Press conference : University of Cebu

SBBM: In anticipation of what I’m sure will be one of your questions, I have not made any decisions on what position to run for. The talks are on-going with the different individuals and my party, Nacionalista, continues also to hold discussions with the different groups and parties around the country to define, to decide what role Nacionalista will play in 2016 elections and what role I will play and what position I will run for in the 2016 elections. So, I will have to ask everyone, I know everyone has been speculating, and that everyone is very interested to know and I thank you for your interest, I thank you for your support. But I have to ask for your patience because this is a decision that cannot be hurried. It is a decision I do not take lightly at all and must consider all the possibilities before making this very important decision. So, I ask for your patience. Pero malapit na dahil nga nasa Septyembre na tayo, siguro by the end of September, lahat na ng mga magiging sitwasyon sa buong bansa ay magiging maliwanag na. Kaya’t iyan ang ating sitwasyon sa ngayon. Ako’y nagpapasalamat sa lahat na nag-express ng kanilang suporta sa akin. Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanilang tiwala na ipinapakita sa aking kakayahan. Again, for such an important decision, kailangan natin matiyak na alam natin ang sitwasyon, nakausap natin lahat ng dapat makausap, at napag-isipan ng mabuti kung ano iyung gagawin. That is again, in anticipation to the questions that have been asked. Okay? Iyun lang ata. Sige, tapos na.

Q: Sir, the others po, iyung mga Pulse Asia, iyung mga survey results.

SBBM: Every single politician is waiting for survey results.

Q: But is that the only consideration Sir? Are there some other considerations?

SBBM: No. There are many, many, many other considerations. It’s what other people will be doing. No. Actually surveys is a very small part of that decision because if you look at surveys, before the election, hindi tumutugma doon sa mga nanalo ng eleksyon. Starting point lang iyung mga surveys. Syempre bahagi iyan sa pag-uusap, sa pagdesisyun. Kung mababa ang numero, puede pa rin namang pataasin iyan sa kampanya. Kung masyado naman mataas, puede rin mawala iyan, as we have seen before. They are only part of all the different variables that have to be taken into consideration.

Q: What are the other variables?

SBBM: Many, many other variables- what others will do, what your party will do, what other issues will come up, who has expressed support, who has not, all those. Do you have an organization that you think is going to be sufficient to bring you to a successful campaign, marami.

Q: Sir, ano pong mangyayari, there are reports coming out of the possibility of Senator Allan.

SBBM: There are many reports but all of them are just reports. None of those things are official. None of those things have finally been decided. Puro iyan haka-haka. Puro iyan speculations.

Q: But are you talking about it Sir?

SBBM: We are talking about everything. There is nothing that we don’t talk about. The possibilities are endless. We could include many, many things. I think in the party, in the Nacionalista Party, we will try to preserve our unity. Kasi pag sona libre, parang may possibility magkawatak-watak iyung partido. Ayaw namin iyun. Maganda kasi iyung samahan ng Macionalista. Iyun ang naging strength namin. Pag nawala iyun, hindi naman relatively, we’re not the biggest party, pero maganda ang aming samahan. That is the quality of the party that we would like to maintain. We’re thinking in those terms. You never know kung hindi talaga magkaconsensus, baka ganoon ang bagsak.

Q: Sir, as to the possible alliance with the local party dito sa Cebu, may mga talks to any groups or any personality from Cebu?

SBBM: From Cebu specifically, yes of course because Cebu is such an important part in the electorate. Ang laki-laki. The province and city nasa 2.3 na ata iyung botante ng city and province kaya napakalaking bagay. So, of course it’s important to get the support of Cebuanos- both from the city and province. So, yes. We are discussing with our friends and those other politicians who have expressed an interest in allying with our party, with our group. That goes not only in Cebu. That goes all around.

Q: Sino-sino sila?

SBBM: No. it is highly improper. Kung sasabihin ko iyun, hindi na lalapit sa akin iyun. hindi na makikipag-usap sa akin. So you have to allow a little discretion on the part of the party and my part, so that people can speak freely and to come without worrying that we will somehow put them in a bad position by revealing what they have spoken to us and who they are. Again, I have to ask for your patience in that regard. I’m sure you understand that that is an important thing that we keep the confidences that they have asked us to keep.

Q: Sir, do you have enough allies in Cebu sir considering that majority of the people here are either allied with LP or UNA? Do you have enough people here to work for you in the election?

SBBM: The fact that they are with LP or with UNA does not mean that they cannot ally with us. So, yes. I think we have a good number of people. You know these things are not mutually exclusive. Just because you’re an LP, does not mean that you cannot be part of a certain group. For all you know, the NP is technically still in coalition with the LP. So, pag sinabi mong madaming LP, technically, magkasama kami. Now, whether or not that applies pagdating sa eleksyon, that’s another story. That’s why kaya nga everything is so fluid. Everything is so movable and so dynamic. It is hard to pin it down right now. But again, because of the schedule for filing, people will be forced to make a decision and to make a move.

Q: Sir, another issue po. Kamusta na po iyung Senate District Bill? Wala pa po bang time frame as to the signing?

