Interview with Karen Davila on ANC’s Headstart

Karen Davila: Joining us this morning is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. Welcome.

Sen. Bongbong: Thank you! Good morning.

Davila: What do you make of the MILF statement that it did not commit any crime, they will not surrender any of the charged members?

Sen. Bongbong: Well, I think that it is certainly unhelpful. Sana naman binigyan ng importansya ang findings ng NBI, ng DOJ. The least that they could have done was to say that they would work with the DOJ because as of now, it’s all speculative. They say that there are 90 named that could be charged. So far we don’t know exactly who those people are, what their charges will be. I don’t think the DOJ has filed any charges yet. So it would have been more circumspect on the MILF side had they waited as to what DOJ had decided to do. Had they worked together as well with the DOJ, they could have simplified matters.

But on the larger scheme, if they are going to be the Bangsamoro government, this is the kind of governmental activity that they will have to be involved in. So if at the very beginning hindi pa natin nakikita that they are willing to be the partners of the central government, like any LGU is, to help the peace and order situation… Ang kaibahan dito, they insist on being described as a “revolutionary organization.” These can be said to be “political crimes.” They are crimes that were committed in the furtherance of their revolutionary cause. So under that, they enjoy a certain level of immunity. But I think the DOJ’s findings are that these crimes were not committed to help that revolution – that separatist cause – but really just murder. That takes them outside the realm of political crime.

The MILF should also understand that the definitions and interpretations may differ slightly between them and what the DOJ interpreted.

Davila: How does this affect the BBL? President Aquino has clearly lobbied –  at least with the lower house, I’m not sure if in the Senate – that he wants the BBL passed. Does it matter at this point what the MILF says when it seems the clear message of Malacanang is “You know what, pass it.”?

Sen. Bongbong: Malacanang’s position has been clear from the beginning. Ours in the Senate and in the House of Representatives are really waiting to be formed because we have to depend on findings. The public, though, has very clearly made their opinion known: that they have lost faith in the entire process. And these blanket denials by the MILF saying “We have not done anything wrong,” similar to the tone that they took on the report on the Mamasapano incident, does not serve to bolster that confidence. But we really need the support of ordinary Filipinos for this to work.

Davila: But would you want conditions set for the MILF, for example, something as simple as: Surrender the charged members first, then we talk about BBL. Because the MILF seems to be getting the message that whatever it is that they say, it doesn’t matter because Congress will pass it. If I were the MILF, that’s what I would think.

Sen. Bongbong: No, they should not say that, they should not think that. I know they have expressed that kind of opinion before. They have said, ‘We have already negotiated with the President and therefore the rest of the government and therefore the legislature and the judiciary should follow. We should not have to negotiate.’ My answer to that is: this not a negotiation. We are just doing our jobs. This is the process that every law undergoes. So they must understand that we as legislators have our job to do and when the time comes, the judiciary will have their job to do.

The concept that when dealing with the executive, the rest of the government should follow only applies to foreign treaties. And this is why we become a little nervous, because they seem to be treating themselves as a foreign entity, and therefore treaties with them should be treated as such. So that again is a concern. But in any case, I think they should be more circumspect in this kind of pronouncement.

Davila: Now Senator, are you bent on passing the BBL? You yourself.

Sen. Bongbong: It’s not up to me to decide to pass it or not. What I’m determined to do is to write a version that can be passed in the senate that will in fact address the challenges that we are facing now in Mindanao.

Davila: Let’s talk about that. Given the situation right now, the MILF’s reaction, what parts of the BBL are you willing to accept and what will you remove?

Sen. Bongbong: Well, we have to start from the very central principle of self-determination. That is what the MILF – and for that matter, all the negotiations with all the Muslim groups, starting with the MNLF – have been about. First of all, that they abandon the sectionist or the separatist part of their struggle and secondly, that they come to negotiate for a peace agreement, which we have done. But from that concept of self-determination flows all the proposals on the structure of their Bangsamoro government, all of that.

The constitutional questions still remain and those have to be attended to. Now, there have been many who have argued that they are not unconstitutional because the structure and these bodies will still be under the central (government)… Well, they have to make that clear. The fact of the matter is, in the BBL, it’s not clear. We have to make that clear. Maybe those challenges will be address and they will no longer be used as grounds to question the constitutionality of the BBL. But there are still many other administrative and political matters that need to be attended to.

Davila: What concerns you the most? 

