Press Release
February 22, 2019

Sen. Bam on campaign, free college law, TRAIN Law, vaccines, age of criminal liability and People Power 1
(Transcript of media interview)

Q: Senator Bam Aquino, thank you for coming to the show. You've been in so debates. People know where you stand. So I'm gonna start the interview with something different, which is it seems to be such a struggle for the opposition during this midterm elections to actually make a dent in the top 12. Right now, there's only you and former senator Mar Roxas. People are saying is Bam Aquino even assured of a victory?

Sen. Bam: No. Right now, hindi. Actually if we look at the rankings, I'm there, I'm there by the... kumbaga nasa laylayan din kami ng survey. Nakakapasok naman most times, but not it's a sure thing, especially na wala ka sa administrasyon. But maaga pa Karen. I think we have 80 days left, 80 plus days left in this campaign. And when we go around, we've been to Caloocan, we've been to Naga, we've been to Cebu yesterday and the slate is actually in Bacolod today. Napakainit ng pagtanggap sa amin, people are interested to know what we have to say. And it's really just a matter of getting the message out. Ang question nila is will 80 days be enough to get our message out there.

Q: People always compare you in a way that you resemble Ninoy. It's always been a plus in the last couple of years. But then it seems, even, you're seeing social media, netizens are reacting that there seems to be backlash of some sort being an Aquino. How do you deal with this?

Sen. Bam: Ganon talaga ang buhay. Even naman early on, there will always be people who support the Aquinos and there will be people who won't. Ever since, it has always been an advantage and in some places, a disadvantage. Ganon lang talaga. I guess after 2016, makikita mo talaga na may concerted effort na siraan iyong mga Aquino, not just PNoy, not just me, but even Tito Ninoy and Tita Cory. That's all over the internet. In some places, naging successful sila, maraming nakumbinsi. But I think now, it's time to come out again, not just campaign as an Aquino, but also campaign with your track record. Ano ang mga nagawa mo at gusto mong gawin para sa bayan.

To be honest, I've experienced really warm reception all over the place, all over the Philippines. Even more than in 2013, and to think in 2013 nasa administration ako noon. Ngayong 2019 na, mas mainit ang pagtanggap. I think people really like an underdog.

Q: Pero mas mainit ba ngayon compared to when you ran before?

Sen. Bam: Yes, mainit ang pagtanggap. There's more energy. This is what we find. The Otso Diretso slate has been doing a lot of house-to-house campaigning. Iyong talagang sinusuyod namin ang mga bahay. We go to really poor communities. Makikita namin ang mga tao ng lider na masasabi nilang kakampi nila, na talagang magtatrabaho para sa kanila.

Q: We'll discuss your track record later. Because even your colleagues speak well of you. I've interviewed many of them, your colleagues know what you've done in the Senate but we'll do that later on. Mar running, does it help you or does it take away from you?

Sen. Bam: Definitely it doesn't take away from us. I think another winnable candidate in the Otso Diretso slate is a good thing. Right now, people say at least may dalawa na kayong nakakapasok. Malaking bagay iyon. Now the challenge paano iyong anim tumaas rin. If by March or by the midpoint of this election, kung nasa teens na iyong ating mga kasama sa Otso Diretso, we have a ballgame. Kumbaga, sa basketball, we have a ballgame kung makaabot ka sa halftime and you're more or less in the striking distance, we have a ballgame.

Q: You have PDP-Laban, that's the administration slate, lima lang talaga ang talagang in-endorse ni Pangulong Duterte sa PDP-Laban. The others are guest candidates. Why would the opposition slate go with eight, some said they could have gone with three and then put in resources for Bam, Mar and another one.

Sen. Bam: They could have gone with three, they could have gone with eight, it could have been 12 as well. Pero I think ang proseso ni Vice President Leni and Senator Pangilinan was really to choose eight candidates that we could be proud of and we could present to the public na lahat ito mas gustong gawin para sa bayan na importante sa inyo. I wasn't really part of the process, but as far as I know they chose eight that they could be proud of and that's what they came out with.

