CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – True to his word, resigned Sen Juan Miguel Zubiri performed a special number in the hometown of his rival.
Zubiri dedicated his version of the song “Remember Me” by Filipino singer Renz Verano to Sen Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III as he courted votes in Pimentel’s hometown.
Yet before belting out a tune, Zubiri dedicated a lengthy part of his speech to give a message to Pimentel.
Zubiri has vowed to sing in Cagayan de Oro in response to Pimentel’s campaign song “Imagine” by John Lennon that takes a swipe at him for allegedly cheating him in 2007.
Without mentioning Pimentel’s name, the former Bukidnon representative talked about a senator from Mindanao who he said has done nothing but criticize him on the campaign trail.
Zubiri said, “Duna tay amigo na walay gihimo sa tanan entablado sa Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao na ako iyang giaatake na wala man ko gaaway sa iya. Wala siya nag-adto sa Bukidnon sa rally sa LP. Tingali di niya palangga ang mga Bukidnon. Ako nag-anhi sa inyong atubangan kay ako palangga ko ang mga taga-Cagayan de Oro!”
(We have a friend who has done nothing on stage in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao but attack me even if I am not doing anything to him. He did not go to Bukidnon in the LP rally. Perhaps he does not love the people of Bukidnon. As for me, I went here in front of you because I really love the people of Cagayan de Oro!)
Pimentel earlier told Rappler that he skipped the Liberal Party’s Bukidnon sortie because he had to catch a flight back to Manila.
Zubiri went on by saying that Mindanao already faces many problems like the power crisis, and government’s aim to privatize public hospitals.
He presented himself as a candidate who has not attacked anyone but whose name has repeatedly been destroyed.
“Daghan pa problema. Unta mag-uban, magtinabangay ming duha. Unta nay adlaw muabot. Mga kaigsungan, akong hangyo ‘wag ko niya birahun ug daug-daugun. Kaila mo sa akoa. Kaila mo sa batasan sa mga Zubiri. Buutan kong tao.”
(We have so many problems. I hope we can join together, help each other. I hope that day will come. My friends, my request is that he does not attack me and bully me. You know me. You know the attitude of the Zubiris. I am a good person.)
Zubiri then said that when Typhoon Sendong (Washi) hit Cagayan de Oro, even if he already resigned from the Senate, he spent his own money to help in the relief efforts.
Instead of attacking him, Zubiri said Pimentel should give his solutions to the problems Mindanao faces.
When the crowd said they are against the privatization of public hospitals, Zubiri said, “Mao na ang tingog diri sa Mindanao. Unta kana ang dalhun sa senador sa Mindanao sa iyang amo (President Aquino) na dili musugot na iprivatize ang mga ospital sa Mindanao.”
(That is the voice of Mindanao. I hope the senator from Mindanao will convey that to his boss, President Aquino, that we will not agree to the privatization of public hospitals in Mindanao.)
The animosity between Pimentel and Zubiri is rooted in the 2007 polls. Pimentel claims Zubiri cheated him of 4 years in the Senate after he was initially proclaimed the 12th senator.
Pimentel filed an election protest against Zubiri, contesting votes in provinces including Maguindanao, where some opposition candidates then questionably got zero votes. Zubiri was a candidate of the Arroyo administration’s Team Unity.
In 2011, Zubiri resigned amid a series of exposes of election cheating in 2007. His resignation came just days before the Senate Electoral Tribunal proclaimed Pimentel the rightful winner of the polls.
Zubiri then sang his song:
Kapag ang puso’y di sanay mag-isa
Anong lungkot ang nadarama
Kapag walang gobyerno, walang ligaya
At ‘pag wala ka, buhay ko’y walang sigla
Kapag kanyang pangako, laging mamahalin
Ipinakita sa gawa, ‘di lang salita
Hanggang wagas ay magsasama
Umulan bumagyo o may delubyo
Kayo at si Migz pa rin
Remember me, Migz Zubiri
Kapag ika’y nalulungkot
‘Wag kang mag-alala.
Remember Migz, siya’y mapagkumbaba.
Taong may panindigan
Remember Migz, wag po kayo’y limutin siya
Noon, ngayon, magpakailanman.
Erap: Migz a true man
Former President Joseph Estrada applauded Zubiri, saying while he did not understand his speech, he did not know he could sing.
Turning serious, Estrada again absolved him of involvement in the poll fraud.
When Estrada introduced Zubiri, he praised him for his decision to resign.
“Siya’y isang tunay na lalaki, may prinsipyo, kusang loob na nag-resign. Kung hindi lalaki ito at walang prinsipyo, hindi magre-resign ito, hindi makakaupo si Koko Pimentel.” (He is a real man, he has principles, voluntarily resigned. If he were not a man and had no principles and did not resign, Koko Pimentel would not have sat as senator)
“Hindi niya alam na nandaya. May utos pero ‘di niya alam nung nalaman niya, kusang-loob na nagresign.” (He did not know he was cheated. There was an order but he did not know. When he knew, he willingly resigned.) – Rappler.com