Sen. Bongbong: What concerns me the most is the form of administration. Exactly how it is going to work. The plebiscite, also. There are now an increasing number of people who are questioning whether it is of local application or national application. In other words, whether the plebiscite will be conducted nationally or only in those areas that have been designated.

Davila: What do you prefer?

Sen. Bongbong: Well, I think the political reality is… I don’t think, the way things stand now, that it stands a very good chance in a national plebiscite. Because, again, the general sentiment of the public is not in favor, is not supportive.

Davila: So what if a plebiscite is held just on the designated areas…?

Sen. Bongbong: The argument is that it affects everyone, every single citizen. There is a good argument that can be made that way. So perhaps it should be done nationally. But again, as a practical matter, we know the result of that. Maybe a month, two months from now, it’ll be different. But as it stands now, it is a very precarious political problem.

Davila: Now, is the form of government, that it’s parliamentary, does that disturb you? Some say yes, some say it’s only form.

Sen. Bongbong: Yes, it is difficult because it’s something we’ve never done before. The examples that are always given are always the United States or Germany where it’s federalized, and this is a form of federalism. It may be the first step towards federalism. Again, the difference between examples that are being given is that they have a constant or identical form of voting in all their federalized states. But in our case, there is one ministerial and the rest republican and military.

Davila: And parliamentary chooses the Chief Minister in the Bangsamoro region?

Sen. Bongbong: Yes, the parliament will choose the Chief Minister.

Davila: Do you agree with that? 

Sen. Bongbong: Well, if it is a parliament then that is consistent with the parliamentary form. But again, the parliament as it is conceived in the BBL has been designed in different ways. There will be sectoral representatives, there will be other representatives besides the elected parliamentary ministers, so that mix also has to be well defined.

Davila: Some have said that if and when the BBL is passed, it goes to a transition period. Under the BBL, it does not say when the plebiscite will be held. Is it true, some fear, that the MILF will essentially be holding on to power for a period of time which no one can predict. Is that interpretation correct?

Sen. Bongbong: Well, as far as I understand it, the COMELEC will have to wait for the plebiscite to be conducted. I beg your pardon. To conduct the plebiscite, we have to wait until the bill is finally passed, and if it weathers the constitutional challenges that the BBL will have to face in the Supreme Court. If it is struck down, then that is the end of it.  But if it is deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, that is the point at which the COMELEC begins their preparations. Now that would take some months. So that is the time period. Last time I spoke with the COMELEC in a hearing and asked them directly how long will it take for you to prepare, they told me six to eight months. Now I’ve been hearing that maybe six to eight months is too long and they can possibly manage it in a shorter period.

Davila: So who’s in charge in the six to eight months? It would be the MILF?

Sen. Bongbong: The plebiscite will have to be conducted before the transitional commission can come in because we still don’t know which areas will be included until the plebiscite is done. ARMM would have been abolished. When BBL becomes law, ARMM will be abolished. The transitional commission will then start their work. Their work is setting up the government. It’s the equivalent of a law and they will put together the IRR.

Davila: What makes many people think that this would work, considering that ARMM did not work, a peace agreement with the MNLF was called an experimental failure although some won’t agree. What would be the main difference?

Sen. Bongbong: That’s what people are saying. We must put in some kind of mechanism to guarantee that we will not repeat the same mistakes we committed before. If the ARMM is considered a failed experiment, then why did it fail? I think the failed experiment term comes from the fact that despite the large amounts of money that was given to the ARMM, that funding did not reach down to the lower level. So much so that all the provinces within ARMM were saying we rather prefer to be an ordinary local government rather than be part of ARMM because there’s no advantage to it and we’d rather work that way. That was the developing scenario during the last years that we’ve had ARMM. So now with the block grants, the large amounts of funding, there are no guarantees on how that’s going to be legislated and how that’s going to be appropriated.

Davila: Do you agree with that? Block grants?

Sen. Bongbong: I think we should leave that up to the national government. The continued responsibility for the development of what will be Bangsamoro. We’ve heard all of the figures, 70 billion, 75, 79 billion, these are varied calculations. We have not even included local collections. We’ve not yet included the share in national wealth.

Davila: Sa first year palang may share na sa national wealth? Immediately?

Sen. Bongbong: Mayroon silang share in the national wealth in the areas under the Bangsamoro territory so immediately, as long as there is exploitation of that so-called national wealth, whatever it’s found, they will receive a very large share of the national wealth.

Davila: Some senators have said dapat daw ang block grants i-itemize just like any other budget. Do you agree?

