Zubiri lost his cool after he recalled Trillanes’ remarks in a television interview earlier in the day that he and Senator Richard Gordon wanted to lead the Senate probe on the bribery allegation involving Chinese businessman Jack Lam because they want to “whitewash” the issue.
“Never in my nine years as House member and four years as member of this august chamber have I have been accused of whitewashing, stalling, stopping any sort of investigation. Mine was merely raising the rules. How dare people say that we are the defenders of the faith!” he said.
Zubiri said that while he’s known as an amiable person, he is not one to back down from a fight.
“I did not become world champion in arnis for nothing. If you want to fight, tell me how you want to fight. Say it in front of my face, don’t say it in the media. Come out here, say it! But to accuse me of whitewashing, ay hindi tama yan,” he roared.
In response, Trillanes said Zubiri cannot claim to have an untainted record because he has been implicated in cheating in the 2007 midterm elections.
The controversy prompted Zubiri to resign later on.
“In physics as they say if there’s an action, there is a counter reaction and that’s what happened. They blocked the referral to my committee and therefore they should expect me to react on the matter. And I’m glad that the gentlemen took offense because the statement was meant to be offensive. So at least he feels something,” Trillanes said.
“If you want to declare war then you should be prepared to have war and this representation will not back down to people like the senator from Bukidnon,” he added.
Zubiri shot back by saying he never cheated and insisting that any poll fraud committed in 2007 was the handiwork of some people “on behalf of the Team Unity.”
“There were no cases were filed against us 12 (who won in that polls). Why accuse only myself on that particular issue? The gentleman was also accused of rebellion and treason. He’s only lucky that the former president pardoned him,” he said.
Rather than apologize, Trillanes stood his ground while acknowledging the fact that he was indeed accused of rebellion in the past.
“And I’m proud of it. I believe it’s one of the shining moments in my life. So it’s a badge of honor. Thank you,” he said.
The two senators eventually agreed to strike their heated exchange of “unparliamentary language” off the record.
CTTO Duterte Federalismo