Press conference: Dagupan City
BBM: We are very, very close to finalizing my positioning, my campaign in the 2016 elections. They are not yet finalized now because the discussions involve not only myself but also the members of the Nationalista party. I do not want to pre-empt anything, any decisions that the party will be making. Ang desisyon naman talaga kapag national election, kapag national na kampanya, always involves discussions with the party. Dahil hindi ka naman makatakbo ng national ng walang dalang partido. So it’s very important that the parties are also involved in the discussions so that’s why since we have not finalized the Nationalista Party hasn’t finalized its position for the 2016 election then my place amongst the party members is also something that we are not yet ready to announce so I have to ask for your patience. Pero, I can promise you this. Malapit na. Malapit na. Ano na ba ngayon, 27?
Q: Balita ko bukas raw magdedeclare kayo?
BBM: Marami rin akong balita. Balita ko nga ngayon. Balita ko’y kahapon. Balita ko bukas. Balita ko, puro balita. Hindi galing sa akin.
Q: when are you going to make the decision? Because the filing is October starts October 12?
BBM: Yes I know that’s why we are quite aware of the dates that are involved. That’s why, as I said, presently on discussions amongst different groups, different individuals, but again we have not yet finalized how we are going to, what we are going to do in the next elections.
Q: Sir, (inaudible)
BBM: Sinong nangunguna saan?
BBM: No you’re asking me sa tatlo sa amin sino nangunguna, what do you mean by nangunguna?
Q: No Sir I mean sa…
BBM: Hindi naman ako… We are still hoping that the party will choose one and I think that’s probably the best situation for us dahil mahirap naman maghati hati ang partida. I would rather prefer that we are united. That is the strength of the Nacionalista Party. As I said before. It is not the biggest party, but it is the most cohesive one. And I hope to keep it that way. That again is the decision that the party leader and the members will have to make.
Q: Sir kung sino man Sir iyong hindi mapili, hindi naman aalis sa NP?
BBM: You’ll have to ask them, I cannot answer for them.
Q: Kayo po hindi?
BBM: Ako I don’t have any intention. I would rather, talaga siyempre, kagaya ng sabi ko, hindi ka makatakbo sa national kung walang, ng walang partido. So, my party has been (3:48) since 2009 has been the Nacionalista Party.
Q: Sir so definitely po you are running for a higher position?
BBM: Well sa ngayon, iyon ang pinag-uusapan. The Senate is still remains of course, still remains an option. I might still take up that option. But right now we are talking about higher position.
Q: Sir you’re close to finalizing mga ilang percent na po iyong for a higher position?
BBM: I do not understand the question about percent. it’s not a question of percent. You know, when people say percent ibig sabihin may pinagtutunguhan. If that’s what you want to do, then just do it. Ba’t percent percent pa? So that’s right. It’s just really trying to determine. Don’t worry I’ll get to you. I’ll answer all your questions. I’m not going to leave here until you are completely answered. All the different elements pinag-aaralan ko. Ano ba talaga, sino tatakbo nito, sino-sino sasama sa atin. So as you can see this is an unusual election. Dahil kahit yung administrasyon hindi pa buo. Wala pang… Tapos yesterday nagrally na, so whatever you want to call it, march, si Mayor Duterte another undetermined variable iyon. So it’s really coming down to. Yes sorry I didn’t mean to.
Q: So how will be party choose its candidates for higher office?
BBM: We make call on but I think what we’ll probably do is just call on a meeting of the membership. I don’t know if we will take a vote. But again this would seem to be the most, yeah I could say equitable democratic way to determine, so.
BBM: I don’t know. You ask our President first because I have been in touch with Senator Manny Villar. Of course we are constantly in touch. So far we have been, we are still trying to see, if we are going to (6:12…) but we haven’t decided yet.
Q: Sir you keep on mentioning the NP, Nacionalista Party. How about your former party KBL?
BBM: I belong to the Nacionalista Party.
Q: Your father belongs to KBL?
BBM: My father created the KBL. But the KBL has not, if you remember I have not been a member of the KBL for a long time. At some point the leadership separated with… That’s why I ended up with Nacionalista.
