MANILA, September 19, 2012— A Catholic priest and anti-mining advocate lashed at former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri’s TV ad as an environmental action hero, saying the politician still has a lot to prove.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, Asian winner of this year’s Goldman Prize for environmental protection, said Zubiri has not performed enough when he was still a senator in terms of caring for the environment.
“Dapat kung talagang nagmamalasakit ka sa isyu na ito, noon pa man sa dami ng mga problema na dumating, e nasaan siya?” Gariguez told reporters.
The priest expressed doubts that Zubiri’s commercials are coming out in preparation for the forthcoming May 2013 elections.
“Hindi maalis yung pagdududa na ito ay isang kasangkapan lang para sa pampulitikong layunin at hindi ganun katotoo,” said Gariguez.
“Lalo’t higit malapit na ang eleksyon, marami na ang mga gimik diyan at ito ay maaaring isang bahagi ng gimik kasi hindi naman namin siya nakasama sa pagtindig sa isyu ng kalikasan,” he added.
For several months already, Zubiri has been coming out with TV commercials about his Pilipinas Ecowarriors, an organization promoting environmental protection.
During his stint as senator, Zubiri authored laws on environment, from renewable energy to wildlife protection, as well as led conservation efforts like the Deer Foundation and Katala Foundation in Palawan.
Gariguez, however, said the former legislator has many things to do on issues like mining and illegal logging.
He also said that unlike Senator Loren Legarda, Zubiri has not been known to advocate environmental issues during his term in the Senate until he resigned in August 2011.
“At least si Loren kahit paano may advocacy for climate change. Kung siya ang magkaroon ng environmental ads na yan, baka pwede mo pa paniwalaan kasi may ginawa na siya,” he said.
In the latest Pulse Asia survey, Legarda topped the senatorial poll with Zubiri also in the top 12.
The two are among those being eyed to be part of the senatorial lineup of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay and former president Joseph Estrada. [CBCPNews]