True Colors (On Sen. Koko Pimentel’s Decision to Quit UNA)

Senator Koko Pimentel declined UNA’s offer to include him in its coalition senatorial slate alongside another candidate (Migs Zubiri). He said he wanted to campaign in 2013 with a “happy heart”, something that he can’t do under UNA because he would have to watch every word that comes out of his mouth, lest he hurts a teammate.

Politicos may think that Koko is just being “OA” in dumping UNA. PDP-LABAN is the coalition partner of UNA, and Koko is PDP-LABAN’s president. UNA is being steered by a leadership triad: former President Joseph Estrada, VP Jejomar Binay who is chairman emeritus of PDP-LABAN, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Now you have a scenario wherein the president of a party coalesced with Erap’s PMP will not be running under this same coalition.

I’ve gotten to know Senator Koko when we co-anchored “Bantay OFW” at DZXL. During breaks, we would talk about his experience when fighting for the integrity of votes cast in his favor in 2007. There was a time, he admitted, that he had to let go of the services of lawyer-friends who were helping him because he couldn’t afford to pay them. Buti na lang abogado din si Koko at topnotcher pa. He pursued his electoral protest and never gave up despite offers for him to run in 2010.

Mahirap nga naman na lunukin na lang basta ang prinsipyo pagkatapos ng kanyang mahabang pinagdaanan para ipaglaban ito. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na masamang tao din si Migs. Ibig sabihin lang na nagpapakatotoo si Koko sa kanyang sarili.

It is very rare in politics for a man to show his true colors. Now that Koko has made his decision, he can now face the electorate knowing that he remained true to himself. His story as a champion of electoral integrity is complete and authentic. Under UNA, that story would have been riddled with doubt.

My hope is that Koko’s personal integrity as a man and as a leader will inspire young people around us to stay true to their principles despite pressures to conform with what and how others think. With this decision out of the way, Kuya Koko can now share his story of an idealist who never gave up despite the odds with people overwhelmed by their own struggles in life. If only for that, he had already won though the elections have yet to take place.

To underscore that point, let me share with you Cindy Lauper’s music video of her original composition, “True Colors”.

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

Share This Post On
  • juan_liwanag

    It is about time, we, the electorate in the Philippines show to the politicians how much we value integrity. Given the current roster of legislators in the Senate, it is as if the Philippines does not have close to 100 million people. It is as if we have no choice, given the multiplicity of same family member occupiers of the Senate. It as if we could not elect proper leaders if they don’t have so much money and resources. It is time we vote for a different Philippines – one that we could truly be proud of!