Press Release
February 24, 2017

Bam on Sen. De Lima's arrest, Lascanas' testimony and EDSA 31
Transcript of Sen. Bam's ANC interview

Q: We were able to talk to Rep. Kaka Bag-ao who said that Liberal Party President Kiko Pangilinan was not going to accompany her but going back to the Senate to talk to his partymates. Has that meeting started? Did you have that meeting with Sen. Pangilinan along with other LP members there in the Senate?

Sen. Bam: No. Not exactly. I'm actually not in Manila anymore pero magkikita-kita siguro kami bukas sa mga activities to commemorate EDSA.

Q: Your thoughts Sir on this whole situation of Sen. Leila De Lima?

Sen. Bam: Well, we've already released our statement that this is really political persecution at its worst. Bago pa nagkaroon ng hearings, bago nagkaroon ng kahit na anong ebidensiya, nasabi rin ni President Duterte that he would destroy her. At palagay ko, ginagawa talaga niya iyon.

All of these things that are happening is basically in fulfilment of that.

You look at the testimonies of the drug lords - magkakaiba iyong mga testimony nila. Hindi naman tumutugma-tugma. Walang money trail. Walang paper trail. And then of course, mukhang the judge, and of course we have to verify this, it seems the judge didn't even look at her motion to quash. Hindi man lang nabasa ang kanyang motion.

We've said it before. We're saying it again. We really feel that this is political persecution and this is a way to stamp out dissent in the country. A way to stamp out critics.

At nasabi na namin noon na anumang demokrasiya kailangan talaga may mga palitan ng mga isipan. May palitan ng mga kuro-kuro. Hindi puwede na kapag hindi ka sumasang-ayon, kinukulong ka na lang.

Q: Sen. De Lima would have her legal team fighting her battles in court but you keep saying this is part of political persecution of this administration. What are you going to do about it? What is the Liberal Party going to do about it?

Sen. Bam: Well, Ron, alam mo, we've been keeping the fight and probably we'll continue doing that when it comes to policies at the Senate that we feel aren't good for the country gaya ng pagbabalik ng death penalty, pagbaba ng age of criminal liability. All of these things kailangan ng countervoice - somebody to represent those who think otherwise. And we'll be continuing to do that in the Senate.

In fairness to my colleagues in the Senate, cross-party, there was an effort to really push for her security and safety.

Kaya ako palagay ko, hindi lang ito laban ng Liberal Party. This is a concern for anyone who will dissent on any of the policies pushed by this administration.

Q: Senator, have you been discussing about the possibility of pushing through with that hearing on extrajudicial killings, hearing the testimony of Lascanas?

Sen. Bam: Well, that's been the major happenings na nangyayari in the past week in the Senate. And status quo. The Committee on Public Order will hear Lascanas' confession.

Hindi naman iyon nagbago kahit may mga rumors na umiikot na babaguhin iyon. The truth is right now it is the status quo which is that the Committee on Public Order will be hearing that soon.

Q: OK. We want to get your thoughts as well on the toned down EDSA People Power Revolution commemoration this year.

Sen. Bam: Well, honestly, Ron, I've said this before - that's really the prerogative of the government how they wish to celebrate. But ang pag-celebrate kasi ng EDSA hindi lang naman iyon pagmamay-ari ng gobyerno. All of us can celebrate it. Different groups are doing it. Schools are doing it. And that's the spirit of People Power. Hindi lang siya mula sa isang grupo lang. Hindi lang siya mula sa gobyerno, definitely.

Talagang galing siya sa tao. So, if that's the way that government wants to celebrate it then, we should allow them to do that. But of course, they should also allow all the other groups who want to commemorate EDSA to do it in their own way.

Q: And how are you commemorating it this year, Sir?

Sen. Bam: I'll be there tomorrow at the People Power Monument at 4:00 PM. And I hope that everyone listening who do want to commemorate EDSA will be there with us.

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