Zubiri willing to testify in Senate probe

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon (MindaNews/10 August) – Fresh from his unprecedented resignation in the Senate, Juan Miguel Zubiri said he is willing to face the Senate’s Blue Ribbon committee even if it would mean prosecution of his former boss, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for massive electoral fraud.

In an interview here Wednesday, Zubiri said he will face Blue Ribbon committee chair Senator Teofisto Guingona III should the latter summon him. The committee is set to launch an inquiry on the alleged massive cheating in the 2007 national elections with the reappearance of erstwhile Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol.

“I will always participate in any way I can so we can settle the problem of electoral fraud,” said Zubiri.

However, Zubiri, who was welcomed like a hero in his hometown Bukidnon today, doubts he could help establish direct link to what Bedol and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan’s claim that Arroyo was the chief architect in defrauding both the 2001 and 2007 national elections.

He said he has no knowledge on the alleged meetings held in some offices and homes that Bedol claimed. “It was clearly stated in Bedol’s affidavits that I wasn’t in those meetings,” Zubiri said.

He said he can provide information regarding electoral sabotage in Metro Manila, because it was there where he recovered almost 100,000 votes.

Zubiri reiterated that he had no clue that there was cheating going on. “”No one ever said that there were prepared votes for us. I will not allow that,” he added.

When asked why he resigned only last week, Zubiri replied that it was the reappearance of Bedol that cemented his decision to step down as senator since he would be holding on to a “questionable mandate.”

“We have to presume regularity in elections. We only knew that there was cheating when Bedol and Ampatuan came out in the open with their claims, because the SET (Senate Electoral Tribunal) did not declare that there was cheating in Maguindanao,” Zubiri said.

He stressed that if ever there was cheating, he would not be the sole beneficiary because in their Team Unity, he was dead last. (Cong Corrales / MindaNews)