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Pimentel, poll fraud victim, bats for electoral reform

Perseus Echeminada - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - It’s not surprising that electoral reform is Sen. Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s main advocacy.

After all, he was a victim of electoral fraud in the 2007 senatorial elections, having been proclaimed only on Aug. 11, 2011 after winning his electoral protest against former Bukidnon congressman Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Pimentel is a strong advocate of biometrics voters’ listing as a tool against vote fraud.

As a lawyer, he helped his father, former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., build cases against election officers involved in fraud in the 2004 elections.

He also filed a complaint of electoral sabotage against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos.

Pimentel, president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino, was supposed to run under the ticket of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which forged an alliance with PDP.

But he refused to be on the same ticket as Zubiri, and joined the Team PNoy coalition instead.

Pimentel’s private life has also been marred with controversy. He broke up with his wife of almost 12 years, former beauty queen Jewel May Lobaton, with whom he has two sons.

During the campaign, Zubiri claimed that Lobaton was a battered wife. Lobaton denied the allegation.

Pimentel said he is not taking chances even though he is faring well in pre-election surveys. He is hoping that “dagdag-bawas” or vote  padding and shaving will be a thing of the past with automated elections.

Pimentel was born on Jan 20, 1964 in Cagayan de Oro City.

He said his childhood dream was to become a chess champion, but his exposure to court hearings, courtesy of his father, shifted his passion to law.

Pimentel, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics degree from the Ateneo de Manila University, topped the 1990 Bar examination.

AQUILINO PIMENTEL JR. BACHELOR OF SCIENCE BENJAMIN ABALOS JEWEL MAY LOBATON JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI LOBATON MANILA UNIVERSITY ORO CITY PARTIDO DEMOKRATIKO PILIPINO PIMENTEL
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