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Politics Watch in the Philippines: Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri resigns!

Updated on August 21, 2011

A stunning turnabout of events happened Wednesday (August 3, 2011) as Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, the 12th controversial senator announced his resignation via privilege speech at the Senate. His move was the first time in the political history of the Philippines. His reasons included: protecting family's name and the unbearable shame the scandal plagued his family and the country.

Election Fraud, the accusation reverberated from the upper to the lower strata of the Philippine society. The Hello, Garci scandal in the Presidential elections 2004 catapulted Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to reign the nation's bureaucracy. Then, the Senatorial elections of 2007 proved to be the turning point of election maneuverings that saw the 12th and 13th senatorial posts seesawing as election returns were turnover at the COMELEC national office in Manila. Two popular names were running neck-to-neck, the veteran Juan Miguel Zubiri and the newbie Atty Coco Pimentel. The latter clearly edged out Zubiri but the Mindanao vote was allegedly maneuvered that sided to the incumbent Zubiri.

An election protest followed with Atty. Pimentel recounting the Mindanao vote where the controversy of Dagdag-Bawas (Add-Subtract) was accounted through testimonies, videos of ballot switching and the surfacing of firsthand evidences that rocked the nation.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri in part and parcel of his speech was quoted by this hubber to wit:

" I'm a husband first, before a senator. I'm a father first before a legislator. I believe that membership in the Senate and serving our people is the highest form of service that a citizen could be battle in his country. Having said this, I rest express my honest gratitude to the people and to the Senate, especially the Secretariat and my staff for allowing me to experience the magnanimity of service to my duties as a senator.My highest respect always remain to this institution."

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (Photo by Travel Man on television live feed c/o ABS-CBN Channel 2)
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (Photo by Travel Man on television live feed c/o ABS-CBN Channel 2)

Politics in the Philippines- Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri resigns! c/o MrMusicman1971

Interviews and all

The transcription on his interview at the morning show called Umagang Kay Ganda (Beautiful Morning c/o ABS-CBN Channel) the day after the publicized speech of senator Zubiri, this hubber intended to have an first-hand information regarding the aftermath of his decision.

Senator Zubiri:Ginawa ko po ang ultimate sacrifice, nagbitiw po ako sa puwesto, dahil ayoko po..hindi po kami papayag ng aking pamilya na makinabang sa pandarayang ginawa sa eleksiyon. (I made the ultimate sacrifice, I resigned on my position because I don't want to---my family will not tolerate to benefit from the election fraud.)

Anthony Taberna: Okay, para po mas klaro sa mga nanonood sa atin dito sa studio sa kani-kanilang mga tahanan. Ano ba ang ultimong dahilan at ginawa ninyo ang pinakamalaking desisyon, siguro, sa inyong buhay at kailan po nabuo ang pasiyang ito? (Okay, in order to be more clearer among the audience here at the studio and those who are watching at home, what was your ultimate reason when you made the most important decision, maybe, in your life and when did you decide to do it?)

Zubiri: Alam mo, matagal nang haka-haka na nagkakaroon ng dayaan doon sa Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), since time in memorial, ganoon daw. Sinasabi nila na walang halalan dun. Hindi talaga nagkakaroon ng halalan. Kung malakas ka lang sa pulitiko (pulitika?) ay mananalo ka dun. Kaya, noong 2008 nagkaroon po ng ARMM elections na automated. Lumabas din po ang ganoong mga numbers. (You know, it's been a long time since the rumors of cheating in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), since time in memorial. They say that there's no election there. It really didn't push through. If you're realy strong in polictis, you'll surely win there.. So, in 2008, an automated ARMM elections happened. Same numbers surfaced.)

(Sa aking pananaw kapani-paniwala ang kinalabasan ng 2007 elections. Pero pagdating po ng statement ni Mr. Bedol (former provincial Comelec commissioner Lintang Bedol) and Mr. Ampatuan (Maguindanao massacre accused-former mayor Zaldy Ampatuan), nung ini-interview mo po sila. Na nang nagkaroon ng halaan doon na talagang mina-nipulate namin ang election results para manalo si Migs Zubiri. In my opinion, the 2007 election results was believable. But when the statement of Mr. Bedol (former provincial Comelec commissioner Lintang Bedol) and Mr. Ampatuan (Maguindanao massacre accused-former mayor Zaldy Ampatuan) came out, when you did an interview with them, it was already a different thing. That when election happened, the allegation surfaced that we manipulated the election results in order for me (Migs Zubiri) to win.)

