Juan Miguel “Migs” Zubiri has resigned in a move that no other politician embroiled in a scandal has done in recent memory: resign his Senate post amid lingering accusations of electoral fraud. We laud Zubiri’s move and we believe this is not the end of his political career. Now that the people realizes his delicadeza and integrity, we hope he can still get elected to a top political position in clean, free and honest elections someday. We also hope this will be a shining example for other policians and government officials in tainted scandals to do the same. Country first before self, as the saying goes.
Excerpts of his resignation speech follows:
Mr. President, My Distinguished Colleagues in this August Chamber, Mga Minamahal kong Kababayan:
On several occasions, I rose in this August Chamber, in defense of the environment and other issues affecting our country and our countrymen.
Today, I rise on a personal privilege in defense of my and my family’s honor, integrity and dignity.
And I address this speech to reach our people to whom I owe my present position.
Nais kong marating ang lahat ng ating mga kababayan sa sandaling ito sapagkat sa kanila nagmula o nanggaling ang katungkulan ko bilang isang Senador ng ating bansa.
In the May 2007 elections, I was elected and duly proclaimed as Senator of the Republic with more than 11 million votes. My proclamation was affirmed by the Supreme Court without prejudice to filing any case with the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
This chamber and our people may take judicial notice that my proclamation was assailed through the filing of an election protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) alleging fraud and irregularities in some areas covered by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
It was his right to do so just as the law and the rules on election gave me all the rights to file a counter protest in areas where I also believe I was also a victim of similar circumstances which also affected the actual number of votes I obtained in the said election.
Since the said election was conducted manually, and as experience will tell us, the manual count and re-appreciation of the millions of manually prepared ballots from the various protested and counter protested precincts would take a long process and time to be resolved. And that is the reason why, since 2007 up to the present, the revision and the recounting of the manually prepared ballots are still proceeding at the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
While the esteemed protestant claimed that he had recovered substantial number of votes from the areas he protested, the records of the Senate Electoral Tribunal will also reveal that an equally substantial number of votes were recovered in my favor in the areas which I counter protested.
And as a result, the Senate Electoral Tribunal, in its July and August 2010 Resolutions, directed the completion of the 100% revision of all the ballots from the precincts I contested.
While my counter-protest is still pending before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the revision and recounting of the ballots are going on smoothly to find out the truth on the parties’ allegations, a number of highly suspect “personalities” suddenly cropped up recently, claiming that they were allegedly “witnesses” to the alleged frauds and irregularities during the 2007 elections.
Armed merely with their vocal chords and without any supporting documents to prove their allegations, these alleged witnesses are now shouting out loud and, as if with full orchestration, that my election was marred with irregularities.
My rival took advantage of this political situation. He and his supporters are now asking for my resignation as a duly elected Senator, despite the pendency of his election protest at the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
My political detractors began calling me ugly names and dragging the name of my family in entirety.
In other words, Mr. President, the trial by publicity has begun. The trial at the Senate Electoral Tribunal where this issue could have been properly ventilated and resolved has been practically set aside.
SA HARAP NG DIYOS AT SA HARAP NG TAO AY NAIS KONG PAGTIBAYIN NA HINDI AKO NANDAYA AT WALA AKONG KINAUSAP UPANG MANDAYA PARA SA AKIN SA HALALAN. Ang lahat ng akusasyon laban sa akin ay pawang walang katotohanan.
I DID NOT CHEAT NOR ASK ANYONE TO CHEAT FOR ME AND MY FAMILY. WE WOULD NEVER TOLERATE ANY FORM OF ELECTORAL FRAUD.
In my family’s almost 30 years of public service in Bukidnon, not once has our name been dragged in any election controversy, not once has an election protest ever been filed against us. This you can ask the people of Bukidnon.
I am not the only one who feels the hurt because of the personal attacks against me and my family. I could feel how my wife has had sleepless nights, my father, my mother, who has undergone two major brain operations and is now constantly suffering physically and emotionally, together with my siblings who have been hurt and affected by such unfounded and baseless accusations.
Kung ako lamang ang naka-darama ng masasakit na batikos at akusasyon, ay maaring makayanan ko pang dalhin.
