On the eve of his proclamation as the 12th winning candidate for senator in the May elections, Juan Miguel Zubiri declared: “I just want to buckle down to work and redeem myself.”
I did not realize it then, but it seems that for the three-term congressman from Bukidnon, that declaration could only have been an either-or proposition. For him, work in the Senate and redemption must be mutually exclusive. That is to say, to keep working in the Senate, he has to do -- has in fact done -- the irredeemable thing. He has filed an absurd counter-protest against rival candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III before the Senate Electoral Tribunal, or SET, contesting the results of a jaw-dropping 73,000 precincts. (That’s one-third of the entire country.)
I do not know if the SET will give his counter-protest due course; considering that Pimentel didn’t even have enough campaign funds to show more than a handful of TV spots featuring top celebrity endorser Angel Locsin, the claim that he cheated massively is preposterous.
But Zubiri does not need to prove his allegation of election fraud. All he needs to do is tie up the SET in an interminable recount. Pimentel, who believes he was cheated in 2,680 precincts in a total of seven provinces, is confident that the review of election returns he is contesting will be completed in half a year or so. Zubiri’s protest, on the other hand, would take years to resolve.
Redemption? More like a ruthless gaming of the system. The “Senator from Maguindanao” has cynically exploited the limitations of our election rules, to hold on to his job.
UPDATE: I guess hindi matutupad ang wish ni Kuya MLQ3. More here.