Koko Pimentel did the predictable. He announced he would be leaving the United Nationalist Alliance, giving the usual reason of the impossibility of his joining UNA as long as his foe, former Sen. Migz Zubiri, is on the same senatorial slate.
But he also said that he is not leaving the PDP-Laban coalition and will run as a PDP candidate under a party that will adopt him, which is, just as predictably, the Liberal Party (LP) of Noynoy Aquino, where he says he can campaign “happy.”
He also claims that he had to leave UNA on account of a principled stand.
Still, Pimentel may not have it all, given a few technical problems, should he insist on running as a PDP-Laban senatorial candidate under the LP, since party-coalition certifications have to come from UNA, which has been approved by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Koko may not be able to run as a PDP-Laban candidate under the LP slate, although there is hardly any question that he can, even if he brands himself as an “independent” still be part of the LP slate.
That, however, is a technical question, but as Koko himself said, there were risks he had to take when he decided to leave UNA, referring to the loss of endorsement as a senatorial candidate from at least three known endorsers: Vice President Jojo Binay, former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, as Koko says that a certain percentage is needed to win the elections, and that percentage could have been obtained easily with the endorsement of the three known effective endorsers.
But there really are more risks involved for Koko.
He has made his claims of Zubiri having cheated him out of four years of his Senate seat, and will be focusing his campaign on electoral reforms and fraud-free elections, as he believes he was a victim of poll fraud, and by Zubiri.
The fact of the matter is that Pimentel has no proof that Zubiri had cheated. The only reason Koko sits in the Senate today is due to the fact that Zubiri, amid allegations of cheating coming from Koko, decided to drop his counter-protest. If he didn’t do that, Koko wouldn’t even have had the chance to even sit for two years in the Senate. The protest could have taken all of six years.
What may even be a bigger risk for Koko is this: What if Zubiri wins a Senate seat in 2013 and Koko loses? What does that make of his claims that Zubiri cheated in 2010? And where would Koko be, if not out of the Senate?
Of course the same risk is being taken by Zubiri. If Koko wins, and Zubiri loses, then Koko will likely crow that he had proven that Zubiri cheated in 2007, with the electorate having thumbed down his foe in 2013.
But what if both Koko and Zubiri win the Senate race? They will be both working in the Senate and no doubt, while Koko can hardly make his claim of Zubiri having cheated him of his seat in 2007 after a Zubiri win, the poison Koko still carries with him will likely spring up everytime in the Senate hall during debates and interpellations, which would hardly be bringing about harmony in the Senate.
There is yet another likely scenario: While Koko claims to have a “principled” position, with whom will he align himself in 2016, should Binay whose ally is Estrada, become president? Zubiri will still be allied with Binay and Estrada and the coalition would also have a mix of politicians whom the LPs and Noynoy claim are not pure like them. Koko will stay in the minority on account of his claimed “principles?”
What the scenario one foresees is a repeat of the old grudge Koko’s father, former Sen. Nene Pimentel, held against Senator Enrile, whom the old man claimed incessantly that Enrile had cheated him out of a Senate seat. Enrile won another seat in the Senate, as did Nene Pimentel. The allegations went nowhere.
Politics is still a dirty game.