Koko Pimentel as Senate President: like father, like son

]DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 June) – Father and son do not only share the same name –Aquilino Pimentel – and the same post years apart, they will also go down in Philippine history as the first and second Mindanawon to be Senate President.

Cagayan de Oro’s Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., 82, a lawyer, served as the 18th Senate President (2000 to 2001) while his son Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, 52, also a lawyer, will be the 23rd Senate President in what is now shaping up to be a “super majority” in both houses of Congress.

FATHER AND SON. Senator Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III delivers a speech while his father, former Senator Aquilino Pimentel II ( seated, left) at the Freedom Kiosk in Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro City last Sunday June 20. The younger Pimente, who hails from Cagayan de Oro City ,l is the only Mindanaoan elected to the Philippine Senate. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO FATHER AND SON. Senator Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III delivers a speech while his father, former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. ( seated, left) listens at the Freedom Kiosk in Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro City on June 20, 2013. Pimentel the father was the 18th Senate President while the son will be the 23rd Senate President. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Senator Franklin Drilon of Iloilo succeeded Pimentel as Senate President (2001 to 2006). Pimentel III will take over the post from outgoing Senate President Drilon.

Pimentel Jr. was Senate President when then President Joseph Estrada faced impeachment charges in Congress.

He resigned on January 16, 2001 after casting the 10th vote — the last “yes” vote == to open the second envelope that was expected to contain more damning evidence against Estrada. By the time he voted, however, 11 had already voted “No” to the opening.

“I vote to open the second envelope. I vote to do so because that is the only way to determine whether or not the contents of the envelope are relevant or material to the case at bar. Because of this development, Mr. Chief Justice, I realize that the NO’s have it. And therefore, I resign my presidency of the Senate as soon as my successor is elected,” Pimentel, the senator-judge, declared.

What followed next was the massing of people at EDSA and other plazas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – in what would be referred to as EDSA People Power II. Estrada was ousted and Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath as President on January 21, 2001.

BS Math, Law topnotcher

Pimentel the son finished BS Math at the Ateneo de Manila University and Law at the University of the Philippines. He topped the bar examinations in 1990.

Pimentel III ran for the Senate in 2007, filed an electoral protest against Juan Miguel Zubiri of Bukidnon and was declared winner by the Senate Electoral Tribunal in August 2011 for a term that was supposed to expire on June 30, 2013.

He ran for the Senate in 2013 and won a second term.

Pimentel III served as Commissioner of the National Youth Commission, representing Mindanao, from 1995 to 1998.

ConCon delegate, Mayor

The patriarch began his political career as a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention representing Cagayan de Oro City.

He was among the staunch critics of martial law which then President Ferdinand Marcos declared on September 21, 1972. He was detained thrice, in Camp Crame, Quezon City in 1973, in Camp Bicutan, Metro Manila in 1978 for leading a demonstration against the farcical IBP elections that year; in 1983 in Camp Sergio Osmeña and Camp Sotero Cabahug in Cebu City; and was also placed under house arrest in Cagayan de Oro City on charges of rebellion.

While serving as mayor of Cagayan de Oro from 1980 to 1984, Marcos ousted him in 1982 but Pimentel said he was “reinstated by People Power demonstrations, the first ever in the country.”

When he was elected Assemblyman of the Interim Batasang Pambansa (IPB) from 1984 to 1986, he was again ousted by the Marcos administration but was reinstated by the Supreme Court.

When the Marcos dictatorship was ousted by People Power in February 1986, Pimentel was appointed by President Corazon Aquino as Minister of Local Governments.

He was also named Presidential Adviser and chief negotiator of the government in talks with the Moro revolutionary fronts.

Pimentel Jr. was elected Senator in the first post-EDSA Senate, from 1987 to 1992; was running mate of Presidential bet, Senate President Jovito Salonga in 1992; ran for the Senate in 1995 but filed a protest alleging he lost to “dagdag bawas.”

He ran again in 1998 and served for two terms until 2010. He was elected as the 18th Senate President on November 13, 2000.

Appointing OICs

Pimentel Jr. had the toughest job after EDSA People Power in 1986: replacing then incumbent officials with Officers-in-Charge.

In Davao City, Pimentel named Zafiro Respicio, an anti-Marcos leader as OIC mayor in 1986 and Soledad Roa Duterte, a civic leader who participated in the Yellow Friday movement to oust the Marcos dictatorship, as OIC Vice Mayor.

The latter, however, declined the offer and suggested in her stead, her son Rodrigo, then a shy, softspoken member of the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Rodrigo Duterte served as OIC vice mayor from 1986 to 1988. In the 1988 elections, he ran for mayor and won against Respicio.

Thirty years after his appointment as OIC Vice Mayor, Duterte was elected President of the Philippines, the first Mindanawon to lead the country. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)