Excerpts from “Kapihan sa Senado”
On when he will decide:
Marcos: When the political situation to me is clear and I know what is going on and how things are going to run because right now, you don’t know what the main players are going to do. Hindi pa maliwanag. The only thing that is clear, I mean on the administration side, is our assumption that Secretary Mar will run although it seems to be that there is no formal announcement. On the opposition side naman, nagbago din. What was already a clear cut situation naging volatile at fluid ulit. You just go according to the developments that you see. The only hard deadline for all candidates is October.
On the political situation:
Marcos: Everything changed. On the administration side, the very high approval ratings of the President had gone down significantly. On the opposition side, VP Binay’s approval numbers/survey numbers have also diminished significantly. Other players have come into the picture, other team-up have been proposed…whereas before as I said, everything was clear. The administration, presumably, Mar Roxas vs VP Binay. Ngayon, hindi na.
On whether Sen. Grace Poe is one of the significant new players:
Marcos: Well, that’s one. One of many. It’s not as simple as that because even ‘yung mga party alliances are very significant.
On whether the other candidates are afraid of Sen. Grace Poe:
Marcos: Hindi sa kinakatakutan but of course we have to consider what she will end up doing and how. But she’s not the only consideration, there are many other candidates that are in the picture, that have to be considered.
On whether it is not too late for candidates running for national positions to prepare for their candidacy:
Marcos: If you are running for a national position, tuloy tuloy paghanda. National position siyempre magbabago slightly kung ano ‘yung position na ‘yung pero essentially, it all boils down to organizing at a national level so siguro hindi naman siguro maiiwanan kung sakali.
On whether NP is considering the idea of adopting Senator Poe:
Marcos: It’s an option to all parties, not only to NP, that’s why nga wala pa. Everybody’s talking to everyone, let me put it this way, but nobody has really made any definite arrangements thus far. Tinitingnan namin, pinag-usapan namin, we go around the table like how would you assess it, ikaw, anong opinion mo. Of course, all of these elements come into play. Napapag-usapan. Hopefully nga lahat para maging thorough and discussion.
On running for higher position vs seeking re-election:
Marcos: At this point, it’s not clear. My default setting has always been to run as a re-electionist. That has always been the past years, at the back of my mind. That has always been the way the planning goes. But as I have told you, with all these discussions, with all of these names being floated, mine included, I just keep my options open.
On Congressman Jonathan Cruz’ announcement that he would support Marcos if he runs for president:
Marcos: I thank him for that and that is always a valuable source of support and I think we will be in discussions with him and other advisers on the matter.
On whether results of surveys would have a major impact on his decision to run:
Marcos: Siyempre. It will be a factor but we have to analyse it. You just cannot be simplistic about surveys and just look at the numbers. We have to see about the trends, how the movements are…It’s a dynamic thing rather than a static thing. Yes, it’s part of the discussion but it’s not the only thing that matters.
Marcos: That’s not a discussion of the PDP-Laban and the NP. The discussion is not about Mayor Duterte or myself. No individuals, it’s really about the parties and how we can help each other. The discussion has only been what the parties can do if it is viable that we coalesce, align, be in partnership with, that kind of thing. It’s on the party level rather on individual candidates.
On whether there is a possible coalition between PDP-Laban and NP:
Marcos: There is a discussion as to what we can do together. If we will do it and how we will do it. We are planning to talk about it further.
On a Duterte-Marcos tandem:
Marcos: This is politics, everything is possible. I talk to Duterte every time I am in Davao or every time we are in the same place because we have known each other quite a while and I am happy to call him a friend. But not particularly about that. The last time we spoke, pinag-usapan namin ‘yung federalism, not the election.
On the description of a Duterte-Marcos tandem:
Marcos: I don’t know. It’s hard to describe something that doesn’t exist. I’ll leave it up to you. Mas mangling kayoing simulate sa akin. You can find the proper word to describe it. I think the fact that pinag-uusapan ‘yan means that it is viable, let’s put it that way. That it is viable. I think one of the reasons why it is being discussed is because it is viable. I leave it up to the political commentators to assess what that is all about
On the stage of the BBL substitute bill:
Marcos: I’m starting to make the list of possible amendments that the committee might want to introduce. So, that’s at the committee level first. Hindi naman siguro matatagalan but it will have to wait for the concurrence of the committee before I can report it out. So, what will happen, pagbalik namin ibibigay ko na lang sa kanila whatever it is, the substitute bill or a list of possible amendments, depending on how we decide to do it. Each of those amendments will have to be approved or disapproved by the committee.
