since the Zubitri counter-protest could not possibly end before the end of the disputed senate term that Zubiri is now serving. Zubiri claimed that he was cheated in more than 73,000 precincts all over the country. How a candidate running with the opposition could do this against a candidate of the administration was not explained. To discourage protests that are made to prolong the agony of a cheated senatorial wannabe, SET rules require initial scrutiny of 25% of the protested precincts to determine if there is actual basis to proceed with the revision of the rest of the results. From the results of the recount of the initial 25%, of the precincts identified in his counter-protest, Zubiri recovered less than 12,000 votes and is expected to get not more than 46,000 in all his protested precincts. In fact, the chairman of the SET, Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio says that it is clear from the tribunal’s own tabulation that Pimentel posted an insurmountable lead over Zubiri. But, the decision, on whether to continue with counting all the votes identified in the Zubiri counter-protest or throw out that counter-protest arrived this week. Under normal circumstances, the SET would have thrown out the counter-protest because it is crystal-clear that Zubiri lost and Pimentel won. Bur, not to our senators. In a vote of the SET, Seven of the 9 SET members voted in favor of proceeding with Zubiri’s protest. They are Senators Edgardo Angara, Richard Gordon, Loren Legarda, Lito Lapid, and Francis Pangilinan, and Supreme Court Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr. and Teresita de Castro. Senator Pia Cayetano was the lone senator who voted to throw out Zubiri’s protest. This means that Zubiri get to finish what should have been Koko Pimentel’s term as the Pimentel protest would have been overtaken by time. The disputed term would have ended before the SET could decide on who won the seat; but Zubiri got to sit as Senator and received all the money and the glory that attached to the position. According to the SET’s majority members, their revision of the initial 25% of the results showed that more than half of the ballots cast were fake. Supreme Court senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio disagreed with the tribunal’s ruling. In fact, he says that they only found 2% fake ballots! So, why this show of gross shamelessness on the part of our senators. For one, Zubiri is an important part of the Angara bloc that will be the main force that will decide on who will be the nest Senate President: Kiko Pangilinan or Manny Villar. That’s also probably why Kiko delivered for Zubiri. In the end, politics took Koko’s senate seat away.

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