MANILA, Philippines - They may end up on the same ticket in the next elections, but Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has no intention of endorsing the senatorial run of his erstwhile rival, Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Pimentel said he will not be raising Zubiri's hand during the 2013 election campaign even if they end up on the same ticket.
Pimentel had accused Zubiri of benefiting from electoral fraud in 2007, which deprived him of a Senate seat for 4 years.
"I have to maintain my distance from him because I am espousing an anti-election fraud position. If I am always seen with him or even if I raise his hand, [people will ask] why? Why are you raising the hand of a beneficiary of election fraud?" he said.
Pimentel filed an election protest after Zubiri snatched the 12th and last senatorial post in 2007. Last year, Zubiri resigned from the Senate amid allegations of massive vote fraud in Maguindanao during the 2007 polls.
Zubiri's resignation allowed Pimentel to take his place in the Senate.
Vice-President Jejomar Binay earlier said Pimentel and Zubiri could land on the same ticket after the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) agreed to form a unified coalition in the next senatorial election. Pimentel is a member of PDP-Laban while Zubiri is a member of the Lakas-Kampi CMD party.
Pimentel earlier said Zubiri is not welcome in PDP-Laban.
Asked how he felt about Zubiri now, he said: "The same way I've felt when he dispossessed me of a Senate seat. I am not angry but I have to maintain my distance from him."