Q: Sir can I get your reaction about the issues coming out now because it is September and it is the Martial Law month. Marami pong lumalabas ngayon na issues about those things. May I get your reaction and if ever na, kasi may mga negative, meron ding positive. Paano niyo po ita-try anuhin iyong mga negative issues na lumalabas Sir?
BBM: Well that’s not surprising but this has been the same thing that we have been hearing for 30 years. So again if I have to answer it, I will answer it but it doesn’t really matter to me in the sense that there’s nothing new to be said. They ask the same questions, I have the same answer. So I will continue to do the same thing. The questions about that time, if I can answer it, I will answer it. But I think what the country really needs is a plan for the future. Not a discussion of the past. The past is done. It’s finished. Now what, diba? Tapos na iyon. Nangyari na iyon. And in fact the government fell. So now, we are here 30 years on. We need to move on and be discussing more what the problems are that we have today. What has happened since 1986? Pag-usapan natin iyon. They want to examine the record. Then fine let’s examine the records since 1986 and see how it compares. Again, ang mga Pilipino kung tatanungin mo sila, ano pinoproblema nila, ano iniisip nila? Drugs, prices, trabaho, corruption. Iyon parin ang kanilang iniisip so iyon ang dapat natin bigyan ng pansin.
Q: In looking at the future Senator.
BBM: Yes, well there is one part that, there has been a rise in the push for Federalism. So yes that’s something that we need to discuss. But it is clear that it will not happen in this administration. Because this administration has always put out a policy that they will not touch the Constitution.
Q: But your advocacy of Federalism would that help you in your…
BBM: I am not a particular advocate for Federalism. I am in agree. I think that Federalism is a system of government that we should study and it is something that might provide some of the answers but I have not campaigned for Federalism. It’s been Mayor Duterte who has campaigned for Federalism. So, as a matter of fact, that is going to be part of the discussion for this election but again it is not going to happen until after, in the next administration if ever.
Q: Sir, do you feel and believe that yung Solid North na sinasabi natin especially for candidates seeking elective positions in national ay solid parin up to now? Para sainyo.
BBM: It depends on the candidate. I think the experience of the 2010 elections parang na solid ulit iyong Solid North na matagal ng hindi I think that we were able to bring back that old, we were able to unify once again the Ilocanos to show that there is still Solid North.
Q: So Sir you think Sir…
BBM: I’ll put it this way. I don’t want. You don’t assume anything especially pag election. So I’m not assuming anything, I’m not counting on anything. I will work hard to gain the Ilocano vote. Especially for me as a national candidate, the Ilocano vote has a very important point of support. One of the lessons one learns in national politics is mahirap manalo ng national position na wala kang balwarte. Wala naman akong ibang panggagalingan kundi sa norte.
Q: Sir what you say Senator that the result of the senatorial elections where you ran and won an indication of how strong or how weak the Ilocano vote?
BBM: Yes. Exactly right. That’s exactly what I mean. Kasi for a while wala na iyong Ilocano vote. Hindi nag-unify ang Ilocano behind any candidate. Pero nung 2010 naramdaman natin na nagkaroon ng unity ulit yung ilocanos. That was an important part of my campaign in 2010.
Q: Please tell us about the result about the…
BBM: Exactly. The result indicates that we were able to unify once again the Ilocano vote in 2010. I am hoping to go back. Well you know we always talk about Northern Luzon. Iyong Ilocano nagkalat na. Hindi lang Northern Luzon so but we talk about the Ilocano vote. So we’re hoping to again ask and get the support of Ilocanos. But of course the Philippines does not comprise only of Ilocos. It is comprised of many places so that will just be the beginning. We will have to go and get the support from everyone else there.
Q: Sir if ever po you will be the running mate of Vice-President Binay, Sir how would you feel about being closely working with somebody who worked with your family?
BBM: Maybe you should ask him that. Because he was the one who first made the proposal that I run with him, so I suppose we return to the expression that “Politics makes for strange bedfellow that instance would be a perfect example.
Q: Sir between Poe, Mayor Duterte and Vice Binay, sino Sir ang loves niyo?
BBM: Let’s wait. You know it’s not fair to all of those that we’re talking to, to be making pronouncements na hindi pa namin napagdesisyunan. I don’t want to talk out of…
Q: Sir Senator facebook po is flooded with from your supporters na mag run po kayo for president. What can you say po doon sa supporters ninyo?
