Zubiri withdraws counter-protest against Pimentel

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri withdrew his counter-protest against an electoral complaint filed by Lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, subsequent to his resignation as senator last Wednesday.

Senator Zubiri’s legal counsel, George Erwin Garcia submitted a copy of the senator’s resignation speech and withdrew the counter-charges around 2pm on Thursday at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) office in Quezon City.

Zubiri earlier noted that the move will allow the SET to immediately resolve the electoral protest filed against him by Pimentel four years ago.

Koko Pimentel on July 30 2007 filed an electoral protest before the tribunal contrary to Sen. Zubiri claiming that the votes were fixed in favor of the senator in 2,658 precincts in seven provinces, including Maguindanao.

Zubiri filed his counter-complaint in August 2007 appealing that he was also cheated in over 73,000 precincts covering 17 cities and 10 provinces, including the whole Metro Manila.

In the 2007 elections, Zubiri ranked 12th in the senatorial poll with 11,005,866 votes, with Pimentel sliding to the 13th spot with 10,987,347 votes.

Senator Zubiri, during his privilege speech on Wednesday, announced his resignation of office amidst the allegations of benefiting on the massive cheating in the 2007 midterm elections. He, however, strongly denied the accusations and said that the issue was already affecting him and his entire family.

Senate Minority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano stated on Thursday that the senate decided not to act on Sen. Zubiri’s resignation,

“The senators decided that we should not even vote or we should not even take it upon ourselves whether we should accept or not accept a resignation. We should just take it at face value,”, Sen. Cayetano said during a regular forum in the Senate as quoted by inquirer.net

Senator Cayetano further specified that the senators have agreed on a new rule that the resignation of any member of the chamber should be irrevocable.

“From now on anyone who resigns sa Senate walang bawian,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Edgardo Angara said that the SET might declare Pimentel as the 12th winning senator in the 2007 elections as early as next week once Zubiri withdraws his counter-complaint.

“That’s the trigger. Within one to two weeks the whole thing can be completed,” Sen. Angara told GMA News Online in an interview.

Angara stated that the tribunal resolution just needs to be circulated for signature among the other members. The senator, still, noted that it is the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which will officially proclaim Pimentel as the 12th winning senator and shall administer his oath.

image via peterpaulcarim.com