SET Case No. 001-07 (AQUILINO L. PIMENTEL III, Protestant-Counter Protestee, versus JUAN MIGUEL F. ZUBIRI, Protestee-Counter Protestant)
Election Protest: In this Election Protest filed on 30 July 2007 against proclaimed senator-elect Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, Protestant Aquilino L. Pimentel III questioned the 14 May 2007 senatorial election results from a total of 2,658 electoral precincts located in the Mindanao region, to wit: Maguindanao (1,078 precincts), Lanao del Norte (496 precincts), Shariff Kabunsuan (291 precincts), Basilan (134 precincts), Sultan Kudarat (282 precincts), Lanao del Sur (161 precincts) and Sulu (216 precincts). In contrast, Protestee Zubiri assailed in his Counter-Protest the results in 73,265 precincts, including the 2,658 precincts subject of Pimentel’s protest.
After the revision and appreciation of the ballots and election documents from the contested areas of Protestant Pimentel III, the parties’ vote totals showed Pimentel III leading Zubiri by 258,166 votes.
Proceedings on the Counter Protest of Zubiri ensued. After completion of the revision and appreciation proceedings on his pilot areas, the Tribunal issued on 04 June 2010, Resolution No. 07-105, finding a prima facie valid cause to pursue further proceedings on the remaining protested precincts in the Counter Protest.
However, on 04 August 2011, while the proceedings on the remaining protested precincts in the Counter Protest was on-going, the Tribunal Secretariat received a letter from the Senate of the Philippines dated 03 August 2011, informing the Tribunal that Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri had resigned as Senator of the Philippines. On the same date, counsel for Zubiri filed a Manifestation and Motion, praying that the resignation of Zubiri be considered as voluntary withdrawal and/or abandonment of his Counter Protest.
Status: In its decision promulgated on 11 August 2011, the Tribunal declared Aquilino L. Pimentel III as the 12th duly elected Senator of the Philippines during the 14 May 2007 National and Local Elections. Resolution No. NBC 07-67 of the Commission on Elections En Banc, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, dated 14 July 2007, was annulled and set aside.