Sen. Bongbong: Exactly. I think so. Even when it comes again to national development ang reklamo satin ng ating mga kapatid na muslim ay hindi sila nadevelop, hindi sila inaalalayan, hindi sila inaalagaan ng Maynila. Now instead of handing over these large amounts of money, maybe the national government should use that money for the development so maging maliwanag na maliwanag na yung reklamo na hindi sila tinutulungan, hindi natin dinedevelop ang areas ng muslim mindanao ay makikita na hindi na ganun, nagbago na.  At ang maynila ay laging inaalala ang development ng Muslim Mindanao, the railway, roads, hospitals, schools, ports, airports, like the services that are provided, all of these things that we have to get into place. The bureaucracy of government should be felt right down to the lowest possible level.

The reason that I continue to go on about this massive development, infrastructure development, is we go back to the experience of the Tripoli agreement, which was successful until it was thrown away after a few years. At the time after the tripoli agreement was signed, it was not solely the document that was signed. There was also included in the entire program, there’s a massive infrastructure development of Mindanao. I think this is the same case with the BBL and the Bangsamoro government. That is something that I think is absolutely necessary because if Muslim Mindanao still feels that they have been left behind then the problem will persist. So that I think is an important thing that’s part of it.

Another thing that has come up in recent days is the visit of the OIC, the secretary general and his party came, and made a courtesy call with the Senate President and I was asked to attend. The OIC is the organization of Islamic cooperation and they have been part of all of these peace negotiations since the very start, in fact all the way back to the 70s. I asked for their advice because I said you are an international organization, although you have been part of all of this, I asked them what is your perspective and they seemed to agree with some of the things that I’ve already proposed and that we must, the term that they used is that this peace agreement made as inclusive as possible. And they asked that the MNLF should be given more of a voice and that we have a better understanding of how BBL works within the context of the Tripoli agreement and the Jakarta agreement in 1996. This is a new development. For me this is a welcome development because in my view it’s insufficient to talk only with the MNLF because the MNLF is also there and there have been agreements that we signed with them.

Davila: the draft BBL is already at the senate and at the house. If you believe we should be inclusive, talk to the MNLF, how would you do that? Would you call them to another senate hearing? Because clearly the senate is not a negotiating body. Would you want the government peace panel to negotiate with the MNLF again? How would you do it?

Sen. Bongbong: I don’t think it’s necessary to go back to the drawing board. I think we can talk to the MNLF and say, “What do you think about all this?”

Davila: Which of the MNLF? Nur Misuari is in hiding.

Sen. Bongbong: That is the slight problem. As many of the leaders as we can invite, in fact it was agreed during our meeting with the OIC that I proposed to the secretary general of the OIC was that we hold the hearing and include as many of the factors as we can. The problem being that in the OIC’s view, they have been dealing with Nur Misuari from the very start, and they feel that he should still be given a voice as he is in hiding. that is a practical matter but he can send his representatives. The central committee of the MNLF has actually chosen Ambassador Abul Alonto as their leader. There is also the Sema faction which is a very important faction of the MNLF. So at least between those two I think we have majority of the MNLF and if chairman Nur Misuari can send his representatives because he has already stated that he not be will coming.

Davila: How about the BIFF?

Sen. Bongbong: The BIFF has rejected the peace process entirely. We can invite them but I would predict that they would say that we are not part of it and in fact that’s one of the bones of contention between the MILF and the BIFF is that they don’t believe in the peace process. This is part and parcel of the peace process so I would be very surprised if they chose to participate.

Karen Davila: Senator, what can put BBL in jeopardy? You were quoted once as saying Iqbal’s dual identity, was one. This one doesn’t help, the MILF not willing to surrender charged members. What can honestly put the BBL in jeopardy of not being passed? 

Sen. Bongbong: Well, if it becomes a political issue, we have an election in 2016, and if the sentiment of people is still that, and people will ask the Congressmen: “Did you vote for BBL, which we do not support?” then it becomes a political issue. Then, people would have to listen. All of us elected officials will have to listen to the general public’s opinion.

Davila: What about the people in Mindanao. I’m curious. I’m sure you and other Senators have had that survey.

Sen. Bongbong: Well, the people in Mindanao are just nervous. They do not know what is going to happen and they are uncertain what form Bangsamoro will take, the territory – how it will be defined, the government – how it will work. That level of uncertainty has been there for a long time. But there is an understandable nervousness that they, because one of the first paragraphs in the BBL is the definition of the Bangsamoro people, and although the definition is quite wide-ranging, it does not include those who have gone to Mindanao in the years since the Spanish time. And so the questions that the others that are not in the definition of the Bangsamoro people are asking, “So what does that make us? Does that make us second class citizens?” In fact it doesn’t, but that is the kind of concern that there is in Mindanao.

