CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY , Philippines – Soon after the smoke clears in these midterm elections, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he would discuss the future of the PDP-Laban party with Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Pimentel, who serves as president of PDP-Laban, and Binay, the party’s chairman, parted ways a few months before the start of the campaign for this year’s elections.
This was over the decision of Binay to forge an alliance with the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President Joseph Estrada.
Despite the protests of Pimentel, Binay supported the entry of former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri as a candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), in the coalition between the PDP-Laban and PMP.
Pimentel vehemently opposed the entry of Zubiri, who was the subject of his electoral protest after the 2007 elections.
After four years of fighting the case, Pimentel was declared the rightful winner of the 12th seat by the Senate Electoral Tribunal, unseating Zubiri.
Pimentel accused Zubiri of being a cheat even after the former senator claimed he had no knowledge or participation in the alleged manipulation of votes that took place in some areas of the country.
With Binay and Estrada’s negative response to the protestations of Pimentel about the entry of Zubiri in UNA, he decided to distance himself from the coalition and then joined the Liberal Party-led Team PNoy of the administration.
According to Pimentel, he left without saying anything to Binay even though the ties between them date back to when his father and namesake, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr. was still head of PDP-Laban.
Pimentel, however, said he had to sit down with Binay to discuss the future of the party in spite of their differences.
“It is important that VP Binay and I meet after the election. Whether he likes it or not, we have to talk about the future of PDP-Laban. Are we together or shall we now part ways?” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said he has plans to convert the party into a new generation political party for younger people, particularly the aspiring leaders of Mindanao so all these things have to be discussed with Binay.
Pimentel attended the rally here as part of the campaign sorties of Team PNoy in Mindanao last Monday.
He was not able to go to Marawi City but sent his brother as his representative for the rally.
Pimentel was also feted with a show of support by local officials in a meeting held at a hotel here last Monday night.
On Wednesday, Pimentel showed up for a discussion with The STAR in which he revealed his final strategy at the homestretch of the campaign.
“I want the voters to recall my initial KP as Kontra Pandaraya, pag walang madaya, buhay kay saya,” he said.
Pimentel also said he wanted to push his proposal for the local government units to have a bigger share of the taxes collected by the national government.
“Currently the LGUs’ IRA (internal revenue allocation) is based on the national internal revenue taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue,” Pimentel said.
“But the Constitution states that LGUs shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them,” he said.
Pimentel has attributed his renewed political stamina to the support of the Catholic Church, the Mindanao region, among other groups that pledged full support to his candidacy.
He clarified however that his opposition to the Reproductive Health bill was not a consensus for the support of the Catholic Church but because of his strong religious belief as a devout Catholic.
Pimentel also shared his “improving relationship” with his estranged wife, former beauty queen Jewel Lobaton, who is now actively campaigning for him.
“Despite physical separation our friendship has improved, in fact I will be taking care of our two children so that she can campaign in Negros,” he said.
Pimentel said his marital woes strengthened his opposition to the legalization of divorce in the country.
Instead of breaking up the family, he said the state should provide venues to help troubled families.
He said the family as a basic unit of society must be given full attention by the government.
And after election, Pimentel said his first priority would be to begin the healing process to rebuild a shattered family.
– With Perseus Echeminada