BBM: Well, what else. What else can I say but it is very heartening. Lagi naman siyempre na may ganyang klaseng suporta. May ganyang klaseng tiwala ang tao para sa akin. So of course I take that into account. That is something that, kasama iyon sa usapan. Siyempre, maraming nagsasabing ganito, iyong iba nagsasabi ganito gawin mo. It’s good to know that’s why pinag-uusapan natin ang support. At least meron diyan, may basis pag sinasabing may supporta. That is something that I am very grateful for. And of course it is something that we talk about and is included in the discussions. We’re trying to assess what is the best thing to do for you…
Q: Thank you sir. Sir between po your father and your mother, kanino po kayo nagmana? Intelligence o charm?
BBM: You know you shouldn’t ask me that you should ask other people dahil mahirap maghusga sa sarili. I don’t know. I don’t know kasi alam mo ang totoo noong bata ako ang sinasabi I’m more like my mother. Habang tumatanda ako sinasabi I’m more like my father. That’s not me. That’s other people telling me. I suppose, malalapit sa amin. So I guess it’s an evolving thing.
Q: You mean Sir your father’s charm, intelligence…
BBM: I don’t know, it’s just. I don’t really think about it very hard. All I know is when people say like when I was younger say you’re like your mother. Now I’m a little older they say you remind us of your father, so I guess nagbago rin, I don’t know. Nandito na ako sa pulitika kaya I’m taking after some of the things, I don’t know. Again, it’s not really. Again, You have to make that judgement. It’s impossible for me to make that judgement. Dahil, I don’t watch myself.
Q: Sir, ay pera daw sa BBL kung sakaling makapasa?
BBM: May pera saan?
BBM: Sino? Saan galing? Kanino? Pera para kanino? Para sa Bangsamoro may malaking pera.
Q: May sinulat kasi si Carmen, columnist. May lumapit daw sakanyang banker. Ang sabi raw ng banker, may contact ba tayo kay President Aquino kasi that’s money in BBL sabi raw niya. Sabi raw ng banker kay…
BBM: I’m sorry I don’t know anything about that.
Q: Marami ng…
BBM: All I know is that naging issue sa Malaysia yung pera na ginamit para pagkampanya sa BBL. Iyon lang alam ko tapos yung Chinese na nahuli na sinasabi, pero palagay ko di naman totoo iyon. So, I don’t know. I don’t know anything about money for BBL. Because I’ll tell you something, the BBL in its original version is dead. Walang pag-asang pumasa sa house. Walang pag-asa pumasa sa senado. So ang dinedeliberate ngayon namin ay iyong mga substitute bill na kapalit.
Q: The one you filed?
BBM: The one I made and there is one in the house also.
BBM: I’m sorry?
BBM: Ah yes.
Q: I got 2 questions. I heard that you’re running for the Vice-Presidency, but on the SWS survey, September 2-5, I saw your rank there. You got only 7% while Escudero got 20%. But on the senatorial I saw you’re in the top 10. Is it not risky running for the vice-presidency than you are in the senatorial?
BBM: Every campaign is a risk. You run for barangay captain, it’s a risk. Yes it’s risky but so I don’t know. Even senatorial is, lahat naman iyan. Wala naman tiyak iyan.
Q: So, you have the moist eyes for the Vice-Presidency?
BBM: I’m sorry?
Q: You have the moist eyes for Vice-Presidency?
BBM: What is a moist eyes?
Q: You have the interest to run for the Vice-Presidency.
BBM: I have interest to run for higher office. That’s what we have been talking about.
Q: Sir, lately I was watching there were these 16 Pangasinan congressmen who wrote a letter to the United Nation and then I saw your statement there. You are for the bilateral agreement with the Chinese?
BBM: No, no, no. I have for the bilateral talks with the Chinese.
Q: Yeah, bilateral talks with the Chinese.
BBM: Because for the first time in this entire situation, the Chinese have agreed to talk under the framework of international law or the… Which is something that they have never done before because nung nakaraan they only talked about the… Now they are willing to talk about baselines under UN. That’s new. Pero hindi rin nirecognize ng ating DFA. Hindi yata nalalaman kung gaano kalaking pagbabago ito. So we have continued to do nothing except make our case in the adjudication in the UN.