Q: In the last Harapan 2019 debate, you were asked by Alvin Elchico in Fast Talk, I'm just gonna go through this very quickly...

Sen. Bam: I was kinda surprised pala by the line of questioning sa Fast Talk because it was mostly about Kris.

Q: No, there were just two. In fact, you were asked questions on negosyo. But there reality is Kris was just a formidable force, and remains to be polarizing to some degree to some people. Will Kris campaign for you, will that be a plus?

Sen. Bam: Definitely. Right after the debate, after maybe 30 minutes pagkatapos ng debate. Ate Kris sent word already. She said from Tokyo, Bam please tell everyone that I have 100 percent support for you, all caps iyong 100 percent support. Anyway, she released a statement right after. She said I have 100 percent support for you, but because of my product endorsements I can't come out in the usual way. Because in 2013, magkasami kami. There was like a week we were together campaigning. In 2016, she had an ad pa with Leni, if I'm not mistaken. She can't come out the usual way, pero sabi niya please tell everyone I have 100 percent support. I think napaisip din siya na why are they asking if I'm supportive. Of course, the support is there.

Q: Does it affect your campaign with Kris' controversies, the recent supposed scandals she's been in. She's a magnet for controversy, many stars do thrive and become more popular with that, but does that help you, has it affected you?

Sen. Bam: I think Ate Kris' support is definitely a big plus. Anyone would be very happy to be supported by Ate Kris. Of course, she's going through a number of things, and I hope those things are resolved as fast as possible, as soon as possible. Of course, her health is also another issue and I hope she's able to get back to a really good standing in terms of her health. But definitely, it's a plus. Ask any candidate, it will be a plus.

Q: Being your own person, you work in the Senate and frankly you're remembered for many things, free college tuition. You were the first who technically voiced out your opposition for the TRAIN Law. I'll be honest, Samira Gutoc in Harapan said, puro na lang (inaudible). Makikita mo ang sama ng loob niya roon. Do you feel frustrated, do you think that people don't really care.

Sen. Bam: Maybe they don't know. It's more that they don't know. Because, Karen, of course you do your research and your FGDs. After five years of focusing on legislation, iyon ang tutok at alam mo naman iyon. I would guest here, we would talk about many different issues. When the campaign, or a few months before it started, nag-research kami, ano ba ang alam ng tao sa mga nagawa na natin. Honestly, lumalabas na talagang hindi nila nalalaman ang mga pinaglaban na natin, mga batas na na-sponsor at na-author natin. So now the challenge really is to tell people na ito na ang mga nagawa ko, alam kong mahalaga ito sa inyo, ginawa ko ito dahil mahalaga ito sa inyo, and ano ba ang ipaglalaban ko come the next six years. In many ways, it's like starting from zero again. I'll be honest, hindi kami nag-invest really talking about our accomplishments and maybe it was a mistake na hindi namin pinagmamalaki iyong mga nagagawa namin in the past at least for the first three or four years. But this last year, especially noong palapit nang palapit na ang campaign, we really said we have to talk about it, we have to go out and say this is why we passed the free college act, this is the reason behind it, ito ang pinagdaanan natin dito.

Q: What would you say is your biggest achievement as a sitting senator?

