The late Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. was well loved by the people of Cagayan de Oro.
Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno made the statement after he took offense at President Duterte’s tirade belittling the legacy of Pimentel.
Pimentel was the co-founder of PDP-Laban party, currently gripped by infighting between the faction led by the President’s ally Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi and the camp led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
Pimentel, a former Senate president and opposition leader during the Marcos dictatorship, passed away in 2019 at the age of 85. Before his death, he was part of the consultative committee formed by Duterte to study the proposed shift to federal form of government.
“I would view the statement of the President as ano na, iyong season, political season na and iyon lang, medyo masakit lang dinamay si Nene ‘no. Noong sabihin niya kay Senator Koko, okay lang iyan, that’s fair game, pero kay Senator Nene, medyo masakit (I would view the statement of the President as part of the political season and it was hurtful that Nene was dragged into it. If he said that about Senator Koko, that’s okay. That’s fair game but when he mentioned Senator Nene, that’s hurtful),” Moreno said during a televised Palace press briefing Wednesday, July 21.
Speaking at the PDP-Laban national assembly on July 17, Duterte unleashed disparaging remarks about origins of PDP-Laban party and the Pimentels.
Duterte, currently chairman of the party, claimed that PDP-Laban started as a “father-and-son party” that only grew after he ran for president under its ticket in 2016. He added that the Pimentels were “not even recognized” in their bailiwick province.
“May I just remind Koko na itong party-ng PDP (that PDP party) was asleep for a 100 years. It only woke up during the election and when I ran for the presidency under the ticket,” Duterte said. “It was a father and son party, period. Wala nang iba (Nothing else) and they are not even recognized in Cagayan de Oro City,” he added.
But Moreno defended Pimentel and his legacy, saying the late public servant still has the love and respect of the people of Cagayan de Oro.
He remembered that when Pimentel served as senator, he focused on advancing the national interest, not just on local politics. “People here in Cagayan de Oro know the kind of person Nene Pimentel was,” he said.
Moreno said he was sure that the President “did not mean” his comments against the elder Pimentel.
“Siguro kay Senator Koko, I would say Senator Koko can defend himself but not in the case of Senator Nene. But we know deep in our hearts how we love Senator Nene,” he said.