Doon talaga nagdesisyon ang aming pamilya. Naalala ko, Tuesday po noon Anthony (July 26, 2011). Nasa Bukidnon ako noon, tinutulungan namin ang mga landslide victims, tinatanong mo pa si Bedol. Nakapag-kuwentuhan na kami ng aming pamilya; nakapag-meeting na po kami. Noong Linggong iyon, nagdesisyon na po kami na magbitiw sa puwesto. Actually, hinintay ko lang po na magkaron ng State of the Nation address si P-noy. Actually noong Lunes, State-of-the-Nation address, noong Martes bumagyo naman at naghalf-day po ang Senado. At noong Wednesday, wala din pong pasok, so napilitan po nating gawin nitong Linggong ito. Pero,plinano na po namin. (At that moment, our family decided to make a decision. I remember, it was Tuesday, Anthony (July 26, 2011). I was still in Bukidnon, helping the landslide victims. You've been interviewing Bedol at the time. My family and I had already talked about it. That week, I decided to resign on my post. Actually I waited for P-noy to recite his SONA (State-of-the-Nation address). It was Monday. In Tuesday, there was a storm and the Senate's session was only half-day. There's was no office on Wednesday, so, I decided to announce it later.)

Taberna: Gaano po kahirap ang desisyon na ito? (How difficult this decision for you?)

Zubiri: Medyo mabigat, dahil unang-una, marami pong sumusuporta sa atin, lalong-lalo na ang mga local officials. At nang kinausap namin ang mga mayors at mga governors, talagang nagalit sila. "Huwag mong gawin iyan!" "Hindi tama 'yan!" (It's kinda heavy because in the first place, many are supporting me, especially local officials. And when we talked to the mayors and governors, they got angry. " Don't do than!" "It's not right!")

So, kinausap ko po ang ating mga senador; wala pong isang senador na sumangayon sa aking desisyon. Sinabi nila na mahirap. May isang senador, di ko na babanggitin (ang pangalan); sabi niya, "Paano ka makakakampanya niyan na wala ka na sa sa puwesto? Mahirap kumampanya at manalo na wala ka na sa puwesto." (So, I talked with my fellow senators; no one agreed with my decision. They said it's difficult. There was one senator, I don't want to mention the name, who said, "How can you campaign if your not in the position? It's diffult to launch your campaign , if you're not already at the office.")
Ang sabi ko sa kanila, prinsipyo po ito. Nasa konsensiya ko po ito. Ayoko pong gawin ito sa taumbayan. Unang-una, karangalan ng aking pangalan. Ayoko pong may bahid-dungis ang ating pangalan. (I told them, it's my principle. It's in my conscience. I don't want to do it to my countrymen. In the first place, it's an honor to my name. I don't want to smear mud on my name.)
Mas importante sa atin iyon, kasi alam mo, Anthony. Alam naman natin itong lahat. Pagdating sa panahon na mawawala na tayo sa ating--dito sa mundo, hindi naman natin madadala iyon. Iyong posisyon, iyong pangalan, iyong kapangyarihan, kayamanan..hindi naman natin madadala iyon. (It's more important to me, Anthony. We all know this. Time will come that will perish here on Earth, we will not bring it with us. The position, your name, power, wealth...we can never bring it along.)
Ang importante ay ang maiiwan mo pong pangalan, ang inyong pangalan ng pamilya, ang iyong dignidad at integridad sa inyong mga anak. (The important things is the prestige that you'll be leaving; the name of your family, the dignity and integrity for your offspring.)
Iyan po ang nagdesisyon sa akin. Iyong ibang mga underlying terms (themes), kinalimutan ko na po iyon. Ang sabi ko napakaimportante na tapatan ko po ang publiko. Sabihin ko sa kanila itong nangyari. Hindi po natin hiningi ito. Pero dahil akong nag-benepisyo sa ginawa nila, kusang loob po akong bumitiw sa puwesto. (That's waht made me decide. Other underlying terms (themes), I forgotten it already. I said to myself, it's very important to make it on public. Tell them what happened. I didn't beg for this. But because I was the one who benefited from their deeds, I voluntarily quit my post.)

