Speaking to reporters outside his office, Pimentel, still with tears in his eyes, answered queries lobbed by reporters who were all taken by surprise with the developments that unfolded.
One reporter asked how the senator came to the conclusion to leave the coalition. “I have tried to save my membership with UNA. I have said my objections to the leaders, but they decided to belittle it,” said Pimentel, while holding a glass of milk. “But when the going gets though, I decided to close the door.”
His objection stems from the 2007 elections, where Zubiri allegedly benefited from large-scale electoral fraud. In 2011, the Senate Electoral Tribunal proclaimed Pimentel the real winner in the elections after Zubiri resigned.
UNA’s leaders have advised Pimentel to already forgive Zubiri. (from ABS-CBN News)
Another reporter asked if there was a chance for him to change his mind and he answered: “No, I’ve made-up my mind. I cannot be seen on the same ticket with the biggest beneficiary of poll cheating in 2007.” He went on to add, “I was also the first one in UNA, how come they’re giving more weight to Zubiri’s statements than mine? That’s not fair!”
At this point, Pimentel started to cry like a
baby passionate public official which took his staff almost 45 minutes to pacify him. He was even seen hugging a security blanket that his yaya secretary handed to him to help him calm down.
The hands of the 48-year-old Senator from Mindanao were still shaking when he found his composure and then he walked back to the podium slowly to resume the press conference. With a big sip of his warm milk, the senator proceeded to his final announcement.
“I’m sorry that you have to see me at my weakest,” said Pimentel. “But I would like to assure you all that it would be the last time.”
Pimentel then went on to announce the formation of UNA Me 1st, with him as the founder and President of the newly formed coalition. The alliance, according to the press release, embodies the Senator’s beliefs, his trials and experiences as the one who was cheated by two separate lawmakers both politically and as a husband. The alliance is currently on the look-out for possible senatorial candidates to complete their ticket.
“Everybody is welcomed to join! Everybody except Mr. Zubiri,” clarified the senator.
UNA Me 1st currently has one member only.