Sen. Bam: It's the free college act. Because that's a reform 30 years in the making. 90s pa lang, student leader pa lang ako pinaglalaban na iyan. It's something that's really important and very major. In 2016, I would go around to different areas at iyong mga nanay lalapit sa akin, sasabihin nila Sen. Bam, alam mo iyong pangarap namin, may anak kaming anak na makapagtapos pero hindi namin magawa-gawa dahil kapos na kapos kami. What can you do about it. When you're faced with that question, mapapaisip ka talaga. Ano ba puwede kong gawin dito. When the 17th Congress came, I asked for the chairmanship of the education committee. Hiningi ko talaga iyon. Sabi ko I really want to lead the education committee dahil gusto kong itulak ang free college act. Thankfully, all of my fellow senators supported me. The criticism and opposition came from outside, not within the Senate. They allowed me to lead that process, to sponsor it, and a little bit over a year, pinirmahan ni President Duterte into law. It became a law. We have our first year of implementation now. All of the SUCs are not charging tuition or miscellaneous. Yun pa lang, ramdam na ramdam na ang repormang iyon. And now, we have to make sure it's implemented properly and funded during the following years.

Q: What do you make of the National Youth Commission Chair saying that those scholars who attend rallies against should lose their scholarships?

Sen. Bam: I think isa lang yata ang kanyang audience nung sinabi niya yun. Basically, sumisipsip lang siya sa Malacañang. Buti na lang yung Malacañang na mismo ang nagsabi na hindi tama yung sinabi niya. Wala naman yun sa batas.

In fact, in the law, yung free tuition and miscellaneous, we had the choice. We could have made it the usual scholarship process na pipila ka, may requirements, kailangan humingi ng endorsement mula sa mga politiko, but we did not do that. We did the other way which was basta maka-enroll ka at makapasa ka sa entrance exam, automatically wala ka nang babayaran. We really chose that method because ayaw namin mapulitika ang proseso. Ayaw namin magkaroon ng sitwasyon na kailangan kang humingi ng endorsement sa politiko, o kailangan kang magmano sa SUC president. We try to take politics out of it by giving it outright. So itong paggagawa ng bagong kondisyon, kailangan pro-government ka para makuha mo yan, that is against the spirit of the law that we wrote.

Q: Speaking of Malacañang, the country is polarized into either you're red or you're yellow. Ang tawag ay "dilawan". I'd like you to describe yourself. Are you completely anti-Duterte?

Sen. Bam: No. If you look at our track record, there will be many areas where we need to work together like Education and Health. We just talked about the Universal Health Care, the Free College. We just passed the 4Ps laws. I was one of the authors of the 4Ps laws. We did a lot of work with DepEd because I chaired Education for some time. With DTI and Sec. Lopez, he's still a close friend of ours because of Go Negosyo. DOST, we have a really good relationship with them. 95% of everything that goes through the Senate will be for the welfare of the people. Kailangan tayong magtulungan. Sometimes, you even find the minority at the forefront of that. The Expanded Maternity Leave, was I think Risa's law. So maraming mga batas na nagbibigay sa ating taumbayan, galing yan sa mga Senador na walang kulay yan at that point.

But, maraming mga issues na kailangan rin maraming tumututol. You have the Minimum Age of Criminal Liability, you have Martial Law extenion in Mindanao, you have the killings which are happening today, you have a Drug War na masyadong bayolente. Pabor tayo sa paglaban sa droga, pero hindi tayo pabor sa karahasan. You have leanings towards China which are bad for our Filipino workers and fishermen. You also have laws and policies na meron namang marginalized. Kailangan rin na may mga taong handang tumutol paminsan-minsan. And if that paints you already na anti ka sa lahat. Palagay ko, hindi naman fair yun. Pero mahalaga na may tumututol. Mayroon pa ring independent Senate na kaya magsabi kung ano ba talaga yung maganda sa tao. I think at the end of the day, that should be the standard. Hindi yung kung ano ang gusto ng boss o kung ano gusto ng presidente. It should be kung ano ba ang mabuti sa tao o hindi mabuti para sa tao.

Q: So how do you explain, Senator, that the Martial Law in Mindanao there was a survey taken and it was popular. They agreed with it, in terms of the President's Drug War it's also getting support.

