By Florence F. Hibionada
ILOILO CITY, PHILIPPINES – “No amount of power, position or wealth is worth sacrificing one’s honor and integrity.”
And then it was officially over for Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri who resigned from post Wednesday afternoon amidst charges of poll fraud. Said message, “tweet” really, was made within minutes of Zubiri’s public declaration in the Senate as networking sites and the main page of Yahoo news had “Breaking News Alert” of the announcement.
Numerous Ilonggo followers of Senator Zubiri simultaneously replied via said social networking site with similar reactions of shock, anger and grief.
City Councilor Roberto Divinagracia was among those reached for comment with news reaching him in the midst of the City Council’s session. Divinagracia is the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay Iloilo City Chapter with the City Liga among Zubiri’s favorite groups here.
“Very sad. The problem he faced on the charges of election fraud was the very reason why he was unable to make it here for the Molo Fiesta. He wanted to be here then when told that he was the guest of honor. But last minute, he had to cancel,” Councilor Divinagracia said. “Very sad for us all.”
Incidentally, Senator Zubiri is behind the P10 million rehabilitation and beautification works for the Jaro Plaza. With his resignation, the project is expected to be shelved.
Similar scenario feared in various Zubiri projects throughout Iloilo province.
To note, he is the only Senator to have worked on giving at least P1 million in projects for each of the 42 Iloilo towns and one component city of Passi.
Such, he then said, was his way of saying “thank you” to the Ilonggo voters who got him his Senate post. And it was one commitment he repeatedly came back here in Iloilo to deliver.
“In every major need of the Ilonggos, Senator Migz is with us always,” Board Member Jeneda Salcedo Orendain for her part said. “I’m deeply saddened of his resignation because he is one of the senators who stand before us.”
Board Member Orendain is the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Iloilo Province yet her connection with Zubiri goes beyond politics.
“He saved my life when I had an accident in Bukidnon last 2009. Yet nevertheless, I respect his decision,” Orendain said.
Incidentally, even the now controversial construction of the new City Hall building got a pledge from Senator Zubiri made with then Mayor Jerry Trenas.
Zubiri resigns from post with a track record to beat. From his perfect attendance in the Plenary Sessions during his term as Congressman and Senator, he is known to have helped the Senate come up with a “record-performance.”
He is also known as the “Father of Cooperative Code” alongside his accomplishment as principal author and sponsor of more than 20 major laws of the country. Among his remarkable works included the passage of Republic Act (RA) 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and RA 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006.
“The people knew how I struggled in order to land on the 12th slot of elected senators,” Zubiri then said in one of the earlier interviews granted to local reporters.