Remembering Sen. Nene Pimentel Jr.
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

Thirty-five years ago I joined the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO) of then Senator Salvador “Doy” Laurel as we were no longer satisfied with the Marcos dictatorship at the time. It was then that I would meet up, once with then Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., Jovito Salonga, and Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. Those were indeed different times for the Philippines and our political system.

Last Sunday former Senate president Pimentel died of cancer. Today former and incumbent senators will pay tribute to their deceased comrade who lived a long and illustrious life. We gathered that Senate President Vicente Sotto III, together with current and former senators, Senate Secretary Myra Villarica, Sergeant-at-Arms Rene Samonte, and secretariat officials and employees will receive the remains of Pimentel at the foyer of the main entrance of the Senate building and bring them to the session hall so a good number of senators can do their eulogies.

If Senator Pimentel was a very popular senator, it is because he co-founded the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and served as Senate president from 2000 to 2001. This political party is still in existence today. As senator, Pimentel authored and sponsored landmark legislation such as the Local Government Code of 1991, the Cooperative Code, the Philippine Sports Commission Act, the Act creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act. He also authored and co-sponsored the Generic Drugs Act and the Act Establishing the Philippine Police under a Reorganized Department of the Interior and Local Government.

I understand that the remains of Senator Pimentel will be flown to Cagayan de Oro as he started his political career as mayor of that city. It was at that time when I would meet up with Senator Pimentel and talk shop with him. After all, UNIDO was the only political party that I ever joined in my entire life. But all that disappeared when the Aquino political family took over from the Marcos dictatorship and didn’t care to improve the lives of Filipinos.

***

After a long 18 years as justice of the Supreme Court, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is finally leaving the high tribunal with no case backlog. As Carpio pointed out, “It was a very long journey, allowing me to write 935 full blown long decisions, 79 dissenting opinions, 30 concurring opinions, 13 separate opinions and four concurring and dissenting opinions, leaving no backlog.” This Saturday, Oct. 26, Carpio turns 70, the mandatory age of retirement for a justice.

Carpio added, he is both happy and sad about his coming retirement. “Happy, because I have done my best to serve our people, and sad because I am bidding farewell to my family of the last 18 years. I cannot name all of you individually. You have made my long journey pleasant and productive.” His last day in office will be on Friday. As others would say, he is the chief justice of the Supreme Court that we never had! So farewell, sir!

***

We are awaiting the days when finally we shall soon be seeing the result of the recount asked by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against current Vice President Leni Robredo, which gives you an idea that the 2016 presidential elections was faulty to say the least. Thanks to Smartmatic for fooling the Filipino electorate in the last three major elections.

While this issue has still to be settled, I read in the news that Smartmatic recently introduced its newest voting machine touted by the London-based firm as a breakthrough in voting security and transparency. What’s this? Another hogwash to be dropped on the naïve Filipino voters? We learned that Smartmatic Philippines officials referred to the new system as “a middle ground between the assured security of traditional paper ballots and the speed and ease of modern, touchscreen voting machines.”

They said the voting features a simple and easy to understand way for voters to mark choices on a touchscreen. The machine prints the choices onto a paper ballot, allowing voters to verify and even correct selections before officially casting their ballots. What I would like to know is what does former Comelec chairman Andres Bautista thinks about this new scheme. That’s if you folks can find where he is hiding! At this point, I dare say no to Smartmatic!

vsbobita@gmail.com

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