Press Release
March 13, 2013


Re-electionist Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today accused UNA senatorial bet Juan Miguel Zubiri of resigning from the Senate in 2011 "out of a desire for political profit, not for principle."

"Zubiri timed his resignation in such a way that he would have sufficient time to repair his image in preparation for his 2013 candidacy and I would have the shortest possible time to have anything accomplished in the Senate," Pimentel said.

Responding to Zubiri's challenge for him to cite his accomplishments as senator, Pimentel said he "hit the ground running" when he became Senator in August 2011.

"My background as a lawyer who practiced his profession quickly enabled me to adjust to the formalities and subtleties not only of lawmaking but also of the 6-month impeachment trial which greeted the start of my tenure as Senator," Pimentel explained.

"In less than a year in office I caused the cleansing of the list of voters in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by authoring and sponsoring, together with Senator Franklin Drilon, Joint Resolution No. 17 which gave the ARMM the grand opportunity to reverse its reputation as the cheating capital of the Philippines," the Mindanao lawmaker said.

This, he said, prompted the Commission on Elections to delist around 300,000 voters in the ARMM.

Turning the tables on Zubiri, Pimentel said: "In the four years that he was a pretender in the Senate, what did Zubiri do to address the perennial problem of election cheating in the ARMM? He must have been overly happy and satisfied with his Number One ranking in Maguindanao in 2007 with 195,823 Zubiri votes out of around 204,000 total number of registered voters."

Pimentel pointed out that as chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation, he authored/co-authored and sponsored four significant bills, two of which have become laws.

The new laws are the Electoral Processes Accessibility Act (Republic Act No. 10366) and the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act (Republic Act No. 10367), while those awaiting the President's signature are Senate Bill No. 1198 providing for Local Absentee Voting for Members of Media and Senate Bill No. 3312 overhauling the Overseas Voting Act.

From 25 July 2011 to 08 June 2012, the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation, in just nine months after Pimentel's proclamation, ranked fourth as the most active among the 39 standing committees with 11 hearings/TWGs/briefings, next to Committee on Finance, Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation and Committee on Local Government.

For the 3rd Regular Session, the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation ranked second among the most active of the standing Committees in the Legislative Committee Support Services "A", having conducted 19 public hearings/ Bicameral Conference Meetings/ TWGs/briefings.

The Select Oversight Committee on Suffrage chaired by Pimentel ranked first among the most active Oversight Committees in the Legislative Committee Support Services "A", having conducted seven public hearings/forums.

As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports, Pimentel filed a bill now awaiting the President's signature: Senate Bill No. 3322 or The Professional Filipino Athletes Retirement, Health Care, and Death Benefits Act of 2013.

He is also the co-author of the Foster Care Law (Republic Act No. 10165) which seeks to strengthen the mechanism of adoption, pursuant to his belief in the slogan "Adoption not abortion".

Pimentel also authored Senate Resolution No. 710 which led the Civil Service Commission to backtrack on its plan to impose a new form for the SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth) which, because it is too complicated for the common man, would require the filer to hire the services of both a lawyer and an accountant. This development benefited no less than 1.3 million government employees.

Pimentel was also able to organize six Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Regional Summits as his contribution to spreading the "good news of disaster preparedness" all over our country, to wit: Mindanao-wide summit in Feb. 2012, West Visayas Summit in March 2012, Bicol Summit in May 2012, Ilocos Summit in July 2012, Cordillera Summit in July 2012, and Southern Tagalog Summit in December 2012.

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