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Koko Pimentel promises reforms at his first Senate session

August 15, 2011 4:35pm

(Updated 5:09 p.m.) In his first privilege speech during his very first Senate plenary session on Monday, newly proclaimed Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III promised that he will initiate electoral reforms.

"My commitment (is) to make the electoral process more resistent to corruption
and cause the prosecution and jailing of those who corrupted the electoral expression of the sovereignty of the people;" he said.

"(I promise) to make justice more speedily responsive especially to the legitimate grievances of the people; and to ensure that more powers and not less will be (given) to the local government units especially the barangay. Youth and OFW urgent concerns likewise must be attended to," he added.

He admitted, however, that it will be difficult to accomplish his "ambitious agenda" because his term ends in 2013.

"But I will try with the help of God, with the help of our more experienced brethren in the Senate, who knows what luck and determination can do," he said.

During the speech, Pimentel likewise thanked God, his family and all those who supported him in his electoral protest against Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri for the 2007 polls.

"What my family and I and our supporters had gone through was not a personal odyssey for personal glory rather it was a political combat that was waged on behalf of our people," he said.

He was quick to note that he "bares no one any ill will, personal hatred or desire for vengeance."

"I merely sought truth and found it, I fought for justice and got it... all's well that ends well," he said.

Pimentel was proclaimed by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) as the real 12th winning senator during the 2007 elections.

He took oath in Mati, Davao Oriental last Friday.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III said they will conduct a caucus on Tuesday to determine Pimentel's possible committee memberships.

But Sen. Gregorio Honasan had said that he is willing to give up his chairmanship of the Senate committee on public information and mass media if Pimentel wants it.

Pimentel, for his part, had said that he would take any committee that is assigned to him. He also said he will join the majority bloc because he is supportive of the Aquino administration.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, however, said that nothing is final yet pending Tuesday's caucus.

Support

Pimentel's wife, Jewel, and his father, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., said they were confident that the newly proclaimed senator would do well in the chamber.

"Talagang alam ko po si Koko magtatrabaho yan. Ako bilang asawa niya lang ako sa likod niya," Jewel told reporters on Monday before her husband delivered his speech.

"Alam na ni Koko yun, I am sure he will easly adapt. (Pero ) ang advise ko (sa kanya) pagsilbihan ang taong-bayan... kung ano yung dapat panindigan, whatever the costs are sapagkat yun po ang expectation ng tao," the elder Pimentel said in a separate interview.

At least two senators likewise welcomed Pimentel into the Senate, saying that he will be an asset to the chamber.

"I wish him well. Being a new member here in the Senate. Alam ko naman na ang puso’t damdamin rin ni Sen. Pimentel ay para rin sa mga mahihirap," Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said.

Sen. Edgardo Angara, on the other hand, said that he has high expectations from Pimentel because he is a known legal luminary and a bar top-notcher. - VVP/KBK/HS, GMA News
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