MANILA – The heated rivalry between Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III and former Senator Juan Miguel ‘Migz’ Zubiri turned personal in their first face off on "Mano Mano ni Antthony Taberna" since the campaign period started.
The subject of cheating in the 2007 elections was again raised.
Pimentel still holds it against Zubiri that he was denied four years of his term.
“Hindi na magbabago ang isip ko na si Migz Zubiri, hindi naman siya victim of fraud, beneficiary, the biggest beneficiary of the fraud in 2007. Kasi nga he did not win, hindi siya nanalo and yet naka-4 years and 2 months in office. Eh napakasakit naman po nun,” said Pimentel.
Zubiri again insisted he took no part in the fraud, adding that his resignation in 2011 shows he did not try to cling to the post.
“Alam po ni Senator Pimentel ‘yan kasi wala silang tinapon sa akin na mga kaso. Wala po akong kasalanan diyan, ‘yung sa nangyari sa Maguindanao, wala po akong kinalaman diyan at lahat po kami ay nabiyaya,” said Zubiri.
But the heated exchanges did not end with the topic of cheating.
When each was given the chance to ask questions to the other, Zubiri turned personal, accusing Pimentel of physically hurting his wife, former beauty queen Jewel Lobaton, which is allegedly the reason they are now separated.
Zubiri says Lobaton herself confided this to him.
“Eh pinsan ko po ‘yung kanyang dating maybahay at talagang linapitan niya ako at sinabihan niya ako that she is a battered wife. Eh kung totoo po ‘yon, dapat bang manatili ang isang tao sa pwesto na dun kung mismo sa kanyang tahanan, hindi po siya minamahal?” said Zubiri.
“Wala naman sigurong karapatan si Migz to say na sa loob ng tahanan ko ‘di ako minamahal, wala naman siya doon sa tahanan ko…Paano siya magiging battered wife kung kasama namin ‘yung mama niya sa aming bahay,” Pimentel fired back.
Zubiri said he has proof and witnesses who can confirm that Lobaton sought help, which Pimentel in turn denied.
“Kasama ko po ‘yung asawa ko, kasama ko po siya nung kwinento ni Jewel sa akin, umiiyak pa siya sa mga nangyayari…Ang hinahanap kong katangian sa leader ang may puso, hindi lang may paninindigan, hindi lang may track record. Dapat may puso,” Zubiri said.
“I am telling you ‘yung mga imbentong kwento na iyon ay nalampasan na niya, nalampasan niya po iyon. Siya po ay humingi ng tawad. We are trying to save my marriage and no Migz Zubiri will be able to destroy my marriage for political purposes…Alam mo paulit-ulit na ito, baka unang-una sa lahat, baka ma-libel ko na tong si Migz Zubiri,” replied Pimentel.
Zubiri said he only wants Pimentel to know what it feels like to be hit below the belt.
Pimentel said he is ready to present his wife to ABS-CBN to debunk the fabrications of Zubiri, but he has yet to do so.
In his last text message, Pimentel said his wife is executing a signed statement so that her words will not be misinterpreted.