MANILA,  JUNE 12, 2004
By Jose Rodel Clapano  -  Do girls really have more fun?

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. threw back at Senator-elect Miriam Defensor-Santiago yesterday her challenge for him to write a memoir of his "sex life during his younger days" instead of tying up the congressional canvass with long-winded speeches.

"She should go ahead with writing her own memoirs on her sexual activities. The sex life of women is inherently more interesting than the sex life of men. Kidding aside, we can talk about sex later because my attention is now focused 100 percent on politics in the country and how to do away with its excesses," he said.

At a press conference on Thursday, Santiago challenged Pimentel to "just start writing his memoirs, and devote a chapter on his sex life during his younger days. I suppose that would be interesting based on his actuations as a statesman now."

In colorful language, she warned Pimentel that his attempts to delay the canvass through filibustering might be considered unconstitutional if it prevents the winners in the presidential and vice presidential elections from being proclaimed by June 30, when the terms of incumbent officials expire.

"Filibustering during canvassing is illegal, undemocratic, and could be unconstitutional and subject to contempt," she said.

But Pimentel said he only wants to ensure that Congress canvasses the votes without disregarding evidence of fraud.

He said it is more important for the mandate of the new president to be free from doubt.

"Whoever has won the mandate of the people will unify the people and restore calm in a country long mired in conflict and restiveness," he said.

Pimentel saw Santiago’s "irrelevant and pointless" statement as another attempt by his detractors to discredit him.

Pimentel was critical even of Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, who like Santiago had expressed his exasperation at the slow canvass.

"Perhaps the good archbishop should reconsider his policy not to involve himself in political affairs if he is disappointed with the ways of politics in the country," he said.

But Pimentel had kind words for House Deputy Speaker Raul Gonzales and Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan, co-chair of the 22-man joint committee.

He praised them for allowing the opposition to gain access to the statement of votes (SOVs) for Aurora, which were missing from the provincial certificates of canvass submitted to Congress.

"After a little argument, they gave way and the SOVs were put on the table for us to have access to. Therefore we are happy with that and the ruling that any missing electoral paper that needs to be produced will be produced and will be canvassed later if necessary," he said.

Pimentel said that this was a good way to smoothen the differences between the administration and the opposition and to speed up the canvass.

"That is all we want from them, to explain their inability to produce some documents and if their explanation is good, we will go along with the explanation," he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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