Depending on how we decide to do it. A list of possible amendments. And each of those possible amendments, will have to be approved or disapproved by the committee before we bring it to the plenary. The committee report will have to wait as to what elements of the BBL we will keep, what we will amend and what language we will change. People do not seem to understand what is a substitute bill is because there is the impression na itinapon ang draft BBL and simulate ng bago. I just like to clarify that. And hinanap namin ito sa technical definition ng substitute bill. A substitute bill simply is a bill that contains proposal that were not contained in the original bill. The LP version that was forced to the ad hoc committee in the house is substitute bill as well because there are proposals in there that were not contained in the draft bill. So, that is the nature of the substitute bill. Kapag sinusulat mo iyong substitute bill, nandoon katabi ang original draft bill based on the Bangsamoro Basic Law draft as it was given by the palace to congress. Kung marami nang babaguhin, maraming language na ang magagamit, kaya maririnig mo din lagi na ‘according to syle’ kasi aayusin nman para maganda ang language but the basic elements are not going to change unless it is spelled that we have to change it.
On the provisions that 50% of the draft BBL will be changed from the original draft
Marcos: Hindi naman siguro 50 % but close to 50%.But I don’t think that we have to change half of it. You want to know what I would do, well, I am going to make a proposal to the committee and the committee members will have to approve it. The committee members, all there committees are all the senators , not including the SP, so 19 lahat na senators ang miyembro ng local government, peace and rreconciliation and Constitutional amendments.
When is the substitute bill ready for the approval of numbers?
Marcos: Pagbalik we will have it already. Ang plano ko, Kung matapos ako, after the SONA, papadalhan ko na sila ng kopya para mapag-aralan then right after that, susulat ako ng committee reports and I will sponsor the approved version of the committee.
On whether they can submit it before the end of July:
Marcos: Hindi, because we will have to approve the committee version first. Kaya nga plano ko bago kami bumalik, mapadalhan ko na ang mga committee members para mabasa na nila ito at malaman na nila kung ano ang gusto nilang idagdag, comments and pag-usapan.
On the proposal to amend the arm law as a substitute to BBL:
Marcos: It is always been on the table. Despite the fact that Chairman Iqbal pointed out that it is unacceptable, it is been proposed so we have to study it. The arm law if approved by the committee it will be a part of the substitute bill. That would be a proposed amendment. The substitute bill will contain all of the proposed amendments. And since they are so many of them and there are new proposals within the bill, it becomes a substitute bill.
On some of the proposals to be amended:
Marcos: Let us talk about the most contentious one, op in. I think that it is agreed among the senators to generally remove that. Also, the issue of contiguity, the issue of power sharing that would affect the financial and business community. Even the proposals in the draft BBL, apektado din hindi lamang ang bangsamoro kundi ang mga nakapalibot ditto like the mining industries and the fishing industries. Para naman hindi naman masabi na tinanggalan natin ng hanapbuhay ang mga hindi miyembro ng bangsamoro. All of the senators expressed interest on certain parts of the BBL. It will be a thorough discussion in the plenary.
On the areas on BBL that would be discussed in the plenary:
Marcos: Iyong constitutional ang alam kong mapapag-usapan talaga pero I wouldn’t be surprised kung mapunta ang usapan sa fiscal, taxation and monetary policies. And the role of the MNLF and Sultanate that will play. And the issues on business community and business environment. Even on the question of the courts kasi naidagdag not only the person of crimes kundi kasama na rin ang criminal now. They have the jurisdiction of that which is very confusing.
On setting aside other bills in order to concentrate fully on the deliberation of the BBL:
Marcos: That is a reasonable thing to do because there is an October deadline. Last time that we are allow to make decisions. On a related note, I just came from the PMPA Academy, nakausap ko ang mga pulis, and it came to light, many of the families of the SAF44, na wala sa benepisyo na ipinangako sa kanila at limang buwan na ito, ay hindi pa rin nila natatanggap. Lahat ng sinabi ng Pangulo na ibibigay ang the maximum possible amount, that we will bring justice to the SAF44, none of that has been done. Kaya ko pinag-uusapan dito ngayon, na hindi ko pababayaan ang SAF44 at dapat bigyan ng katarungan ng SAF44. Ang mga ipinangako, benepisyo, at scholarship, hindi ito hiningi ng pamilya ng SAF 44 kundi ito ay ipinangako ng ating Pangulo at ng pamahalaan. Hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin naibibigay ang kaisa isa nilang hinihingi na katarungan. Itinatanong nga nila na ano na ang nangyari sa katarungan na kanilang hinihingi, anong nangyari sa aming mga kapatid, sa aming ama. Ano na ang nangyari sa DOJ at sa ating pamahalaan na bibigyan ng hustisya? Isa pa sa kanilang tinatanong na kung ano na ang nangyari sa responsible sa pagkamatay ng SAF44 na si Gen. Purisima na hanggang ngayon ay four star general pa rin, as time goes on, siya ang nagiging hadlang sa pag appoint ng bagong PNP chief at bakit pinapabayaan ito. Biruin mo ba naman, sinagot ng palasyo na ‘leave Purisima alone’, why should we live Purisima alone? Sabi nga ng pangulo na Purisima ‘lied to me’. Why is he so special? Wala bang pananagutan na nagsinungaling sya? Sya ang nagdala ng SAF 44 sa kanilang kamatayan.
