Enrile commends Zubiri; resignation saddened colleagues

August 3, 2011 10:07 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Aug. 3 – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday commended Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri for a "very rare show of courage” after resigning to spare the Philippine Senate and his family from allegations that he benefited in the alleged 2007 senatorial election cheating.

”Today, I’m happy that in my lifetime and in my watch as Senate President of this Republic, I’ve seen a man standing before us to uphold the honor of his family and himself and I salute you for that, Migz,” Enrile said in his spontaneous response speech after Zubiri announced his resignation in a privilege speech.

”Never in my expectation when I assumed this position as President of the Senate, never had I thought that I would witness today a very rare show of moral courage. When a member of this august chamber, in defense of his honor and his family’s honor, decided to turn his back on the power of a senator of the Republic to go out into the arena out there to defend himself against attacks made on him,” Enrile added.

Enrile said the Senate has lost one of the most articulate senators with the resignation of Zubiri.

”I’m not saying this to flatter him, but I’m sad today that the Senate will lose one of the most articulate, one of the most promising, one of the most gifted young members of this senate. I worked with him when I first ascended this seat as Senate president in his capacity as majority floor leader,” Enrile said.

”I would say that he is one among the best whenever he stood up in this chamber in my memory. I’m sad that we’re going to lose you but I’m sure that what you did today in this chamber, what you showed us in this chamber, what you showed the Filipino people, will be remembered and your detractors will be chastised and that you shall come back here again to be with the members of this Senate,” the veteran lawmaker added.

Enrile said he is not stopping Zubiri from resigning but, “I will tell you, I will study your resignation and make a decision in due time.”

”I will consult the members of the chamber about it. We are not going to do this rashly. For today we are witnessing the happening of a historical event for this is the first time within the reach of my memory, of my 87 years in this planet, this is the first time that a member of this chamber chose honor ahead of himself. Country first before self. That is the meaning of what you did,” Enrile told Zubiri.

Enrile said he is confident that Zubiri can find his way back in the Senate if the latter decides to run in the 2013 midterm elections.

”And so I commend you as head of this chamber. We do not say goodbye because I’m sure you will be back but nonetheless we bid you well and we hope to see you again and you will always be a member of this chamber even if you’re out of it in the meantime,” Enrile said.

Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. said he was “deeply saddened” by the resignation that Zubiri told him a week ago.

”I told him to consider and think of his decision. We cannot blame him because of the pressures he is experiencing. His decision is an act of a true statesman. Because of this, he truly deserves more praise and honor,” Revilla said.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada described the resignation of Zubiri “as supreme sacrifice.”

”I feel a little bit sad because of the decision of Senator Zubiri to resign and I think he is a big loss to the Senate and he has done a lot for our people and our country. We will have to respect his decision. That is a very, very painful decision for him to make,” Estrada said.

Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero said he admired the courage of Zubiri, adding, “it must be a tough time for him and his family and I wish them well as they go through.”

Senator Panfilo Lacson said what Zubiri did was “honorable and noble act.”

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, who is from Bukidnon like Zubiri, said Zubiri is a big loss to the Philippine Senate because of “his dedication to work hard.”

Senator Manny Villar said he respects the decision of Zubiri, stressing the need for the people to know who was the real winner for the 12th and final senatorial slot in the 2007 elections.

”I was saddened by his decision but we should also give importance on what really transpired if Koko (Pimentel) has indeed won,” Villar said.

Pimentel finished in the 13th place in the 2007 senatorial election but his camp filed protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), claiming that the son of former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. was the real winner and not Zubiri.

Zubiri has already filed a counter-protest, claiming he also lost big number of votes in some areas in Metro Manila.

”My proclamation was affirmed by the Supreme Court without prejudice to filing any case with the SET. I also believe I was also a victim of similar circumstances which also affected the actual number of votes I obtained in the said election,” Zubiri said.

Zubiri vowed to continue his own protest before the SET while respecting the right of Pimentel to fight his own protest. (PNA) scs/jfm


One Response to “Enrile commends Zubiri; resignation saddened colleagues”

  1. Art on August 4th, 2011 6:05 am

    Enrile is perhaps reminded that he should have done the same thing years ago.