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MANILA, Philippines – Former Senator Rene Saguisag is not taking sides in the disagreement between his two long-time friends: Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.
Instead, the lawyer looks at the issue through the lens of history.
Pimentel Jr has criticized Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance for accepting resigned Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri in its senatorial slate for 2013. Pimentel Jr and his son, Senator Koko Pimentel, have criticized Zubiri as an election cheat in 2007 who deprived the younger Pimentel of his Senate seat for more than 4 years. (Read: Binay-Pimentel: The ties that bind)
The elder Pimentel, Binay and Saguisag forged ties during the anti-Marcos movement as human rights lawyers.
In an interview on Rappler’s #TalkThursday on June 21, Saguisag likened his two friends to the late Senator Ninoy Aquino and his wife, former President Corazon Aquino. Saguisag served as a spokesman and adviser of president-elect Cory Aquino. (Watch the full interview here).
Saguisag said, “Baka si Nene, more like Cory, talagang matigas ang ulo, stubborn. Baka si Ninoy, pragmatic naman, what works, parang si Jojo. That’s the best analogy that I can imagine to try to simplify the situation.” (Maybe Nene is more like Cory, hard-headed, stubborn. But Ninoy is like Jojo, pragmatic.)
Saguisag explained, “Jojo is the practical type but I have long admired the moral stamina of Nene because he was in and out of prison during Martial Law but he was really hard-headed. He still attacked Marcos. Jojo was also imprisoned, all of us. It’s common but they were imprisoned for a longer time.”
‘Why is Binay with Mitos?’
Saguisag admitted that he is just an observer of politics because in his 6 years in the Senate, “Di ko naintindihan iyan.” (I did not understand it).
“I’m among those whose feet are planted firmly in mid-air while Jojo and the rest are on the ground that’s why I did not last. I just stayed for one term.”
Saguisag said he has not talked to Binay for a long time but noticed his growing desire to be president in 2016.
Yet he could not help but question Binay’s new allies.
“Bakit kasama nila Jojo si [Zambales Rep] Mitos Magsaysay? She has made a living, so to speak, doing nothing but hitting Noynoy. Bakit kasama nila Jojo? Talaga bang anti-Noynoy na sila? There may be an explanation but it’s still a secret as far as I’m concerned.” (Why is Mitos Magsaysay with Jojo’s group? Are they really anti-Noynoy?)
Critics including Pimentel Jr, however, accused the group of prioritizing political expediency over principles. – Rappler.com