Ngunit sa sandaling nakikita ko ang aking asawa, ang aking nagmamahal na magulang, at ang aking mga kapatid, kaibigan at mga kapanalig…damang dama ko rin ang kanilang pagdaramdam. Ang hapdi at pait na kanilang dinaranas dahilan sa mga walang basehang paratang laban sa aking pagkatao at bilang isang halal na Senador.
Mahal ko ang aking tungkulin bilang isang Senador at isang lingkod bayan o public servant. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit sa loob ng mahigit sa apat na taon kong paglilingkod dito sa Senado, ay aking maipagma-malaki ang mga nagawa ko upang tumbasan ang tiwala at pagkakataong ibinigay ng taong bayan sa akin upang ako ay makapag-lingkod sa ating bansa.
Isang paglilingkod na aking maipagma-malaki na walang bahid dungis. Hindi ako umabuso o nagpayaman sa aking katungkulan. Hindi ako nagkaroon ng maraming bodyguard o “back up” o gumamit ng anumang ‘wang wang’ kahit noong ako ay Kongresista pa lamang. Sa madaling salita, hindi pa man sinabi ng Pangulong Aquino ang sikat na salitang “Walang Wang-Wang”- iyan ay bahagi na ng aking panuntunan bilang isang lingkod bayan sa ating bansa.
I fulfilled my job responsibly with honesty, integrity and dignity, and I could proudly look in the eyes of every Filipino who put me in this position, that the trust and confidence they had given me were not put to naught.
Ngunit ang lahat ng ito, ang lahat ng aking ginawa at nais pa sanang gawin para sa ating taong bayan ay hindi ko na makakayanan pang gampanan.
Lubha na akong nasaktan, kasama ang sakit at hapding nadarama ng aking pamilya. At dahil dito, ang aking tungkulin bilang isang Senador ay lubha nang nadaramay at para bang nawawalang saysay.
I would be doing an injustice to my fellowmen and to this great and honored Institution if I continue working half-heartedly and without full concentration and devotion.
For this reason, I have directed my lawyers to make proper and immediate representation before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and convey my actuations today, with the end in view of expediting the proceedings and with the prayer that the Tribunal come up with a decision at the soonest possible time.
And in this August Chamber, 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
NO AMOUNT OF POWER, POSITION OR WEALTH IS WORTH SACRIFICING ONE’S HONOR AND INTEGRITY.
Sa bandang huli, ang legasiya ng isang tao ay hindi nasusukat kung gaano kataas ang posisyon ang kanyang narating o ang dami ng kanyang yaman na naipon, kungdi ito ay nasusukat sa kanyang pagpanatiling malinis at walang bahid dungis ang kanyang sariling dignidad at integridad.
The life of a public servant is, to say the least, hardly rosy and sweet. For we, as public officers, are always subject to public scrutiny.
I have always taken it upon myself, not to give-in to intrigues against my person and honor – to always keep on maintaining my focus on performing my duties well.
All these, I rehearsed. I was prepared. I was conditioned. During the past few days, however, God reminded me that no matter how much I insist on exclusively carrying the burden of my oath and duties, the truth is that I have a family that suffers with me together with the Senate as an Institution, whether I like it or not.
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.
They do not deserve to suffer the consequences of my position.
After all, I am a husband first before a Senator; and I am a father first before a legislator.
I believe that membership in the Senate and serving our people is the highest form of service that a citizen could give back to his country.
Having said this, I, thus, express my honest gratitude to the people and to the Senate and the secretariat and my staff for allowing me to experience the magnanimity of public service through my duties as a Senator.
My highest respect always remains in this Institution and to the men and women who serve it.
My career in this August Chamber had been a fabled journey that is certainly not wanting of memories. However, as much as I wish to remain in the service of my country, I will not do so, at the expense of my honor and integrity.
My Alma Mater’s, the University of the Philippines, dictum of “HONOR AND EXCELLENCE” is a principle that I have upheld and imbibed in all of my daily undertakings.
I now go to live in happiness and peace with my 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.
But let me just emphasize to my detractors, as I paraphrase a quote from General Douglas Macarthur that: I am not actually retreating; I am merely advancing in another direction.
And as I now pronounce my joining the civil society, it is my humble prayer that this Institution allow me to RESIGN WITH HONOR AND DIGNITY.
Marami pong Salamat. Pagpalain tayo ng Poong Maykapal…lalong lalo na ang ating Bansa at ang ating mga Kababayan.