MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/02 July) — With the political air now filled with the scent – or maybe ordure – of next year’s midterm elections, expect the media to be contaminated too with filth spewed by politicians and their spin doctors. Just today, I came across a column (or more aptly, a PR item) that seeks to sanitize the image of former Bukidnon congressman Juan Miguel Zubiri vis-à-vis the 2007 poll fraud in Maguindanao, which enabled him to steal the Senate seat that rightfully belongs to belatedly-installed Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
(Note: I erred in calling Zubiri “retired former senator.” He does not deserve this honorific since he should not have occupied such position in the first place. One cannot resign from a post which does not belong to him. He can only yield it to its true owner.)
The “columnist” echoed Zubiri’s ridiculous claim that he had no involvement in the cheating, although the people should thank him (Zubiri) for admitting that there indeed was cheating. But to insist that he knew nothing of it is worse than spinning a fairy tale. At least, fairy tales entertain children and enrich their imagination. Zubiri’s ludicrous claim on the other hand adds insult to the injury of having an impostor in the Senate at the same time that we had an imposter in Malacanang.
Worse, our good columnist called Zubiri’s “resignation” last year an “ethical feat” for which the voters seem prepared to reward based on a May 20 to 26 Pulse Asia survey of 2013 senatorial preferences. He said Zubiri, instead of desperately clinging on to his(?) Senate post, chose to keep his integrity intact and is now “free to seek fresh mandate.”
Never have I read such contorted misrepresentation of facts. Zubiri decided to leave only when it became clear that the fraud in Maguindanao could no longer be denied. It would be more shameful to wait for the Senate Electoral Tribunal to announce the verdict that he lost; it was better to stage a “graceful exit” complete with the drama of a farewell speech before national television.
The truth would have been known much earlier had Zubiri not filed a counter-protest in order to delay the resolution of Pimentel III’s protest. Sayang naman ang P200 million annually in pork barrel funds.
Worse, Zubiri defied whatever sense of decency was left in him by insisting on joining the same coalition where Pimentel III was supposed to be one of the senatorial candidates. And for reasons known only to him, Vice President Jejomar Binay, head of the PDP-Laban which forms the other half of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) – the other one being the Partido ng Masang Pilipino of former president Joseph Estrada – welcomed Zubiri with open arms.
Where is ethics and integrity in all these manipulations? Where is integrity in stealing an elective post and claiming innocence about the felony? Where is Zubiri’s ethics, where is his delicadeza in asserting that he has as much right to be part of UNA as Pimentel III has? UNA’s leadership however should get equal blame for making it appear that no there’s no harm in having both the robber and the robbed on the same boat. Talk about opportunism, Binay and Estrada have shown that they have plenty of it in store.
To see our politicians flit from one affiliation to another with the ease of carefree butterflies is already revolting enough. But Zubiri’s and UNA’s stunt has made us run out of adjectives. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)