Koko scores detractor over reelection issue

SENATOR Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday slammed controversial lawyer Ferdinand Topacio who he said is known for feuding with public officials, colleagues in the legal community and members of the media.

Pimentel made the statement while denying that he has consulted with Topacio about the legal issues in his reelection bid.

Pimentel said that he would never solicit the views of a lawyer “better known for starting personal squabbles than winning legal battles.”

“There is no truth to Atty. Topacio’s statement that I consulted him about the legal issues surrounding my candidacy. I have never asked Atty. Topacio for any legal opinion in my entire life. There is a very short list of election lawyers I would consult regarding this matter, and he is not on it,” added the senator from Mindanao.

Earlier, Pimentel welcomed the filing of a disqualification case against him by Topacio at the Commission on Elections, saying that this development “will pave the way for this issue to be settled, so we can focus on the issues that really matter to our people.”

The senator noted the clashes of Topacio with former Presidential Management Staff Undersecretary Karen Jimeno, former Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, radio host Mo Twister, and Inquirer columnist Mon Tulfo.

Pimentel also disputed the legal arguments raised by Topacio against his reelection bid and said that the Constitution did not bar him from running in the May 2019 midterm polls.

“The Constitution, the law, and jurisprudence are on my side. Well-regarded legal minds known for their expertise in election law have likewise chimed in; they agree with my position: I can run for reelection.”