Davila: Okay, now, very quickly, when it comes to the issues of the PNP, the AFP, have you already filtered that through?

Sen. Bongbong: Yes, I think we have a fairly good idea on what to do with that. And I think there have been claims that the structure as proposed in the BBL will be similar to that of local government. I have to say I don’t have the same opinion. The governor, or the mayor of the LGU does not have operational control of the PNP. Where as in Bangsamoro, the chief minister has operational control. And they say, “Oh, that’s that same as any other LGU”. That’s certainly not the case. We have a very close working relationship with our police, as necessary, because you just have to be that way, otherwise, you’re ineffective. But, in terms of operational control, they take commands not from the local government officials. And that I think is one thing that we should establish in the BBL and make clear and put it in the same kind of mechanism that we have – the same command structure that the PNP already has, and we should go under that.

Davila: Question, Senator. Will the MILF feel that this is already diluting the first agreement? Considering you already want the national agencies. For example, there’s a clarification, a change. Then the government or mayor the set up of the police, you also want that change. So, do you feel that the MILF will even accept it? 

Sen. Bongbong: Well, we have to do what we think is right. We do not really make these decisions or make these proposed amendments – what we will propose these amendments – with the view to what the MILF will accept or what they will not; we have to really make a determination on the merits of that particular question; that’s what we are doing. If we feel that this needs to be clarified in a certain way; we will do that. And I guess it will be up to the discretion of the MILF to decide whether or not they feel it is acceptable.

Davila: The decommissioning of arms. At first, the MILF was supposed to surrender 75. But after Mamasapano, the reports that came out in the senate and the BOI, they didn’t even surrender the first 75. What about the schedule of decommissioning?

Sen. Bongbong: Well the decommissioning essentially starts really after the BBL is passed. And that is process. Although, there are supposed to have been “symbolic moves” to begin with that really has gone by the wayside…

Davila: But would you include it in the annex?

Sen. Bongbong: That is one of the most important parts of it.

Davila: It’s suspected 11,000, arms but no specific number.

Sen. Bongbong: There has to be a very transparent inventory of all those arms and the findings of the matter and what has become of them. But again, I think it will be very astringent in the requirements. For example, going back to the police, basta’t naman dumaan sila sa training, basta’t naman they have achieved the kind of levels of training that we asked for, and all the other policemen, then I don’t see the problem in having the Bangsamoro police. It is really the command structure that we really have to think about.

Davila: But the decommissioning of arms, the government case follows, in Ireland for example, it took many, many years. But do you trust that? In amidst of a plebiscite? You’ll have the MILF armed.

Sen. Bongbong: Yes, that is definitely going to be a problem. But so long as the MILF has an agreement, they will not use intimidation, I don’t think they will come to that; they have said so. And that our COMELEC, our police, our AFP will then be monitoring what they describe as “hotspots.” I think it’s still a workable arrangement. It’s not ideal but it’s still possible to make it work.

Davila: Okay, senator, some experts have said, if the BBL is not passed, it’s dangerous because you may have ISIS coming in, and ISIS being able to recruit, given that they’ll end up saying: “You see, you tried it, it didn’t work, we’re setting up camp here, just join us.” Your thoughts on that?

Sen. Bongbong: Well, the worrisome thing is that the ISIS is already here. BIFF has already pledged allegiance to ISIS. Abu Sayaff has already pledged allegiance to ISIS, and it is a very dangerous situation. And that is why some of the detractors of the BBL, I continuously remind them: “If you’ve shut down BBL, well, well done, you’ve just succeeded in getting what you want, but we go back to war”. Nobody wants that. And you have to be very, very careful, it’s a very delicate situation. It is terribly important that we get it right, the middle ground between the extreme sides of the questions is a very delicate line that we have to find; the balance that we have to find.

Davila: Senator, given that statement, do you believe then that the BBL will help curb in any way and form, any growth of terrorism in that part of the region?

Sen. Bongbong: It will certainly help.

Davila: It will? You believe that.