Q: Because sir the perception in the Philippines is that the Chinese could not be trusted and one of the example there is Panatag Shoal when the BRP Pampangga left the Chinese as agreed, they did not leave the place and that’s why Scarborough now and that Panatag Shoal now is being controlled by the Chinese.
BBM: Well be that as it may, I still think we should talk to the Chinese. Or should we just. Doing nothing will not improve the situation. We have to do something and I think the Chinese have given us even a small opening and so I think we should take it as an opportunity. Let us start I think a way to begin this discussion is mapag-usapan lang natin kung papaano ang policy ng China at saka Pilipinas sa fishermen. Kasi bago magkagulo ng ganito yung mga mangingisda ng China atsaka ng Pilipino laging magkasama iyan. They fish together. Pag natapos sila mag fishing they eat together. Nagkikita-kita sila. Walang problema. Ngayon nagkakaproblema. Puwede ba natin ibalik muna doon sa dating sitwasyon so umpisahan natin sa mga fishermen. Para naman yung mga tauhan natin ay hindi nahihirapan, hindi nalalagay sa alanganin. So let’s start from there, that’s a small step. And let’s keep going and see. But we have to start. I’m not saying if we meet with the Chinese under the… matatapos lahat ng problema natin. I’m not saying that but we have to do something. We cannot. This situation cannot just be allowed to continue.
Q: Thank you Sir. Why do you think Senator the government doesn’t have what we call bilateral talks?
BBM: I am always, I have never understood that policy. I don’t agree with that policy. I think that we should try every way that we can. Formal talks, informal talks, basketball diplomacy. Whatever kind of contact that we can have. You never know kung saan lalabas iyong sagot. Kung saan lilitaw oyong solusyon. So I think we can try if we fail then we will try again. But we cannot do nothing. We cannot do nothing.
Q: There is no absolutely no risk in trying to bilateral talks?
BBM: Well, we are already in a terrible position. I think the only way that the situation will get worse ay kung magputukan na. Wag na natin paabutin yun bago pa tayo makipagusap sa kanila. Just because we are talking to them doesn’t mean we accept everything they say. The whole point of talking to them is to make very clear our position to negotiate some kind of modus vivendi with the Chinese. Especially the protection of our territory. The protection of our national…
Q: So we can put on record that you bilateral talks?
BBM: Well I have put that on record for a long time. As I say I even go beyond just a form of bilateral talks. I think that we should try as many ways and as many contacts that we can. Yung mga, lahat ng Pilipino halimbawa na may negosyo sa China, baka yung mga kaibigan nila na mga mayayaman dun, o mga powerful friends nila dun ay baka dun tayo makalapit sa, makahanp ng solusyon. Baka iyong mga cultural exchanges. You never know when it will start. You have to remember China for example opened diplomacy with the United States with Ping-pong. Sa ping-pong nag-umpisa yung diplomacy na iyon. So you never know where it’s going to come from.
BBM: But you have to try. I cannot, sitting back and waiting for things to get better by themselves is for me not a solution.
Q: …you filed a substitute bill. What is the status of that?
BBM: We are in the period of interpellation. Which means every day I will stand up, and I will tell my colleagues in the Senate will ask me questions about the substitute bill.
Q: I understand that you’re going around the country and conducting consultations…
BBM: Well the consultations on the, we do no talk about the BBL anymore because there is no more BBL. We talk about the basic law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and in short we call it BL BAR. The BL BAR now is finished. It’s closed. Nandiyan na iyong version. The only. It’s only now the senators in the Senate and the Congressmen in the House who can make changes to, each house’s version. At this point siyempre lahat naman ng Senador, lahat naman ng kongresista nakikinig sa mga tao. At kung sa palagay nila tama iyong sinasabi they bring it up to the plenary discussion. But at the moment, the reason we closed the hearing phase is because sa aming palagay we have conducted sufficient hearings and that we have heard all the important issues that have been raised by all the different stakeholders.
Q: When will be when…
BBM: When will be?
Q: When will be the United Nations tribunal be able to decide whether it has jurisdiction over the case filed by the…
BBM: They have not even said anything.
BBM: Yes. Wala silang sinasabi kung kelan sila maglalabas ng desisyun.
Q: Ok, thank you.
BBM: Alright thank you.