Reelectionist Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said Monday he remained thankful to the Hugpong ng Pagbabago and its founder and campaign manager, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte, amid the reports of his was exclusion from the sample ballot of the regional party.
“In spite of this development, I still want to thank the HNP and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara for allowing me to campaign with them for the past 90 days,” Pimentel said.
“God bless our country and our people,” added Pimentel who was among the 13 candidates endorsed by the HNP.
A sample ballot showing all HNP senatorial bets except Pimentel surfaced online, although its origin hadn’t been traced as of posting. There were reports that sample ballots from various districts in Davao City also excluded Pimentel’s name.
There were also instances in the past when the Davao mayor failed to mention the name of Pimentel, but she told the media that she merely forgot and it was not deliberate.
President Rodrigo Duterte also campaigned for the reelection bid of the former Senate president.
The Mindanaoan lawmaker is also the president of PDP-Laban, where the President sits as national chairman.
Pimentel and an ally of the Davao mayor, Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo, had been at odds with each other after the latter was expelled from the party for supposedly violating its rules.
Floirendo’s expulsion from the party was reportedly made upon the suggestion of his former ally but now fierce rival in the province, Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of PDP-Laban.
The Davao mayor also had a rift with Alvarez for calling her a part of the opposition when she formed a separate regional political party. There were reports that she was one of those behind Alvarez’s ouster as Speaker of the House.
Pimentel voted at 6:10 a.m. in his hometown in Cagayan de Oro. He said the computerized verification and the Voters Counting Machine in his precint worked. He said the receipt given was also accurate.
After waiting in line for almost two hours, reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara, accompanied by his wife Tootsy, was able to cast his vote at the Suklayin Elementary School in Baler, Aurora.
Another reelectionist, Senator Grace Poe, also waited for some minutes as the VCM in her precinct in San Juan malfunctioned.
Reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino cast his vote at Precinct No. 0225A in Concepcion South Central Elementary School in Concepcion, Tarlac, at 7 a.m. on May 13.
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima temporarily left her detention quarters at the PNP Custodian Center in Camp Crame to cast her vote at the polling precinct in Parañaque City, where she is a registered voter.
De Lima was allowed by the courts handling her drug cases to vote under police escort at the Polling Precinct No. 0648A in Saint Rita College, formerly Saint Rita School, in Parañaque City between 12 noon and 2 pm.
On April 30, Judge Liezel Aquiatan of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court, Branch 205, granted De Lima’s urgent motion for furlough allowing her to vote under the Commission on Elections’ “Escorted Detainee Voting System” on May 13.
But she was ordered, “to refrain from giving interviews before and after casting her vote.”
Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Villar said her wealth had nothing to do with leading the last surveys conducted by Pulse Asia and SWS.