Ambush interview at Sarangani

SBBM: The Bangsamoro Basic Law ay walang pag-asa ng pumasa sa House of Representatives o sa Senado. Ngunit, hindi namin ibinalewala at kami ay gumawa ng kapalit na itinatawag na substitute bill na ang tawag namin ay ang Basic Law on Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. So iyun na ngayon ang tinatalakay ng Senado at may sariling version din ang House of Representatives. So iyun ang aming tuloy-tuloy na dinideliberate. Kakatapos lang naming ng budget, pagbalik namin sa Lunes, babalikan na namin ulit iyung usapan tungkol sa Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Q: How many are going to interpellate?

SBBM: Pabawas na ng pabawas because we are trying to consolidate iyung mga questions kasi kung minsan pulit-ulit din iyung parehong tanong sa bawat senador. So nagusap-usap na kami. Si Senator Enrile pa yata ang mag-iinterpellate. Itutuloy niya iyung interpellation niya. I don’t know if Senator Miriam, sabi niya sa akin may balak siyang mag-interpellate. So isa pa iyun. I don’t know kung si Senator Sotto ay mayroon pang tanong kasi hindi niya halos natapos kasi nauna si Senator Enrile. Pero palagay ko sandali na lang iyan.

Q: December 16?

SBBM: I don’t know about December 16. I think we might still manage to. Gipit naman talaga.

Q: After the budget di’ba napag-usapan…

SBBM: Yes but hindi naman kailangan, isa-isa lang naman iyan. Kung pagmamasdan niyo iyung session namin, marami subjects kaming na nagagawa. One of them would be the continuation of the Basic Law.

Q: But it’s not moving in the House.

SBBM: Maybe you could speak to some of our congressmen and ask them what is happening. Yes, you’re right. It’s not moving in the House.

Q: So if it’s not moving in the House, you cannot come up with…

SBBM: Unless they have a version we cannot have a bicameral conference.

Q: Or they adopt your version?

SBBM: Or they adopt our version. That’s another way.

Q: That version is reducing the future possible in your local government unit.

SBBM: No. My God, no. Basahin niyong mabuti. There are many powers that are granted into the Bangsamoro Autonomous Government that are not even to the local government. There are many, many, many, many functions and powers that are given to the Bangsamoro Government that the local governments do not have. It is technically sa local government, but it’s completely different from all other local governments. Kaya nagagamit iyung salitang “asymmetric”. Hindi sila pareho sa ibang local governments.

Q: Pero iyung mga gustong ipasok po na mga amendments, kasi sa bicameral ipapasok, some of the provisions that the government panel and the MILF panel want back, that will not be in the period of amendments or the period of the bicameral?

SBBM: I’m sure they will make their suggestions known to us. That discussion will be between the legislators. I think we have given sufficient opportunity to government panel and MILF panel to say their piece out of the many, many, many hearings that we’ve conducted in the House and we’ve conducted in the Senate. So, now it’s time. Kung sinasabi nila iyung version na ito ay kulang ito, dagdagan natin iyan o tanggalin ito, syempore papakinggan namin. But we still have to stay close to the version that we will have passed both in the Senate and in the House.

Q: If it’s not going to pass by December 16, wala na kasi 8 sessions days na lang kayo next year.

SBBM: Yes you’re right. Baka pagbalik. Pwede pa naman. After the election.

Q: Mamasapano yung topic.

SBBM: Not necessarily. That’s another thing that will probably come out in the next.

Q: Enrile wants it back, di’ba?

SBBM: He wants it back. The Rules Committee has decided that it will be voted upon by the members. So, we’ll see hot that all goes. Wala pa kaming estimate. Wala pa kaming stronghold. But in any case, yes clearly because you have to remember that the BBL, the original draft BBL was supposed to have been given to us in April. It was eventually given to us in September. So, that’s already a 6 month delay. Then, Mamasapano happened in January. So, another 8 to 8 weeks dahil sa deliberations doon sa imbestigasyon. So we are already talking about 8 months delay. Kaya naman tayo gipit sa oras.

