Yep, it seems like the Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri-Koko Pimentel electoral protest is far from over. Contrary to what many of us may believe (or may have thought), the protest lodged before the Senate Electoral Tribunal has not been declared final yet. Also, judging by the statement recently made by Senator Migs Zubiri (found below), the Maguindanao massacre has even been infused in all these! It turns out that Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, father of Atty. Koko Pimentel (the protester), has said some things at the Senate and of course, Senator Migs had to defend himself.
From his supposed good standing at the exit polls, to his being number 3 in Cagayan de Oro City (the Pimentel family’s turf…Atty. Koko allegedly only placed 6th), to his claim that Atty. Koko didn’t even set foot in Maguindanao during the campaign when he in fact traversed every single highway there, to his appeal that the crime in Maguindanao be considered separate from the ongoing protest between him and Atty. Koko Pimentel — Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri bares his thoughts via a manifestation which he delivered before the Senate last December 1, 2009:
Mr. President, the body knows how much I respect the honorable Minority Leader and we always look at him as the leader of the Mindanao block, and a very close friend of the family. And I understand the fatherly love being shown by the Minority Leader to his son who lost in the last elections. But it is unfair that the son has a father to defend him here in the Senate while I, under a gag order of the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot defend myself.
However, today, I must defend myself. And I ask the members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal to allow me to do so, without fear of being slapped again with a fine for contempt.
Here are some points that I would like to raise, Mr. President, point number 1, the claim that there was no elections in Maguindanao, which always keep cropping up in the radio, tv, and also dictated and told by many of our opponents. I would like to raise that issue because how could there not be elections when the son of our distinguished Minority Leader got 67,000 votes? If there was no elections, then how would he have been able to get 67,000 votes? Out of that election I got 195,000 votes.
By the way, I was not number one in the tally as wrongfully pointed out by one of our colleagues, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. And when all the ballot boxes were opened, for the record, Mr. President, all the ballots were accounted for, and they were actually shocked because they thought that there would be nothing inside the ballot boxes, but it was all accounted for, almost 99 percent. What is being questioned now is if it was faked, spurious or written by one.
However, Mr. President the claims being put out by our opponents, Mr. President for the record, have not been official, and I would like to put this on record, has not been officially decided upon by the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Therefore, anything that is said is also, obviously pure speculation.
And also for the record Mr. President, in the last 2008 ARMM elections, the officials got 197,000 votes. I remember Manong Sim Datumanong got 193,000 votes in an automated elections, monitored by the United Nations and the PPCRV.
And it shows that they could deliver these votes to their leaders because of their hold to the people, whether it is one way or the other, but my point being is, in automation elections of 2008 in ARMM, they delivered the same number of votes with people actually lining up voting for their leaders.
For the record Mr. President, I campaigned three times, I had gone there three times, town per town, by the highway, showed myself and spoke to our colleagues there. My opponent did not, the son of our distinguished Minority Leader never touched foot in Maguindanao. And for the record Mr. President, and with all due respect to the minority leader, I had beat his son in his own hometown of Cagayan De Oro City. I was number three there, and he was number six. I even beat him in his own barangay.
The SET, Mr. President has yet to come up with an official number of the results of his protest. Wala pa. In other words, there has been no official number yet. Because under the process, the SET has to wait for the end of the counter protest and the protest and come out with the official results.
For the record Mr. President, as well, my counter protest, however, shows and I thank the Minority Leader for taking this up because now I have a venue to take this up without fear of having been slapped with contempt once again. But our count shows that in Metro Manila alone, 50,000 fake ballots were discovered in Makati, Manila and Quezon City. And I am not claiming that it was done by the son of our distinguished colleague. It could have been done by the local politicians, for all we care, for all we know. But about over 50,000 to be exact.
And there is also an explanation that needs to be given to me and to our colleagues on the loss of about 15,000 votes of Aquilino Pimentel III were missing from the ballots but were actually listed in the, not the COC’s but the Statement of Votes. In other words, their names were read but their names were not in the ballots, because how can one loss 15,000 votes?
So these are things that we would like to find out deeper in our counter protest to show that cheating has been done in Metro Manila. Just interview one of our colleagues, Sen. Nikki Coseteng and she will tell us — I wish that I could ask her to speak today – what had happened to her in Quezon City and in Novaliches area.
For the record, Mr. President, I still have 52,000 ballot boxes to be opened and counted as it is my right to prove that cheating took place in opposition dominated areas as what we had suspected during the time of elections. Why? Because exit polls from ABS-CBN, exit polls from Pulse Asia and SWS showed — at alam po ito ni Sen. Joker Arroyo because we had a meeting right after the election — that we were clearly in the top 12 in these areas. And yet, after the exit polls and after the closing of the voting period, we were voted out of the top 12 in Metro Manila.
Ladies and gentlemen, my dear colleagues it is my right to know the truth from this rotten process of elections in this country. I agree with the Minority Leader, the process of elections in this country is completely bulok and rotten and that is why I fully supported the automated elections. I was the first one to come out publicly and said that we must not go through this old style of elections, the old mano-mano system of the dagdag bawas and all these additional benefits that people have, especially rich candidates have in increasing and padding their votes. Mr. President, I was the one who fully supported the automated elections even some of my colleagues were against it, but I fully supported it. Because I would not want anyone to go through what I had gone through and what the minority leader’s son had gone through, which is a protracted battle on who should be getting the most number of votes which took over two months time.
We had to change the system and that’s the same system that elected all of us Mr. President without exemption in this chamber. We must change the system. And at the end of the day I will trust the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. And I promised that decision will be followed.
With this, I would like to denounce as well, what had happened in Maguindanao because I don’t want to end my statement or my manifestation without denouncing the demonic act that had happened in Maguindanao, but my opponents would like to use that to my disadvantage. And I ask my colleagues and I ask the SET and the public to separate the crime from the electoral protest that is happening between me and the son of the minority floor leader that is what I am praying for today Mr. President.
I thank my colleagues, and I leave it at that. At the end of the day we will trust the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, hopefully it will be a fair decision and giving a fair assessment of both sides of the protest.