Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno belied Wednesday, July 21, the claim of President Rodrigo Duterte that late Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. was not recognized in the city.
“We know deep in our hearts how we love Senator Nene,” the local chief executive said in Malacanang press briefing.
Moreno admitted that they were hurt by Duterte’s statement against Pimentel.
“I would view the statement of the President as ano na, iyong season, political season na. And iyon lang, medyo masakit lang dinamay si Nene,” he said.
He said it would be a “fair game” if Duterte’s claim was only directed to Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III since he could defend himself.
“Pero people here in Cagayan de Oro know the kind of person Nene Pimentel was. Alam mo, karamihan ng mga local leaders na napunta sa Manila as senator ay focused pa rin sa local politics dahil iyan ang bailiwick nila. But that was not Senator Nene. When he became senator, he focused on the issues of the country; hindi na on local politics,” Moreno said.
“So, I’m sure the President did not mean that, siguro kay Senator Koko, I would say Senator Koko can defend himself but not in the case of Senator Nene,” he added.
Duterte earlier said that the Pimentels were not known in Cagayan de Oro City and they could not win there even for a barangay captain race.
He also said that the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) was just a “father and son party,” which had been sleeping for a hundred years until he joined the group when he ran and won in the 2016 presidential race.
The late Pimentel founded PDP-Laban, which is currently divided into two factions – one led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and the other headed by Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Duterte is supporting Cusi’s camp while the younger Pimentel is backing Pacquiao’s faction.