Q: Last na lang po. Kasi kahapon, may joint statement si Professor Chair Coronel-Ferrer and Iqbal urging legislators to pass the law na kasi kumbaga it’s overdue.

SBBM: Again, yes, I understand their concern. We are doing it as quickly as we can. In the Senate, I really believe that we will be able to pass the version. I cannot speak for my colleagues in the House.

Q: By December 16?

SBBM: At least in the Senate my pag-asa. Hindi ko alam ang sitwasyon sa House. Iba iyung kanilang mga agenda.

Q: Last na lang. Si Senator Enrile did he say na, kasi nasa Article 23 pa lang po siya. May 17 articles.

SBBM: Oo nga kaya pinakiusapan namin kasi talagang tinitiris niya, you know the fine lawyer that he is. Sabi niya puede naman niya condense ng kaunti iyung kanyang interpellation.

Q: So he will require 3 days?

SBBM: I don’t know how many days he will require pero sabi niya kaunti na lang daw. It’s too important naman to rush. If he has concerns, if he wants to clarify it, he has every right to ask and to be clarified for his questions to be answered. These are not trivial questions. These are extremely important questions. The process must be respected.

SBBM: I have been coming to see the Mayor to ask for his endorsement and his support. But that was on the basis that he wasn’t running. Kaya naman siguro pare-pareho naman tayong nagulat na nag-announce siya na tatakbo siya. So nagbago lahat ng sitwasyon. I guess ganyan ang Philippine politics. That just goes down and brings us back to the fundamental principle that the people will be the ones to decide kung sino ba ang uupo sa anong posisyon. I think this development is a good one for the Philippines simply because dumadami ang choice para sa pagkapangulo. Kung titignan natin ang mga iba’t-ibang kandidato, maliwanag na ibang-iba ang kanilang mga nagiging plataporma. Kaya’t maganda na maraming pagpipilian ang mga Pilipino at sila ang maghuhusga kung sino ba and dapat talagang umupo sa mga matataas na posisyon sa ating pamahalaan.

Q: Hindi po ba kayo Sir nanghihinayang sa tandem?

SBBM: That’s politics. Hindi naman iyun masyado ang aking iniisip. Ang aking assumption nga ay iyung sinasabi ni Mayor Duterte na hindi siya tatakbo so sabi ko, kung ganoon hihingin ko ang suporta mo. Nagbago lahat. Kaya’t nagbago lahat.

Q: Do you feel that your chances of winning as VP has been diminished because hindi naman dahil hindi ka niya ineendorso but hindi ka niya tinandeman?

SBBM: Hindi naman. He’s running for President. Kung sa pagtakbo niya, kukuha siya ng suporta, kukuha siya sa ibang presidential candidate. Hindi siya kukuha ng boto sa vice-presidential candidate. So, no. the simple answer is, I don’t feel my chances for the vice-presidency have been diminished or changed.

SBBM: Ang mga namumuno ang nag-uutos kung ano ang gagawin, kung hindi, nagtatanong at nakikipag-ugnay. This is government at work and again, I congratulate the Governor and the provincial government of Sarangani for this very democratic initiative. I hope it is an example that will be followed by others.

Q: Sir, pwedeng humingi ng greetings po para sa ating mga tao po?

SBBM: Nais ko lang batiin, sayang at napakabilis lamang ng aking pagbisita ngayong araw na ito. Ngunit, hindi naman siguro ito iyung magiging huli at makakabalik po tayo para mas maraming mapuntahan, mas maraming makausap. Para nga malaman kung ano ba talagang sitwasyon dito sa inyong probinsiya, sa isla ng Mindanao at para naman mabigyan natin ng pansin kung ano man ang lahat ng pangangailangan ng tiga Sarangani.

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