Senator Zubiri resigns from post, to run in 2013

Thea Alberto-Masakayan

Photo by NPPA Images

UPDATE 2: Saying that honor goes above anything, Senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri resigned from his post Wednesday, roughly two years before he ends his six-year term.

In a privilege speech, Zubiri said he resigned because of "unfounded accusations" against him, which has deeply hurt his family.

"I am resigning because of these unfounded accusations against me and these issues has systematically divided our nation and has cast doubts in our electoral system which has affected not only myself, this Institution but the public as well," Zubiri said.

"And as a legislator, who is being referred to in the Senate as “Your Honor”, I believe that my honor is something that should never be subject to taint," he added.

This, amid fresh revelations by Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol of alleged fraud in the 2007 elections.

"Without admitting any fault and with my vehement denial of the alleged electoral fraud hurled against me, I am submitting my resignation as a duly elected Senator of the Republic of the Philippines in the election for which I am falsely accused without mercy and compassion," a calm Zubiri said as he delivered his privileged speech.

"I have seen and felt the suffering of my family, and from the burrows of my conscience, I could not allow this to happen, let alone be tolerated," Zubiri added.

"I did not cheat nor ask anyone to cheat for me and my family. We would never tolerate any form of electoral fraud," he added.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he would study Zubiri's resignation.

Zubiri, however stressed his resignation was irrevocable.

Plans after resignation

Interviewed after delivering his speech, Zubiri said he would seek a Senate post in 2013. "I will seek a fresh mandate," he told reporters.

His wife, Audrey Zubiri said she is supporting her husband's decision.

"Sa ngayon I'm very proud of my husband. Pinatunayan niya na siya ay isang tunay na lalaki," she told reporters.

For now, they will enjoy a private life together. She added in jest that they'll be "making babies."


Enrile lauded Zubiri's decision and noted it was a "very rare show of moral courage."

"Today I am happy that in my lifetime and in my watch as Senate President, I've seen a man standing before us to uphold the honor of his family and himself," Enrile said, noting that that Senate would be losing "one of the most articulate, one of the most promising members."

Meanwhile, Malacanang urged Zubiri to help shed light on poll fraud allegations.

"We call on Mr. Zubiri to further demonstrate his willingness to help restore the dignity of our electoral process. Any contribution he makes can be vital in restoring the people’s mandate," Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

2007 poll fraud

An administration bet, Zubiri landed the 12th and last spot for the Senate, narrowly defeating opposition bet, lawyer Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

Pimentel has since contested Zubiri's win but failed to get the High Court's restraining order on Zubiri's proclamation.

Zubiri was proclaimed Senator on July 2007 with 11,001,730 votes, a little over Pimentel's 10,983,358. An electoral protest is pending before the Senate Electoral Tribunal.

In a telephone interview, former Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. said he is hoping his son could soon get the post.

"We are hoping it will happen sooner or later," he said, noting that Koko still have less than two years to work in the Senate.

As for Zubiri, he said he would  "live in happiness and peace" with his family.

"I will leave the Senate with my head held up high, knowing that despite all endeavors that came my way, I was able to survive and perform, and I did so with the support of those who believed in me and my advocacies," he added.