Sen. Bam: I want to challenge the Drug War. The first question is always, pabor ba kayo na labanan ang droga? Kahit ako tanungin kung pabor ba ako na labanan ang droga, syempre yes tayo dyan. But the second question is more telling, which is "pabor ba kayo sa patayan?" And the answer sa "pabor ba kayo sa patayan" is also overwhelmingly against sa patayan. This is the nuance na hinahanap natin. Kunyari, pabor ba kayo na may mga batang kriminal? Syempre, hindi tayo pabor dyan! But the second question: pero pabor ba kayo na ikulong sila? Hindi. Hindi tayo pabor na ikulong sila. Sometimes, yung pangalawang tanong na iyong, kailangan mo ng independent na Senador o grupo na magsasabi na: "Teka lang, bago niyo gawin yan, let's ask the second question. Let's ask a third question para mas maging pino ang gusto nating gawin na polisiya." Same with the Train law, maganda ba na tumaas ang koleksyon ng gobyerno? Of course! Pero maganda ba na taasan mo ang diesel at gasolina? Hindi. So a lot of the times, kailangan mo pa rin ng grupo na magsasabi na teka lang, bago niyo ituloy yan, pag-aralan muna natin and let's look ano ba talaga ang pabor sa tao at hindi.

Q: Sen. Manny Pacquiao was here and he said that he wants an increase in Tobacco and alcohol taxes. He feels that the excise tax on fuel, although he was not one of four who voted against it...

Sen. Bam: For the record, that's myself, Sen. Lacson, Sen. Hontiveros and Sen. Trillanes.

Q: Ano pang pwede mong gawin pagdating sa TRAIN?

Sen. Bam: Unang-una, tanggaling mo ang excise tax on fuel. Tanggalin mo yun. That is the whole provision which from the start, controversial na. From the start, kinukuwestiyon natin. Hindi yun dapat napasa to begin with. Just take out that provision. Kung mayroon kayong idadagdag sa matatamis na inumin, sige na lang. O sa mga sin products, sige na lang. Pero pagdating sa diesel at gasolina, kapag dinadagdagan mo yan, may epekto yan sa iba't ibang produkto. Pangalawa, wala rin tayong kontrol sa presyo ng krudo sa mundo. It can go up and down without our control. Bakit mo dadagdagan ang isang bagay na alam mo namang hindi mo kontrolado? Last year, umabot yan ng 80 dollars per barrel. At that time, nagtawag at nanawagan na tayo na i-suspend na ang increase ngayong January 2019. Initially sabi nila, yes isu-suspend pero eventually tinuloy rin. We're gonna feel na very very soon tumataas nanaman ang presyo ng krudo sa mundo, may dagdag pa sa TRAIN Law. Yung efforts ng gobyerno na ibaba ang presyo ng bilihin, it would be counter balanced by these pressures pushing prices up. In 2020, we have another increase.

Q: Kapag nag-iikot kayo, does it reflect? Do people actually complain about it? Because when you look at the surveys, the support for the administration is very strong.

Sen. Bam: Ang ayaw ng tao ay tumataas ang presyo ng bilihin. Hindi na nila masyadong nadedetalye kung ano ang proseso ng pagbaba nito pero gusto nilang ibaba ito. One thing that the government is doing is to allow more importation. For me, you can allow more importation to get prices lower but you have to make sure..

Q: But do you agree with the rice tarrification bill?

Sen. Bam: The farmers need to be protected. All of the Senators whether you are for it or against it, need to look at that. Every time you allow more importation, our local producers are hit. Our chicken producers have been complaining left and right dahil sa pagpasok ng imported na manok, sirang-sira ang negosyo nila. Itong farmers ay nanganganib din sa pagpasok ng imported na bigas. Kailangan natin silang matulungan at maprotektahan. Ang takot ko lang ay parang TRAIN Law, may reporma na gagawin pero yung safety net hindi naman naka-ready. Right now, the challenge for government is to actually prove that they can actually have safety nets. Na kaya nilang gumawa ng programa na tutulong sa affected na sektor. For the rice tarrification, it is very clear that we have 2M rice farmers and a percentage of that is at risk dahil hindi sila competitive. Ano ang tulong na pwedeng ibigay sa kanila, dapat mabigay yun abgo pa pumasok ang imported na bigas sa ating bansa.

