CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/4 August) – While residents of Bukidnon province are saddened over Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri’s resignation, residents here are not celebrating either.
Aside from wearing black arm bands, Zubiri’s supporters in Malaybalay City were even planning to hold an indignation rally but did not push through on account of heavy rain.
In a text message Wednesday, Aquilino Pimentel Jr. only had four words to say – “Amen. Salamat sa Dios.”
Here, the Pimentel home at the junction of Pabayo and Hayes streets is as quiet as it ever did except for the customers milling around the shawarma stall located before the front door of the Pimentel house.
“So Koko is now a senator. What is that to us? For me, he is not a Cagayanon. He can’t even talk straight ‘Binisaya,’” said a cigarette vendor near the Pimentel home.
In 2001, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III ran for city mayor here. He lost to local political kingpin Vicente Emano
Still most would rather comment on Zubiri’s “graceful exit” than Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s “vindication” over the much contested last seat in the Senate.
“I admire Senator Migz Zubiri for his magnanimity. Putting national interest and the value of honor and integrity over his person,” said Jerome Soldevilla, chair of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCCI).
In the religious sector, Bishop Felixberto Calang, of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente Misamis Oriental-Bukidnon-Camiguin Diocese (IFI-Mobuca), admired Zubiri’s move and added that his resignation should help in pursuing the “mother of all cheats” – Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Senator Zubiri’s resignation is a welcome move. We understand his family’s anguish over allegations of electoral fraud. It is a politically expedient act to redeem his honor,” Calang said in a phone interview Thursday.
Cagayan de Oro City Councilor Edgar Cabanlas, for his part, only hopes that the younger Pimentel would not disappoint those who voted him.
“Congratulations and hope that he can prove to us that he deserves his position and our trust in him. I know him better than Migz that’s why I am proud of him,” said Cabanlas.
“Let’s monitor Koko’s first moves as senator, then we will know what kind of stuff he’s made of,” Bingo Alcordo, Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) executive vice president for print, said. (Cong Corrales / Mindanews)