George Costanza: They forgot my bread.
Jerry: [under his breath] Just forget it. Let it go.
George Costanza: Um, excuse me, I – I think you forgot my bread.
Soup Nazi: Bread? $2 extra.
George Costanza: $2? But everyone in front of me got free bread.
Soup Nazi: You want bread?
George Costanza: Yes, please.
Soup Nazi: $3!!
George Costanza: What?
Soup Nazi: No soup for you!!!
Soup Nazi: [cashier takes George's soup and gives him back his money]
So Senator Koko Pimentel finally declared that he is leaving the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). Of course as everyone knows, his reason for leaving UNA is because of his vehement objection against the inclusion of former Senator Migz Zubiri in the UNA slate of Senatorial candidates, whom he accuses of having cheated him in the 2007 Senatorial elections. Perhaps, very much like George Costanza of the sitcom “Seinfeld”, Sen. Pimentel feels he is being unfairly treated by the UNA leadership party “Soup Nazis”. Why should the coalition leadership not give in to his demand which he feels is only right and just? Well, unfortunately for Pimentel, the world does not revolve around him nor is it fair all the time.
Many observers seem split about how they see Sen. Pimentel. One side praises him for taking a principled stand while another side criticizes him for being too selfish, personal and vindictive. I am inclined to join the latter side. When Sen. Pimentel said that: “I can’t run… to be with the person who deprived me of four years as Senator. It’s that simple.”, to me that pretty much erased all his pretentions of looking after the interest of the Filipino people, particularly his constituents – the people of Mindanao. How can he be expected to rise above politics if he cannot even show that he can set aside emotions and anger for the welfare of the people of Mindanao? This is a marvelous opportunity for Mindanao to have more representation in the Senate as they are reeling from a lot of problems such as power crisis and terrorism. His nemesis, former Sen. Zubiri, may have been identified with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s (GMA) circle of allies but as far as his record shows, he seems to have been impressive during his stint.
I don’t even see a big compelling argument coming from Sen. Pimentel. He asserted that he became part of UNA first while Zubiri was part of GMA’s party. So for Pimentel, it should be just right that his side gets favored by the UNA. Pimentel claimed that he was being driven away at UNA despite the fact that he was the first in UNA’s list and it was he who announced the formation of the coalition. Well, that certainly sounds childish to me and it is as if he is calling for “first dibs”! If this whole drama were only a sitcom, it can very much pass as a Seinfeld script as Jerry Seinfeld noted in his book:
“Kids could always resolve any dispute by calling it. One of them will say, “I got the front seat.” “I want the front seat.” “I called it.” And the other kid has no recourse. “He called it, what can I do?” If there was a kid court of law it holds up. “You Honor, my client did ask for the front seat.” The judge says, “Did he call it?” “Well, no, he didn’t call it…” He bangs the gavel. “Objection overruled. He has to call it. Case closed!”
So what’s next for Sen. Pimentel after bolting UNA? To engage Zubiri into a battle of “You are! Am not! Are so!! Am not! Are so!!!”?
The thing is, even if we grant that Sen. Pimentel accuses Zubiri of having cheated him in the 2007 elections, he doesn’t appear to have any solid evidence for the accusation. Pimentel himself said that: “If evidence crops up in the [alleged fraud in the 2007 elections], this do not mean I will not file a case against him. I’m also a lawyer and I want to achieve justice in my lifetime.” Well then, doesn’t this imply that he really does not have any evidence against Zubiri? More to the point, Zubiri was not even tried nor convicted for such a crime and yet we have Pimentel hollering how big a cheater Zubiri is. Of course Zubiri may have convinced the UNA leadership of his innocence but in spite of this, Pimentel would not listen and would rather remain vindictive. If only the “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” argument could have convinced the UNA leadership, perhaps Pimentel may have gotten his way.
So now Sen. Pimentel decided to leave UNA yet he remains hopeful that the UNA would still endorse him. Unfortunately for him, Sen. Enrile avers that Sen. Pimentel has effectively resigned from UNA so UNA won’t be able to certify him as a candidate for the Senate. So that’s too bad for Pimentel, I suppose. As the Soup Nazi would probably say to him, “No Soup for You!!!”.