MANILA, Philippines – Sen Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III denied a circulating text message that says he has bolted the political party of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
In a text message to Rappler, the senator said, “Not true, I’ll never leave my party, PDP-Laban.” Pimentel is president of PDP-Laban or the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
Pimentel issued the denial after an SMS went around saying, “NEWS: [The Liberal Party] welcomes Koko Pimentel to party following his decision to quit PDP over inclusion of Zubiri in UNA ticket.” The SMS was sent to reporters on Wednesday, May 16.
Pimentel is objecting to the inclusion of resigned Sen Juan Miguel Zubiri in the senatorial slate of Binay’s coalition for 2013, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). It is an alliance with former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).
The PDP-Laban president claims Zubiri was part of alleged cheating in the 2007 polls. Pimentel was able to assume his Senate post only last year, when he was declared the winner of the electoral protest. Zubiri resigned shortly before this.
Zubiri is being eyed as a senatorial candidate of UNA.
UNA leaders, though, are optimistic they can resolve the rift between the two.