MANILA — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III will be joining the senatorial ticket of the Liberal Party in next year’s elections.
Pimentel confirmed this Thursday in an interview with reporters following his “brief talk” with President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang.
“I have accepted the President’s invitation to join and be part of his senatorial ticket in 2013,” Pimentel said, adding that he will be running as guest candidate.
Pimentel left United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) last June after the coalition decided to keep his close rival former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri in its senatorial line-up.
UNA is a coalition of former President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and Vice President Jejomar Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Pimentel believed that Zubiri benefitted from the alleged vote rigging in the 2007 senatorial elections during the Arroyo administration.
Zubiri resigned amid the controversy. Pimentel was subsequently proclaimed by the poll tribunal as the 12th winning senator in the 2007 polls.
Pimentel earlier explained that he has left UNA and not the PDP-Laban, which is his original party. He also believed that his decision to leave UNA will not create a ripple effect.
“The President told me that I am always welcome in the Liberal Party and I answered him that I am at home here,” the senator said.
He said he owe Aquino a lot since he got justice in his electoral protest case under his term.
He noted that the senatorial ticket of LP is almost complete.
“The President seems to be so excited to campaign for us. He is in fact composing his endorsement speech,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pimentel defended several LP senatoriables, who were recently criticized for supposed early campaigning by joining Aquino when he visited flood-stricken areas.
He said he does not see anything wrong about it and he himself is willing to join the President in visiting flooded areas if invited.
“I know how it feels to be a victim of flooding. Ok lang na nakadisplay ka dun kung tumutulong ka din,” he said. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)