Will Juan Miguel Zubiri really resign as Senator today?
Philippine Daily Inquirer (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/35661/zubiri-resigns-amid-poll-fraud-scandal) becomes the first to confirm this story:
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri announced his resignation from his post on Wednesday, saying he and his family were deeply hurt by fraud allegation and trial by publicity being waged by his rival, lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who lost against him for the 12th slot in the 2007 senatorial 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,” Zubiri said in a privilege speech.
“I am resigning, not because I am exhausted from the demands of my calling as a legislator. Hindi po ako napagod sa paglilingkod sa inyo [I never got tired of being of service to you],” he said.
“I am resigning, not because I wish to evade the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. Handa ko pong tanggapin ang anumang hatol mula sa nasabing hukuman [I am ready to accept any verdict from the said tribubal].”
“Rather, I am resigning because of these unfounded accusations against me and these issues has systematically divided our nation and has casted doubts in our electoral system which has affected not only myself, this Institution but the public as well,” the senator added.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri will announce his resignation from the Senate in a privilege speech this afternoon, ABS-CBN reported in its website a little past noon today (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/08/03/11/zubiri-give-senate-seat-source). Zubiri, according to ABS-CBN, arrived at the decision after “new witnesses to fraud in the 2007 elections cast doubt on his mandate.”
They are referring to the recent testimonies of former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan. They were supposedly ordered by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to pad votes for Zubiri for him to surpass lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pinmentel III in the race for Senate.
UPDATE: Inquirer.net (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/35575/zubiri-expected-to-announce-resignation-from-senate) reports that he will indeed announce his resignation in a privilege speech this afternoon. Key members of the Zubiri family will also be present during his speech.
Far from being an admission of guilt, Zubiri will be resigning “to spare the Senate as an institution from the damage being brought by accusations of fraud (against Zubiri),” the Inquirer source added.