Q: Our first story today was about the outbreak of measles in the country. You do have sectors blaming it essentially on the scare regarding Dengvaxia. You do have some people that already have said, or there were Senate hearings about it, that President Aquino at one point was really responsible for Dengvaxia. (inaudible) You must have studied it, do you feel that he is responsible for it?

Sen. Bam: Yes. he is responsible for Dengvaxia because he made the decision to bring it in. Now whether Dengvaxia did lead to those deaths or not is really the question na palagay ko napulitika na talaga. You have other countries right now also allowing the usage of Dengvaxia in their countries. Of course, with certain conditions. The DOH has already said also that titingnan nila kung paano ang tamang pag-administer nito. Now, the problem there came up nung napulitika ang Dengvaxia. Nagkaroon na maraming fake news. At that time, Sec. Aguirre sinasabi niya na marami nang namatay sa Dengvaxia. Until now, that's not proven. The professors in UP, the DOH, are not backing that up. Honestly, kahit yung media sinakyan rin ang kuwentong iyon. Anong nangyari, lumaki nang lumaki iyong kuwento kahit hindi naman talaga proven scientifically yung mga paratang ng ibang government officials. Ang nangyari, ang mga tao ay natakot na sa vaccine. Plus of course, we know all over the world, meron talagang anti-vaccine movement na nangyayari. it's all over Facebook. So parang nag-perfect storm. Now, ano iyong dapat gawin ngayon? I thing we should stop blaming people. I know there are other people also blaming government agencies for the measles outbreak.

Q: There are other people also blaming Atty. Percida Acosta for causing the scare. Do you believe she did?

Sen. Bam: Yes, well she contributed to it. Lahat ng nagke-claim na may namatay sa Devangxia. DOH, professors, and doctors have said that it is not proven. Hindi mo masasabi na truth yan. These are your scientists. So kung hindi tayo makikinig sa mga scientists, kanino pa tayo makikinig Karen? Right now, we should just stop. Itigil na ang blame game. Let's focus on the children. 170 children have already died because of the measles outbreak. Namumulitika pa ang mga tao, may mga namamatay na na mga bata. We should set it aside. From the beginning, we should have set aside politics. Pagdating sa kalusugan, education, at welfare, hindi ito dapat pinupulitika. Set politics aside and focus on the children right now. I know DOH is doing their best para magkaroon ng vaccination programs at reinformation programs, dun na lang tayo magfocus. Let's put all of the politics aside at magfocus tayo sa mga bata. Can you imagine na 170 ang namatay sa isang disease na mayroon nang vaccine? How crazy is that! Children are dying from a disease na matagal nang dapat nawala sa ating bayan.

Q: And no less than the President is calling everyone sa mga magulang na dalhin niyo na ang mga anak niyo para magpabakuna.

Sen. Bam: Yes. At this point ang pinakamahalaga talaga ay stop the blaming, stop the politicking at magfocus tayo sa mga bata.

Q: February 25, EDSA. It will be the 33rd year. We talked about it first: the pluses about being an Aquino and the minuses, you said it. Before we go to EDSA, when it comes out in debates na dapat bang ikulong si dating Pangulong Aquino para sa Mamasapano, dapat bang managot siya sa marami. You weren't the former President and yet you bring the same family name. Where do you put yourself in that situation?

Sen. Bam: Alam mo, it goes in all ways. May mga tao who will like me because of things my relatives have done. That's a plus. Tanggap mo yan. So kung may negative, syempre tanggap mo rin dapat yan. It's just the way it is. Any positives and negatives, that's just how it is. You hope that above the positive and negatives, mayroon ka nang enough track record, enough na nagawa para sa bayan para piliin ka rin.