SBBM: Wala. You have to ask the President. I have no idea what the President is thinking. So, you’ll have to ask the President. We have done in Congress, we have done our part. We have to wait for the President’s action or non-act.

Q: Do you think Sir there is still enough time considering filing na ng COC next month?

SBBM: I hope so. Because if the President still doesn’t sign it, maglalapse na iyung 30 days, magiging batas na rin iyan. I must say I’m a little surprised that he hasn’t signed it already. Well of course, that’s his prerogative. I do not know what his reasons could possibly be. Maybe you should ask him. I would be very interested to know why he hasn’t signed it.

Q: Senator, there are many employees in the country, even in Cebu. Many of them are asking what happened to the KBL- Kilusang Bagong Lipunan. Still alive?

SBBM: During the past few elections, especially when I was still in Ilocos, KBL was the party that we ran under. But because of the length of time it has been going. We are in the middle actually of re-organizing and re-constituting some of the members and the officers of the KBL. So, again as to be able to ask them to play a part in the upcoming elections. Although it has faded from its dominance in the past, it’s still exists and we are intending to as I said, re-organize and to revitalize the KBL party and again, start to talk to them. Actually, we have never stopped talking. Mga kaibigan naman namin lahat iyan. We have been talking to them to make sure that they play also an important role in the upcoming elections. There are still some members that are significant in positions that can do a lot to help one candidate or another when it comes to KBL. Although, I’m the person here in front of you, I’m not the only candidate. There are hundreds and hundreds of candidates around the country na naghahanap din ng partido, naghahanap ng masisilungan. Maybe between the Nacionalista Party and the KBL, mayhbe we can come to some kind of agreement how we will treat those different political elements. But again, I think KBL as a party will still continue to play a role in the upcoming elections.

Q: Pagdating po sa BBL, iyung version niyo gusto niyo bang maipasa by this year?

SBBM: By this year? Kaya siguro. Bakit hindi? Depende. Mahirap magpredict dahil sa sitwasyon ngayon ay nagtatanong nga ang mga senador tungkol nga sa substitute bill. Ako naman, ako iyung sumasagot, nagpapaliwanag, iyang prosesong iyan hindi natin malalaman kung gaano katagal. Tapos nabibinbin sa House of Representatives. So, ang masasabi ko lang siguro sa Senado. Kasi mag aadjourn kami, kailan ba adjournment? October 10? Basta early October, pag-adjourn, palagay ko kakayanin before mag-adjourn kami ng October. Sa Senado lang iyun. I cannot talk about kung ano iyung mangyayari sa House.

Q: Regarding po sa 75 billion budget, kamusta po?

SBBM: Iyung mahiwagang block grant? Nandiyan pa rin. Pero, ang pagbabagong ginawa natin, ay nilagay natin sa ilalim ng COA, para maliwanag na tama ang gamit doon sa napakalaking pondong iyan. Ngayon, sa interpellation na nangyayari sa Senado, nagkekwestiyon na ngayon ang mga senador kung bakit ganoon kalaki at bakit automatic appropriation. Dapat naman hindi automatic appropriation dahil iyan ang function ng Kongreso. Ang magdecide kung magkano ang iaappropriate. In flocks pa iyun. Ibig sabihin, hindi pa natin malalaman kung ano ang amendment na gagawin doon sa block grant na iyan. Hindi natin masasabi ngayon kung ano iyung mga amendment na ipopropose at maaapprove doon sa block grant. Pero nagsabi na sa akin iyung mga ibang senador, talagang magtatanong sila tungkol diyan at mayroon silang mga isusuggest. Hindi pa nila iyun sinasabi sa akin kung ano man iyung mga proposal na iyun, pero pagdating nga ng interpellation, medyo malalaman mo na kung ano iyung takbo ng kanilang iniisip. Pagdating ng period of amendments, ayan na. Makikita natin kung ano ba talaga ang ginugusto ng bawat isang senador tungkol diyan sa block grant. Hindi nakakapagtaka na syempre bingyan ng attensyon iyang block grant dahil napakalaki. Sinasabi ng ibang LGU, kami rin naman ay nangangailangan. Iyung block grant, kukunin iyan sa lahat ng Pilipinas except for Bangsamoro. So walang kontribusyon ang Bangsamoro Autonomous Region doon sa block grant na iyan. Manggagaling iyan sa lahat ng ibang LGU. So, sinasabi ng mga LGU, hindi naman sa tumututol kami, pero tiyakin naman natin na magagamit. Kung kukunin sa amin iyang perang iyan, kung hindi kami makapag-avail dahil binigay nga sa Bangsamoro Region, Bangsamoro Government, tiyakin lang naman natin na matibay ang ating mga auditor, na matibay ang ating pagbantay, na may transparency, na may accountability. Sa palagay ko naman, nagawa namin doon sa substitute bill na pinatibay natin iyun pag-aaral at pagbabantay sa pondo, kahit na anong pondo. Hindi lamang iyung pondong binibigay ng national government sa Bangsamoro Government kung hindi lahat ng pondo na gagamitin ng Bangsamoro.

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