You know, I will not allow us to forget that we have not brought justice to those who have died. We have not given them what we have promised. I cannot in good conscience to stand by and let the issue fade away kasi we have not done our part to bring justice to the SAF44, to the SAF families and to those who are crying out for justice. Let us revisit this.
On the MILF statement that there will be no decommissioning process if the BBL will not be passed:
Marcos: We have to clarify this whole decommissioning process. If you remember there was testimony by the former generals saying that the decommissioning process should be made clearer, and I think that is a good suggestion. We will try to make it more definite so it is not dependent on events.
On the SAF 44 and the DOJ budget:
Marcos: Pwedeng i-raise yan. Siguro naman hindi aabot sa budget hearing dahil the budget hearing is towards the end of the year na. Mamasapano happened in January. Maghihintay sila bago isang taon? Sana hindi na umabot sa ganun, pero kung umabot, certainly we will raise it.
On Sen. Poe’s decision not to submit the Mamasapano report for plenary debates:
Marcos: That is her prerogative, if that is how she will handle it, but again, the members of the committees involved have already concurred that this is the version that we had approved and I was one of the signatories. Siguro ang mangyayari diyan, kung hindi niya ifo-forward sa committee, dadalhin na lang niya sa discussions ng BBL lalo na sa mga aspects ng coordination on police and military operations.
On the comment of a UP analyst that the non-passage of the BBL under the Aquino administration will be advantageous to the MILF:
Marcos: I do not see how that follows, because they can lobby now, there is nothing that they can do later that they can do now. Besides, what derives in the comprehensive agreement, what has come out from that is already the version that they want. Hindi na siguro nila pwedeng palitan. The draft BBL is already the agreed version, hindi ko alam kung meron silang gustong idagdag pa. I don’t really see how it follows that if it is not passed, it will allow them to get an even more advantageous agreement. The process will just continue even if it is not passed. The world does not stop at the end of a political term. Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang proseso ng kapayapaan, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang diskusyon tungkol sa BBL. We do not have to start from scratch, we can continue form the previous hearings, the findings in the previous congress.
On whether the next administration should still negotiate with the MILF:
Marcos: Absolutely. You cannot stop the peace process, you cannot stop negotiating, you cannot stop trying for peace. You cannot stop any of that, you have to continue because we cannot allow the fighting in the south to continue indefinitely. We have to continuously find ways to bring peace to Muslim Mindanao.
On whether he is willing to be Vice President Binay’s running mate:
Marcos: We do not talk that often with the Vice President. The last time we spoke was at an event where we were together. We have not spoken about that specific subject. I haven’t thought about it. If the offer is made, I will think about it but it has not been made.
On ranking 3rd in the latest Pulse Asia Survey:
Marcos: We have to look and see. I never look at surveys at face value, I always look at the methodology, the questions asked, the areas they went to, to analyze it. I haven’t had time to do that yet. I will have a better idea once we have looked at the full report.
On Sen. Grace Poe topping the surveys:
Marcos: Hindi naman siguro nakakagulat yun. I think we were expecting that more or less, that would be the result. We didn’t know what exactly the numbers would be but the trends in the past few months seem to indicate that that is what is going to happen. Again, to look at the numbers, you have to see what’s behind it.
On being Binay’s VP:
Marcos: How can I consider it, no offer has been made. Pag may nagsabi, iisipin ko pero sa ngayon, wala namang sinasabi. It is not something I am talking about simply because it does not exist. There is no offer, there have been no discussions, the only time that I hear about it is with you. Of course, I try to have an open mind about everything.
Sa NP, alam mo ang nangyayari diyan, pag nagsama-sama ang mga politico, hindi mo maiiwasan na nagse-scenario. Syempre napapag-usapan naming lahat yan. In fact, some of the most outrageous combinations and possibilities are being examined, kahit pabiro, ay napapag-usapan. So yes, we talk about everything, but we do not only talk about the presidency. May miyembro kami sa local, and that is as important to us as the other.