Q: Have you ever been asked: "What could have President Aquino done better?"

Sen. Bam: Lahat ng administration, wala namang perfect. Everybody will have a plus and a minus at the end of their term. Yung development ng ating bansa, walang makakagawa niyan in 6 years. Laging may area na maganda, may area na nagkulang. For example, it was during the time of President Aquino na traffic really got worst. He did a lot of things to try to fix that and maybe marami doon mangyayari pa in this administration or the next administration because infrastructure really takes time. Ang hindi ko lang gusto ay kapag ipinapamukha na wala silang nagawang tama. Na hindi na naman tama. During PNoy's time, our inflation was quite low. It was mitigated. Wala tayong rice crisis, the K12, the 4Ps was expanded, PhilHealth was also expanded during his time. A lot of these things na social welfare ang focus ay nagawa sa time ni President Aquino. Sinasabi ko lang yan dahil kapag nakita mo ang social media, para wala namang tamang nagawa. Hindi naman tama iyon.

Q: It was Tolentino who was asked in Fast Talk about traffic. When it comes to the MRT problems, do you agree that this was caused by essentially former Sec. Roxas, former Sec. Abaya? There was a Senate hearing that they were called. The Ombudsman also filed a case against Abaya ang company. Looking at it in hindsight, do you believe they were responsible for the MRT problem?

Sen. Bam: We could have done more sa issue na iyon. But a lot of the things that they did also takes time to happen. For example, naging controversial ang mga coaches. But in the end, ginamit din naman. Marami sa mga ginawa especially in terms of infrastructure will take time. Honestly, maganda itong Build, Build, Build. But to be honest, none of these projects will be finished in President Duterte's time. It will be the next administration that will benefit from that. Kailangan mo rin siyang tignan in that perspective. Na marami sa ginagawa ng gobyerno, it takes time bago mabuo.

Q: Back still with us on Hot Copy, Senator Bam Aquino

Sen. Bam: Pwede ba akong bumati, Karen?

Q: Opo, yes. Batiin mo yung...

Sen. Bam: Hi, Erin! Hi, JV!

Q: For those watching you right now.

Sen. Bam: Hey, guys!

Q: I've asked many candidates about him, JV is also struggling. I mean, Jinggoy, his brother was very popular, and especially very charming on the campaign trail. And JV is marketing his track record and someone said, it may not be enough.

Sen. Bam: Well, kami ni Senator JV, we're on a similar boat. He sponsored the Universal Health Care; I sponsored the Free College Tuition. And, groups against us are trying to take it away from us. Other groups are claiming it, etc. etc. So, sana po kaming mga re-electionists, yung pagtrato sa amin based talaga sa nagawa na namin - base sa track record. I think, people can make better decisions looking at what we've actually done, how we voted. In a perfect setting sana ganoon po yung paraan ng pagtrato po sa aming re-electionists.

Q: I know you're not gonna comment on other who are running, let's save you from that choice. Now, but then, let me just ask anyway, anong pakiramdam mo. I mean you have Lito Lapid for example hasn't been in the Senate for a long time, flaring in the Top 12. Jinggoy, is in the Top 12. Bong Revilla, at one point during former Aquino's time. I mean na-detain sila, naakusahan, and then, now do you see this a vindication of what Jinggoy says "selective justice"? Hindi ba to parang comeuppance, parang galit kay PNoy noon?

Sen. Bam: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. I think they're running because they're very popular Senators - kilalang-kilala sila. In fact, both of them have been number one in the past. So, I don't think it's a...

Q: Bong Revilla?