Sen. Bongbong: Because the arguments that the extremists make will have been diffused. And the arguments that are made for a violent uprising will have been, if not completely, at least partially answered. And there is another way, that instead of fighting, we will provide livelihood. We will provide support. And that is always a better option for anyone. I think any one, any person who has a good living, who has a safe place to live, who can attend to the needs of their families and themselves would rather do that than go up to the mountains and go to war with the government. So that is always the solution. The solution always has to be political, it also has to be economic and it also has to be wide-ranging in the sense that we are able to address the problems of not only a single group, but all those who are suffering the same problem.

Davila: Now, some have said that the BBL is actually a peace agreement with the MILF alone.

Sen. Bongbong: Yes.

Davila: Do you agree?

Sen. Bongbong: Yes, it is, it is.

Davila: It is really with the MILF alone. But the government peace panel said they’re the biggest. So, technically, the subtext is: “That’s what matters”.

Sen. Bongbong: Well, maybe they are the biggest, but the MNLF is still capable of doing something like Zamboanga and the Zamboanga uprising. Of course, Nur Misuari still has a very loyal following, and if the government has a very good agreement with the MILF and the MNLF somehow feels – or parts of the MNLF somehow feel – that they have been ignored, and want to make a point, we could have another Zamboanga. So that has to be dealt with as well. That is why I have always espoused the idea that everyone should be spoken to; everyone who’s willing to come to the table – we should negotiate with.

Davila: Now, will this matter in the 2016 elections?

Sen. Bongbong: I believe so.

Davila: Okay, in what way? 

Sen. Bongbong: Simply depends where public opinion would be when campaign period starts.

Davila: Would you go where public opinion is? I think there was a recent survey, in NCR, 65% is against the BBL.

Sen. Bongbong: Yes, it is something….in NCR it’s huge, yes.

Davila: But in Mindanao, I don’t know the figures. But then will that also mean that just because popularity is anti-BBL, we should be anti-BBL?

Sen. Bongbong: I think that the job we legislators have is to explain it. For example, if we say, we have a version that we feel is, addresses the problems of the original draft and that it’s much better, then we explain why we feel that way, and make people understand that it is in fact a good version and that it’s a workable one.

Davila: Okay, Jack Chua from Twitter: Right now they are asking, replace ARMM with Bangsamoro, will this render the Tripoli agreement void. Yes or no?

Sen. Bongbong: Well the Tripoli agreement has not been implemented completely, there are many other things that will need to be implemented after ‘86 that has been put to the side. That is another point that the Secretary General of the OIC made, what’s the context?

Karen: What would you want implemented in the Tripoli agreement?

Sen. Bongbong: We’re beyond the Tripoli agreement, for the MNLF I think the basis is going to be the Jakarta agreement. Which was in 1996 so that is a sufficient basis I think.  But that now brings us to the question: What is the Bangsamoro Government going to look like? Is in inclusive of the MNLF and maybe other groups that would like to join the peace process?

Karen: Okay, Senator Jack Chua again says can you ensure territorial integrity of the country? The BBL is quite similar to what happened to Yugoslavia.

Sen. Bongbong: Well I think that is a very important point. The territorial integrity of the Republic has to be guaranteed. And that is why there are voices we hear saying that this is the first step in secession, in separatism.

Davila: Do you believe it is?

Sen. Bongbong: It could be. There is no guarantee that it’s not. What I think we should do is… There is language in the ARMM organic law saying that this will not be used as a separatist move and that we will pledge allegiance to the republic.

Davila: You would add that?

Sen. Bongbong: That has been removed in the BBL. I would put it back.

Davila: Ahhh, you would put it back?

Sen. Bongbong: I would put it back.

Davila: That’s something very specific. It’s one thing that people cannot hang on to that’s specific. Okay go ahead, so they took that out.

Sen. Bongbong: Well they removed that and I think we should put that back in. And we should really take some kind of solace or rather have some confidence in the fact that the BBL is not an ordinary law. Where legislators pass and the President signs it, it’s a law. But this has to go to a plebiscite. So it cannot be changed that easily. So the fact that there is a plebiscite has some kind of guarantee that the structure as it has been agreed upon, the system, the mechanism that has been agreed upon, will not change. And those mechanisms will certainly not include the option of the Bangsamoro government eventually at some point saying hiwalay na kami sa Pilipinas.

Davila: Now more on politics, clearly Senator Allan Cayetano is your party-mate and Senator Antonio Trillanes is also your party-mate but then when it comes to the BBL issue you and Senator Cayetano take such opposite stands. Clearly it’s almost polarizing.

Sen. Bongbong: Well he’s taken a very strong stand…

Davila: Against the MILF.

