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Koko Pimentel takes oath as senator

August 12, 2011 11:30am

UPDATED 12:45 p.m. - Newly proclaimed Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Friday morning took his oath of office before his supporters in Mati, Davao Oriental, where he received a high number of votes, placing second in the 2007 senatorial race in that area.

During his oath, administered by Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon, Pimentel revealed what would be his top priorities in the two years that he will be in office.

"Mindanao first. I know this [ceremony] is shown on national media but I request for the understanding of my brothers in Visayas and Luzon. I hope they understand if I prioritize Mindanao," said the Cagayan de Oro City native.

Addressing the people of Davao Oriental, Pimentel said he took his oath of office in their province to fulfill a vow he made after the 2007 elections.

"We are all here because a promise is a promise. That's what I teach my children. Made four years ago... I made a promise to our people here that if I win, I will take my oath in Davao Oriental," said Pimentel.

"I won but I was not proclaimed so we fought. Because we are from Mindanao, we know how to fight for our rights," he added.

Obviously borrowing from World War II's American General Douglas McArthur, Pimentel said: "Sinabi ko sa inyo na kapag nakaupo na ako, I shall definitely return."

Pimentel was earlier declared as an adopted son both of Mati City and the province of Davao Oriental.

Pimentel hailed Davao Oriental as a "model for Mindanao" for being a "progressive, rich, and beautiful yet kept in a low profile still awaiting to be discovered not only by Mindanao but by the country and the rest of the world.

The new lawmaker said he intends to pick up lessons from Davao Oriental that could help him draft laws in improving local autonomy.

SET: Koko was cheated

Pimentel's formal assumption of office came a day after the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) said the lawyer was cheated by more than 200,000 votes in the 2007 polls.

The SET said Pimentel should have secured the last spot, instead of Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, who announced his resignation on August 3.

With Pimentel during the ceremony was his wife Jewel May Lobaton-Pimentel.

In a separate report by Lia Mañalac on GMA News TV's Balitanghali, Pimentel was quoted as saying he intends to align himself with the Senate majority.

He also promised to institute reforms in the automated election system. - VVP, GMA News
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