Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III

Purple S. Romero

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The senator is still savoring a historic electoral protest victory


Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III

New kid on the block

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Koko Pimentel‘s complaint accusing former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel, of  electoral sabotage in the 2007 senatorial elections, is one of the cases that triggered the issuance of a watch list order against the two.

The Department of Justice barred the Arroyo couple from leaving the country in October 2011, but the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the DOJ from implementing the order. The issuance of the TRO is now one of the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Renato Corona.  

Pimentel accused the Arroyo couple of having a hand in the reported election cheating in Maguindanao and Lanao del Norte, which resulted in a 12-0 sweep of administration candidates in the 2007 senatorial race. Pimentel filed an electoral protest against Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri – who led him by some 19,000 votes – in 2007. 

In 2008, the Senate electoral tribunal, composed of SC Justices Leonardo Quisumbing (now retired),  Antonio Carpio, Corona, Senators Edgardo Angara, Pia Cayetano, Panfilo Lacson, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Escudero and Benigno Aquino III ruled that there was sufficient ground to proceed with the electoral protest. 

In 2011, Zubiri resigned and Pimentel was declared as the newest member of the 23-member Senate. In a previous interview with Newsbreak, Pimentel said that his allies in the Senate include Senators Sergio Osmeña III, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter, Pia Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV.

He ran for mayor of Cagayan de Oro in 2001 but lost.


Education: Finished BS Mathematics in Ateneo, completed law in the University of the Philippines. 

Professional background: A bar topnotcher in 1990, Pimentel has his own law firm, the Aquilino Pimentel III law office.

Current term: 2007 to 2013

Eligible for reelection? Yes, in 2013. It’s his first term at the Senate. Pimentel assumed the Senate post earlier occupied by Zubiri.  

Senate committee: Chairperson, Committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, member, Senate committee on accountability of public officers and investigations, 

Senate bloc: In a previous interview with Newsbreak, Pimentel said his allies in the Senate are Senators Sergio Osmeña III (who was him in PDP-Laban’s senatorial ticket in 2007), Francis Escudero, Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Pending cases before SC: Pimentel filed a motion for reconsideration on the SC ruling declaring RA 10153, the law postponing the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao from 2011 to 2013, constitutional. 

One of Pimentel’s key allies, Vice President Jejomar Binay, has a pending election case before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, which is composed also of the SC. Aquino’s ally, now Transport and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas III, filed an electoral protest against Binay, who defeated him in the 2010 elections for the post of vice president. Pimentel is president of PDP-Laban; Binay, is the party chairperson.

Published and aired position on Corona or on issues contained in the articles of impeachment.

In an interview with Inquirer, Pimentel said that he “unequivocally” supports Justice Secrertary Leila de Lima for barring Arroyo from leaving the country.

“She should be commended instead of reproached for upholding justice and the rule of law,” he told Inquirer

He also said the SC should not hold De Lima in contempt for continuing to enforce the watch list order even as the high court has issued a TRO. De Lima served as Pimentel’s counsel in his electoral protest against Zubiri. – Rappler.com


Sources: Newsbreak, Philppine Daily Inquirer, www.senate.gov.ph, www.pimentelprotest.ph 

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