Sen. Bam: Even Jinggoy. I don't think it's a reflection of the previous administration at all. Now, maraming tumatakbo, 66 candidates yan. People will vote for us for different reasons. May mga iba, emotional yung pagboto sa atin. "Wala gusto lang kita e. I don't care kung may nagawa ka, wala kang nagawa. Mabuti kang tao, 'di ka mabuting tao. Basta gusto kita." Emotional. Even irrational. Sometimes naman logical. Ito mukhang nagawa nya to, mukhang masipag naman, maganda naman yung track record - boboto ko siya. Yung iba naman transactional, "Oh ito, si Senator natulungan ako sa medical assistance, or noong humingi kami ng tulong para sa isang relief operations, tinulungan niya kami. Now, every candidate in every election, yung pagboto iba-ibang rason. And that's just how it is. Now, ako, I will prefer na yung mga tao, iboto ako dahil may nagawa na ako. Dahil yung pini-present naming platforms, maganda at gusto rin ng tao.

Q: Edsa in its 33 years. Let me start with this first, If Imee Marcos wins, can you work with her?

Sen. Bam: Yes. Because I worked with Bongbong.

Q: What was that like? How are you and Bongbong on the floor?

Sen. Bam: We worked on a few bills together. We worked on the SK Reform Act together. But there were certain things na magkabilang panig din kami.

Q: Pero, nag-uusap kayo?

Sen. Bam: Yes. The nature of the Senate is magkaka-iba dapat kayo. And I think that's something that mahalagang mapag-usapan. Hindi pwedeng isang grupo lang yan. Kung isang grupo lang yan, rubber stamp na yan. At sa kasaysayan natin, yung Senado yun yung last bastion of democracy. Yun yung sa pinakadulo magsasabi, kahit sa Presidente, "Teka lang a. Medyo 'di na tama yan." That's the Senate. And for that to happen, kailangan halo-halo yung nandyan. Meron kang oposisyon, meron kang administrasyon.

Q: Do you admire... I mean, in the past, you have some senators who wished they were Miriam. Do you have a role model opposition senator?

Sen. Bam: Well, of course, there's Frank Drilon, Serge Osmeña.

Q: But not today, search in the past.

Sen. Bam: These are people I've worked with.Si Serge, si Frank, yung mga old school. They're people we looked up as mentors. Kiko, of course.

Q: Why isn't Serge even in LP?

Sen. Bam: You can ask the slate, or you can ask him. But these are people who have handled themselves, I think, independently in the past. Anong ibig kong sabihin doon? Yung Senate na independent, mahalaga yan sa ating demokrasya. Hindi pwedeng lahat yan mula sa admin slate. Kailangan halo-halo yan. And babalik ako, kailangan halo-halo rin yung mga propesyon. You have soldiers, actors, businessmen, local government leaders, congressmen. In the past, they have doctors - maganda na iba-iba rin yung mga propesyon nila. Maganda na iba-iba rin yung kanilang educational attainment. I don't agree na dapat lahat may college degree. Dapat halo-halo rin yan.

Q: Actually, that was quite interesting. I asked Senator Manny Pacquiao regarding that, and I was surprised that he agreed to a college degree. Because, you do have no less the Chief Justice Hilario Davide saying, "No. It discriminated Filipinos na gustong manilbihan."

Sen. Bam: Exactly.

Q: Why do you think there's also Samira Gutoc, tinanong sa harapan, gusto niya may college degree, why is that it's polarizing?

Sen. Bam: It's one of those questions, (sa) palagay ko na depende na yan sa kandidato kung ano yung paningin niya. Maraming mga issue na ganyan na depende na yan sa kandidato. Pero, para sa akin, the more diverse the Senate, the better. Kung magkaka-ibang...

Q: Hindi kailangan ng college degree?

Sen. Bam: Hindi kailangan ng college degree. Hindi kailangan lahat abogado. Hindi kailangan lahat pabor sa administrasyon. Kailangan yung mga tao dyan, iba't - iba yung pinanggalingan, at may kakayahan na magsalita at manindigan. Kasi kung iba-iba nga kayo, e lahat naman kayo lagging sumusunod din lang, hindi rin maganda. Dapat yung mga tao po sa Senado, and again this is a special place in our history for the Senate, kailangan yung mga tao po dyan, handang makipagtulungan kung kailangan, handang makipaglaban kung kinakailangan.

