Senator Pimentel wants Lobregat to be senator PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 14:02

If only Senator Koko Pimentel had his way, he would want Mayor Celso Lobregat to be one of the country’s future senators from Mindanao.

Sen. Pimentel, president of Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino- Laban (PDP-Laban), told a news conference here Sunday that he had considered Lobregat’s name in the list of potential senatorial candidates from Mindanao.

“If this will not happen in 2013, maybe in 2016, if ever. But I will hold on my list of senatoriables from Mindanao. Among them is Mayor Lobregat,” Pimentel said, stressing that the aim to have more senators from Mindanao is his continuing quest.

Asked why he was all praises for the mayor, Pimentel said he and Lobregat are personal friends. “We are fellow Ateneans. In 2007, when I ran, one of the people I approached was Mayor Lobregat. He brought me to the Ateneo reunion. Actually, nanalo ako dito sa Zamboanga. This was one of the counter-protested areas. Then we met each other at the Mindanao Power Summit. We are not partymates, but we are personal friends.”

Incidentally, the senator advanced the information that the new secretary-general of PDP-Laban is Peping Cojuangco, who was a stalwart of Lobregat’s party, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP).

According to the senator, Lobregat’s striking performance was when he spoke before the Supreme Court en banc about the controversial memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) between the national government of the previous administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Sa MOA-AD, pinabilib ako ng inyong mayor in his oral argument sa Supreme Court. On the spot, tinawag s’ya…hindi naman s’ya abugado. But it turned out very well. He explained his position very well spontaneously,” Pimentel said of Lobregat.

“We have to give credit, where credit is due. I was surprised of the performance of a non-lawyer mayor before the Supreme Court. It was a spur of the moment, he was not prepared, but he did it very well. It was my first time to see,” he added.

For his part, Lobregat, who joined the press conference upon Pimentel’s invitation, barely mused at the senator’s hint for him to run for senator (if ever).

But he pointed out that the Pimentels and the Lobregats have a friendship that goes a long, long, long way.

“Our friendship is indeed personal and goes beyond politics,” the mayor said of the senator.

Prior to the press conference, Pimentel invited Lobregat to a one-on-one meeting regarding the new policy on Philhealth sharing. The press conference which was highlighted by the signing of memorandum of agreement between the senator Zamboanga City Medical Center Chief of Hospitals Dr. Romeo Ong for the grant of medial assistance for indigents, was attended by members of the PDP-Zamboanga Council chaired by Councilor Rommel Agan.

Like Lobregat, the senator is also batting for the retention of the old PhilHealth sponsorship policy. — Vic Larato