‘I want to campaign with a happy heart’ — Koko

SENATOR Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III told former President Joseph Estrada that he wanted to campaign with a happy heart because he cannot run under one ticket with a person who fraudulently deprived him his rightful place in the Senate.

“I wanted to campaign with a happy heart. Sa kampanya, gusto ko happy ako. The issue is not about you or Vice President (Jejomar) Binay. It is about consistency in my fight against electoral fraud,” Pimentel told Estrada in a letter on Friday.

The senator explained that he would “consider all options available to me that accord principally with what is good for our country and people and with what I can accept in good conscience.”

Pimentel also told Estrada that he categorically stated that he will not be running on the same ticket in UNA with Zubiri.

“I will not accept any nomination for me to run as one of the candidates for senator under the UNA. But to be very clear about it, I am not leaving my party, the PDP Laban, as I intend to run as a PDP Laban candidate.”

In his letter, Pimentel expressed regret over not having responded earlier to the former president’s wish for the two of them to meet to thresh out the issue regarding his candidacy.

“Please forgive me for having delayed that meeting because I had to consult with my party mates, and supporters. I come to see you today hoping you would understand the position I have taken on the issue of whether or not Migz Zubiri and I should run in 2013 as common senatorial candidates of the UNA,” Pimentel said.

The senator acknowledged that Estrada’s support would be a great help in his senatorial candidacy in 2013, and that the former president had helped him in his quest for vindication in his electoral protest against Zubiri.

But Pimentel told Estrada that “my conscience says it would be inconsistent with my concept of what is right and wrong if I ran on the same ticket under UNA. I protested against Migz for cheating me in many parts of the country especially in Maguindanao.”

Pimentel said in his letter: “Ninong, please do not think that I refuse to forgive Migz, because I have already forgiven him a long time ago for his having fraudulently deprived me of my rightful place in the Senate. That is on the personal level. But I cannot forgive him on behalf of our supporters who voted for me but whose votes by the tens of thousands were nullified because of the massive cheating in the 2007 elections of which Migz was, at the very least, the willing beneficiary.”

Pimentel thanked Estrada for “all the goodness you have generously extended to me over the years. I hope that you will indeed understand and forgive me for this decision and find it in your heart to somehow support me or, at the very least, wish me success in my candidacy.”


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