Q: Di ba ang hirap noon na ang campaign manager ng PDP-Laban is Manny Pacquiao?

Sen. Bam: No. Our campaign manager's pretty okay too. Senator Pangilinan, okay din naman yun diba? There's no problem.

Q: I mean, in terms of popularity, isn't it much harder that they have Manny Pacquiao goes around.

Sen. Bam: Alam mo, talagang mahirap yung ginagawa natin. Make no mistake. Ang ginagawa ng Otso Diretso, hindi talaga madali. And, para manalo ang Otso Diretso, more of us or all of us will take, yung tao mismo kailangan lumabas at magsabing, "Gusto na naming ng iba." So, mahalaga talaga na...

Q: Do you have more money to spend now than before?

Sen. Bam: No. Actually, wala.

Q: I was gonna say there was a poll that came out accounting January to February, we have Bong Go, Mar Roxas, and I forget the other one have spent 400 million pesos.

Sen. Bam: Yes. I'm in that list also by the way for disclosure. Like, six or seven.

Q: But, are you spending more now?

Sen. Bam: No. No, we're not spending more now. May mga limits yung pwede mong i-spend. So, you try your best to raise enough money na aabot doon sa limit.

Q: But, even before the campaign period, James Jimenez said the problem is the spending goes before the official period.

Sen. Bam: Yes. Because, when other candidates started to plug the airwaves with their commercials, and plug our streets with their tarpaulins, siyempre kailangan mong makipag-compete. And interestingly enough, yung mga lumalapit, mga nagdo-donate, tumutulong, may gigil din sila ngayon e. "Senator, gusto ka naming tulungan kasi kailangan naming may independent sa Senado." So, in fairness, people are more energetic. But, to be honest, marami ring natatakot na mag-bigay, natatakot na ma-identify sa oposisyon.

Q: Nakikita mo iyon?

Sen. Bam: Nangyayari talaga yun. Pero yun makikita mo yun sa...

Q: What do you say? Is there who supported you before tapos ngayon takot na...

SBA: Hindi na nagrerespond sa tawag ko. Baka seen-zoned na lang ngayon di ba?

Q: Hindi ka, you're bitter?

Sen. Bam: Not at all. Iba talaga ngayon e. The administration has shown a vengeance for being a little vindictive, really going after people na they perceived na kalaban. So, naiintindihan ko yan. Pero, yang set na yan, these are with their...

Q: Pero wala kang factor na "Gaganti ako pagdating ng panahon."

Sen. Bam: Wala. But these are the people na malalaking tao. Yung baka mas kinakabahan na lumabas para sa'yo. Pero, pag-ikot mo sa mga communities, yung mga tao po doon, go na go sila. Wala silang pakialam. In fact, earlier you said, "Ngayon parang red or yellow ka." That's not true. On the ground, walang ibig sabihin ang kulay. Ang hinahanap ng tao, mga taong tutulong sa kanila. And I mean that with all honesty. When I go into an area, marami sa kanila naka-Duterte baller, naka-Duterte t-shirt, and to be honest, we go to areas na marami doon nanalo si President Duterte heavily. Pero, pag pinag-uusapan ninyo, "Kamusta na po ba ang presyo ng bigas dito?" "Yung anak po ba ninyo nakapag-college o hindi?" It breaks down all walls and all barriers. Because our people are looking for leaders na kakampi sila.

KD: Do you think people have forgotten it. I'll just go back to Atty. Larry Gadon, quite interestingly, in Fast Talk in the last Harapan 2019 were being a true Marcos loyalist said, "Walang nakaw na yaman ang mga Marcos. Walang Human Rights Violations ang mga Marcos. Katunayan mas maraming Human Rights violations daw noong panahon ni PNoy and he named a few others. You couldn't say anything 'cause it was a Fast Talk segment,

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