Philippines senator takes seat after four-year delay

Juan Miguel Zubiri in the Philippines senate (3 Aug 2011)
Image caption Juan Miguel Zubiri resigned his seat in the Senate earlier this month

A Philippine election candidate has been declared the winner of a seat in the Senate, more than four years after the vote took place.

Aquilino Pimentel initially lost the race by a narrow margin, but after a long battle for a recount, a tribunal has finally declared him the winner.

He will be sworn into office on Friday, and take his Senate place soon after.

Unsurprisingly, the new senator says one of his first priorities will be to push for electoral reform.

Initial results from the 2007 election showed that Mr Pimentel had narrowly lost a seat in the Senate to Juan Miguel Zubiri.

But Mr Pimentel would not accept defeat. He claimed that the results were rigged in favour of candidates like Mr Zubiri, who were allies of then-President Gloria Arroyo.

Mr Zubiri denied any wrongdoing, and the case has been in stalemate for years. But last week, amid increasing accusations of corruption among Mrs Arroyo's team, Mr Zubiri decided to resign.

Just eight days later, after a time-consuming manual recount, a Senate tribunal has found that Mr Pimentel was the rightful winner after all.

He will now join the Senate to serve the remaining two years of the six-year term.

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