July 13, 2012
PIMENTEL VOWS TO PURSUE CRUSADE VS POLL FRAUD
Saying that he is prepared to lose his re-election bid next year if only to pursue his advocacy, Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel said he is committed to fighting election fraud.
In remarks before the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs on Tuesday, Pimentel said he wants to "fight corruption through the strengthening of the justice system."
"I feel most passionately about this because I have been a victim of electoral injustice," he told his audience.
The senator from Mindanao said that in the remaining months of his shortened term, he is "personally committed to collaborate with similarly-minded colleagues to make our electoral process more resistant to corruption and causing the prosecution and jailing of those who corrupted the electoral expression of the sovereignty of our people."
Pimentel said that part of his crusade against election fraud was the filing of a case for electoral sabotage against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos for the cheating which marred the 2007 senatorial elections.
"Consistent with my principled stand against election cheats, I have made a painful decision to bolt from the United Nationalist Alliance founded by my ninong, former President Joseph Estrada and whose coalition my very own party, PDP-Laban is a member of," Pimentel said.
"Painful as it is, I cannot - in all conscience - run in the same senatorial ticket with Migz Zubiri, who became the biggest beneficiary of the fraud perpetrated in the 2007 elections and who enjoyed tremendously the benefits of a stolen office," Pimentel emphasized.
"I cannot talk about electoral reform while I stand on the same stage with the same person who held on to the proceeds of the crime of electoral fraud for four long years and two months," the senator said.
Pimentel explained that while his decision to leave the UNA "can fatally jeopardize my chances for re-election as Senator in 2013, I am prepared to lose this election, rather than not remain true to what I passionately believe in."
Pimentel also exhorted his audience consisting of young Filipino-Chinese businessmen to continue to "propagate positive Confucian and Filipino values" and to strive for inclusive economic growth.
"Inclusiveness is the value that will allow us to build on the momentum this government has already gained over the past 24 months. It is the bedrock principle behind our efforts to create a level playing field; to establish reforms in all branches of government; and to focus our budget on sectors and programs that have the greatest impact on the poor and the voiceless," Pimentel pointed out.
He said business should aim for economic growth not "merely for the few at the top, but for everyone who has a stake in our national enterprise. This is the new way of thinking that can guarantee not merely our survival, but our collective progress."
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