By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III shrugged off the new disqualification case against his bid for reelection, dismissing the charges as “fake news” and “propaganda”.
In a statement posted on Twitter by Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) public information chair Ron Munsayac, Pimentel took a swipe at the lawyers who filed petitions before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), asking for his disqualification in the May 2019 senatorial race.
He called them attention-seekers.
“I pity these lawyers who put words in my mouth, and then argue ‘with me’ in the media attacking ‘my flawed logic’.
This is best example of fake news. They create their own issues and get to land in the news media. Masyado namang KSP (kulang sa pansin) ang mga ‘yan (They are too hungry for attention),” Pimentel said.
The senator particularly referred to the statement of former Biliran congressman and lawyer Glenn Chong, who recently filed the second disqualification case against him.
Chong supposedly described as “flawed logic” Pimentel’s contention that he would not have completed his term once he steps down in 2019. He also said that Pimentel’s bid for reelection would be “unconstitutional, illegal and highly immoral.”
In a separate text message to The Manila Bulletin Friday, Pimentel also dismissed Chong’s petition as part of a propaganda campaign against him.
“We all know the correct answer to Atty. Chong’s allegations. Pang Propaganda Lang nila ‘yan (It’s just for their propaganda),” he said.
The reelectionist senator earlier disputed arguments against his bid to run in the 2019 election.
Pimentel, who is also a lawyer, said he was not able to serve a full first term, saying he only served for one year and 10 months before seeking reelection in 2013.
He had also cited Section 4 of Article 6 of the Constitution, which states that a senator’s term of office starts noon of June 30 following the election.
Aside from Chong, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio filed a similar petition against Pimentel’s reelection bid before the Comelec last month.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri expressed support for Pimentel, saying he should be allowed to run for a third term in Senate.
“For the record, as the one who was his main rival for that post from 2007 to 2013, he only occupied the last two years of his term. It’s not even the major portion of his term. I believe he should be able to seek reelection,” Zubiri said in press briefing Thursday.
Zubiri said Pimentel’s bid was being backed by Supreme Court jurisprudence, which allowed local officials to seek reelection who were unable to serve full terms due to contentions.
Zubiri said he hopes the Comelec will not disqualify Pimentel. “I don’t think it would be fair for him,” he said.
Pimentel and Zubiri clashed for the 12th winning spot in the 2007 senatorial election, when the former protested the latter’s victory due to alleged fraud.
In August 2011, the Senate Electoral Tribunal proclaimed Pimentel as the 12th winning senator of the 2007 midterm polls. By then, Zubiri had already resigned from the Senate, allowing Pimentel to complete the remaining years in the six-year term.