Sen. Bongbong: Specifically against the MILF, not necessarily the BBL, and he has taken a very strong stand against the MILF. I take a moment of your view of the matter. I am convinced that the leadership of the MILF is working for peace. Because they have had to weather lots of criticism, lots of objections from their own people. But that also brings in the question: if we have a good deal with the leadership, can they in fact control the rest of their people? Because they have no real history of governance and even in this case of Mamasapano that question already came up. They say ‘we never ordered the killing etc etc,’ but your people still did it. So can you control them? And when the Bangsamoro government is formed can you control them then? So that’s why we have to make it more clear in the BBL that this is the structure, this is the command or the political hierarchical structure that will be followed so that is another aspect of it. This is a peace agreement, there are so many uncertainties the question is how to engender the trust in both parties. We have to do a lot more in that regard.

Davila: Alright now it’s very presidential in nature as I might add. Your measured view on the matter. Nationalista is cruising for a candidate for 2016. And you are one of the front-runners from the names that have been mentioned. Senator, I’m sure you’ve taken stock internally of the possibilities. I want to ask you sincerely, is it really a possibility, is it a probability or do you feel ‘now is not the time for me.’

Sen. Bongbong: I would have to say that my assessment of the political terrain changes day to day.

Davila: Or is anything possible for you?

Sen. Bongbong: I suppose I would have to say that, I always say that one of the best pieces of advice that I ever got was – not only in politics but in life, I suppose – is always try to keep your options open. That’s what I am planning to do.

Davila: Would you consider running – because you’re never mentioned as a vice-presidential candidate, you’re always mentioned as a presidential candidate. In all the surveys I don’t think your name is ever put in the vice-presidential….

Sen. Bongbong: I haven’t seen it yet.

Davila: Exactly, but would you consider for example running for Vice-President with let’s say Vice President Binay.

Sen. Bongbong: I would consider anything. They call politics the art of the possible. And so you never know. You have seen unlikely alliances….

Davila: But what about the scandals in the Senate, this doesn’t affect how you feel about Binay in terms of being a politician or a good leader for the country in 2016?

Sen. Bongbong: Well certainly your assessment of the man is going to enter into that kind of decision making process. And we have yet to come to the final point of all of these investigations to see exactly what’s happening in all kinds of back and forth, the accusations made, the defenses that are being put up. Hindi pa maliwanag.

Davila: President Aquino apparently came up with a statement. This was sent to me, I personally haven’t heard it, that if you run he doubts people will vote for you given the Marcos past. Your reaction.

Sen. Bongbong:  That’s his opinion. But then that’s not exactly a surprise. He has not exactly been a supporter of the Marcos family or any of us so that’s a no brainer, that’s the opinion of President Aquino.

Davila: Do you believe Senator Bongbong given that you are your own man in the Senate. You’ve won this, yes you are a Marcos but many years after, here you are sitting in the Senate, do you feel the Filipino people, the young voters of today would be ready to separate you – from let’s say other issues that have been brought up in history – and already seen what you stand for and vote for you.

Sen. Bongbong: I think what is happening is that the historical, the actual objective historical study of my father’s administration has started, and we have always stood on that, all the other stuff is propaganda and all of the other things we are hearing, that we have heard starting in 1986 when it was a very, very strong I effort against the Marcoses, that I think is recognized by young people as propaganda. And I know that because…

Davila: Did you believe that?

Sen. Bongbong: I believe that because the messages I get, the questions that I get from young people are, “What was your father thinking when he did that? Why did he do that? Why was martial law declared? What were the circumstances prevailing?” In other words they just want to know because they feel that they haven’t gotten the proper information. And in my view that is something we need to do, just lay it out there. I have always said that the assessment of the Marcos administration would come not from politicians but from the historical study of the time, the comparison between what actually happened. None of these revisionists’ stuff, when this happened, that happened. We still see some of it but I think it’s becoming less and less and people are beginning to see my father’s administration for what it is.

How it affects me, I really don’t know because the issues now are so completely different. What is the biggest change that I find is that the when I first came back in ‘91 from the States, the issue was the Marcoses whereas now it’s no longer that. So that’s a very big change and how that will play out is still unclear.

Davila: On that note Senator Bongbong Marcos, thank you. I think the words for you today are anything is possible for you.

Sen. Bongbong: Oh absolutely.

Davila: Alright that’s Headstart for you today, I am Karen Davila. Thank you for watching, have a good day everyone. 


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