MANILA, Philippines – Being called "Senator Pimentel" not only sounds different, it sounds correct.
These were the words of lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, hours after he was proclaimed Thursday by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) as a winner in the 2007 senatorial elections.
Pimentel said being a Senator is something he always aimed for.
“When I ran in 2007, of course, I wanted this job as a Senator, to participate in the law-making process, to participate in debates and discussion. Now it has finally come, 4 years later, I’m just hoping I’m more prepared now,” Pimentel told ANC's "Top Story".
Based on the SET’s appreciation, Pimentel led by 258,166 votes from Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, who resigned from the Senate on August 3.
When Pimentel joins the Senate as a member of its ranks on Monday, he will have 2 years left in his term.
“Unfortunately, I will be a neophyte senator. But in the eyes of the law. I’m already a 4-year senator. If I win in 2013, that’s it, that would be my term limit already,” he said.
“I just need to focus because of my limited time,” Pimentel added.
Pimentel stressed that he would put his efforts on matters that he is passionate about, specifically electoral reform.
He advised the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to change the automated system to be one step ahead of syndicates who may have the intention to cheat in the elections.
“I will help fund the next election, it should be automated. I will just give Comelec an advice that we should adopt a different automated system. We should be one step ahead. There are syndicates, whether we like it or not, who will want to cheat even in automated elections. So to be one step ahead of these hackers, the technology used must always be changing,” he said.
Pimentel also said he is open to any assignment that will be given to him in the Senate, adding that he is willing to be part of any committee assigned to him.
The committees left by Zubiri, namely the Committee on Environment and Committee on Cooperatives, will not be automatically inherited by Pimentel.
Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto III earlier said the committee on environment will be temporarily shared with Sen. Chiz Escudero, and committee on cooperatives with Sen. Antonio Trillanes.
Pimentel will take his oath at 10 a.m. Friday in Mati, Davao Oriental, where he garnered the most votes during the 2007 polls.