On whether the NP has decided to field a presidential candidate:
Marcos: Hindi pa. The last time we spoke was during the cruise. Ang napag-usapan, we will wait for the decision. We are all on recess, so we have not really been talking about these political things but like I said, and usapan, what will happen if so abnd so runs with this person, maganda ba yun, saan tayo? Kung ang line up ay maging ganito at ganito, paano?
On NP meeting during session break:
Marcos: Not as a party. Siguro the individuals like ‘yung mag-asawang Villar, nagkikita-kita kami, some advisers, members, we sit down. I’m sure, during the recess, at some point, after everybody has taken their break, we will sit down and talk about it again.
On the advice of Imelda Marcos:
Marcos: The same advice she has given me ever since I was three years old. She said that you should run for president. Of course my mother would want me to be as successful as possible in whatever career. That’s natural for a mother.
On the decommissioning process in the proposed BBL:
Marcos: There are phases. Wala sa BBL, nasa annexes. Hindi masyado nasunod ang decommissioning because ang dapat mauna ay ‘yung malalaking armas pero di nagawa at ngayon lang nagsimula. Medyo behind tayo sa schedule na nailagay sa annex.
On the MILF’s sincerity on the peace process:
Marcos: For the peace process to succeed, the MILF must be true partners in peace. That is why the issue on the justice on the fighters responsible for the killing of the 44 is still an issue that has not been resolved. Many issues have been put out as a condition for the continuation on the deliberations of the BBL. Hindi na nasunod ‘yung ganoong policy. The process of the decommissioning, the fact that it has started, is important. It’s an important symbolic act but we have to move on now to more substantive acts. 75 firearms out of estimated 10,000 fighters is a very small number but if it means the beginning of the process of decommissioning, that’s good. I was saddened that there were conditions placed on the process of decommissioning. We have to remember that the process of decommissioning is the centerpiece of this peace agreement because if there are no guns, there are no wars. Sana magtuloy-tuloy kahit small steps lang para magkaroon ng momentum sa confidence building that we are trying to achieve between the MILF and the government but also within the opinion of ordinary Filipinos because that is necessary for us to achieve.
On the assurance that the MILF will not purchase new weapons:
Marcos: Kailangan bantayan natin. There is an issue of the manufacture of weapons. That is something that we have to continuously verify.
On the last SONA of PNOY:
Marcos: I suppose he will summarize the achievements he felt he has made in the last five years and try to set the direction for continuing the process that he feels has begun. What the details will be, of course, I’m not privy to that. I’m sure the BBL will come up. I’m sure the corruption drive will come up.
On his performance as senator:
Marcos: I can say that I have learned a great deal. I managed to do some good work along the way. Kung ano ‘yung mga responsibilidad ko as senator ay natupad ko naman. Kung ano ang kaya kong maitulong sa taong-bayan ay aking nagawa. Yes, I can say, it is a fruitful five years.
On the Philippine baselines:
Marcos: Sa pagsulat ng baselines, mayroon tayong bagong konsepto na binigay sa UNCLOS. Ang konsepto noon ay archipelagic state. Ibig sabihin, kahit hindi dikit-dikit ang mga isla ng Pilipinas, ‘yung tubig sa gitna ng isla ng Pilipinas ay sakop na ng Philippine waters. Sa dami ng islands ng Pilipinas, hindi maliwanag saan natin pinapayagan dumaan ang mga ibang barko. The definition of the sea lanes will be very important dahil masasabi natin sa ating mga kaibigan, dito kayo dumaan dahil we will provide security, dagat namin ‘yan, you will pay for the services. It is similar to the arrangement that Singapore has with ships going to the Malacca Straits. Magiging maliwanag for all kinds of shipping, not only commercial but even the military.
Within the archipelago, etween the islands of the Philippines, wala naman overlapping claims. ‘Yung mga overlapping claims sa West Philippine Sea, nandiyan pa rin ‘yan. We will still have to resolve that. So, as far as the Philippines is concerned, eto ang definition ng sea lanes.
Kung walang conflicting claims siguro wala namang problema pero kung meron, ganoon pa rin ang sitwasyon. We still have to talk to China. We still have to find ways to resolve the diplomatic difficulties that we are now having with China.
On the Senate leadership and committee chairmanships upon resumption:
Marcos: I hope not because magkakagulo lang. It will really not help anything. It will waste the work that has been already done in the committees because we have to start again. I will continue to stand for what I believe in. I will make sure that it will not be railroaded. Gagawin ko ang tama. Hindi naman magbabago ‘yan.
On Senate President Drilon and the Executive:
Marcos: Of course, in consultation with the Executive, but again, he’s the Senate President, he presides over the Senate. So, I’m sure that his time in the Senate is one that is productive at hindi magulo. Knowing the Senate President, that will be his priority.