Note: I have written it en toto in Filipino, duly intended for readers in my country. I translated it in English for the benefits of readers around the world in order to understand what is really happening in Philippine politics.

Atty. Coco Pimentel with wife and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri with wife during a TV interview c/o ABS-CBN Channel 2 (Photo by Travel Man)
Atty. Coco Pimentel with wife and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri with wife during a TV interview c/o ABS-CBN Channel 2 (Photo by Travel Man)

Politics in the Philippines-It's Never Too Late for Atty. Coco Pimentel c/o MrMusicman1971

Never too late for Coco

Meanwhile, his opponent, Attorney Coco Pimentel, a bar topnotcher and presently a law professor at a university, sighed with relief and triumph as the vote recount results saw his winning against Senator Zubiri with millions of Mindanao votes.

With all the political charade happening in the country today, all Atty. Pimentel could say was:

"That's why he got proclaimed in the first place." (He meant the cheating in 2007 senatorial elections). Hindi po baseless or unfounded ang charges of election fraud in Maguindanao. Proven na po iyon." (It's not baseless or unfounded, that charges of election fraud in Maguindanao. It was proven.)

Senator Coco's wife is the cousin of Senator Zubiri. Just recently, when the two couples appeared live in television interview, courtesy of Ms. Korina Sanchez (wife of former Senator Mar Roxas) of ABS-CBN News, rekindling family relationships happened. Senator Zubiri made amends as he hold the hand of Coco and raised it as gesture of relinquishing his post as the 12th senator of the 15th Congress. That is, to complete the remaining two years for the term he vacated.

Note: This hubber have seen the good and bad sides of politics in the Philippines, especially during national and local elections. Being a roving reporter obliged him to be sent at the local precincts covering results for the national and local polls. The tedious period of election campaigns usually involved maligning names of candidates and exposing anomalies of those who were involved. Dirty tactics usually prevailed and money did talk during this period.

At least the upcoming 2013 elections will surely be with lesser controversies because of the automation of votes.

Related News

Citing plunder complaints as bases, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima placed former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the Immigration watch list Tuesday evening. De Lima said Watch List Order No. 2011-422 stemmed from the alleged anomalous sale of the old Iloilo airport property in 2007, the P550-million allegedly misused welfare funds for migrant workers, and the P1.6 billion supposedly diverted to her campaign fund in the 2004 presidential elections. (With reports from GMA 7 News)

What comes around...

This is the news dispatch for the former president now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

I was one of the witnesses when RPN-9 crew interviewed one employee stationed at the OWWA, who spilled out that the OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) fund was juggled and funded the 2004 presidential campaign of Mrs. Arroyo.

This, aside from the anomalous transactions the former head of state was allegedly involved with, including her husband.


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    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Romano Arnesto: Yes, you're right. Zubiri showed what a true man could do to correct mistakes and gave chance to the right man to continue his service to the people.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Arian Rey: Politics in the Philippines is so diverse with lots of controversies. Factions cause lots of problems that hinder worthwhile projects to the people.

      At least, Senator Zubiri swallowed his pride and have the guts to come out and resign from his post.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @thesailor: It's hard to fight the truth and your conscience. Senator Zubiri took 4 years to realize that he was not the 12th man on the 15th Congress.

      Recently proclaimed Senator Coco Pimentel have a lot of catching up to do.

      Anyways, good luck to the two of them. Both Zubiri and Pimentel handled the situation without grudges.

      At least, mistakes can still be corrected because the voters have suffered too much due to election cheating for the past years.

    • Romano Arnesto profile image

      Romano Arnesto 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      At least, Senator Zubiri conceded (after 4 years). He should know better. (tsk!tsk!)

    • Arian Rey profile image

      Arian Rey 

      7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas (PHILIPPINES)

      The first controversy was having a fake president. And now a fake senator. I am getting used to knock offs here in the Philippines. From fake DVDs to fake fashion items and money, too!

      What will become of our country if the "fake culture" reign?

    • thesailor profile image


      7 years ago from Seven Seas

      Now it can be told. Evidences collated really had shown the Coco edged out Zubiri for the 12th position.

      It took 4 years to uncover such controversy.

      They are men of honors. I hope others who were victims of political maneuverings will not take advantage of fake triumphs just to hold sensitive positions in the national government of the country.

      They should know how to humble themselves and act like Zubiri.


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