Press Release
August 2, 2019


The statements I made yesterday were made in good faith and out of concern for our country and the President, whom I consider a friend. We have known each other since we were both mayors and believe that we have mutual respect.

I also have great respect for the military and the armed forces because they are the protector of the people and the State. However, at the same time, we want to assure the public that we are not militarizing the government.

In the Senate and in my entire career, my record speaks for itself. I have always supported a strong military, with a credible air force, navy, and coast guard. I will continue to do so because I believe that we need to strengthen the military in order to protect our country, especially during these challenging times.

During my first term as Senator, we authored and passed RA 6948 or the Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and their Dependents. We even pushed for a higher budget for the military and defense. In fact, during the deliberations of the TRAIN Law, we proposed that 15% of the collections from it be earmarked for military modernization and it passed the Senate. When it was later removed, I threatened to filibuster until the President called and assured me that the executive would ensure that it would be implemented.

I take no offense at the President's comments. As I have said, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and we cannot be onion skinned about such things. I will continue to focus on working hard to serve the country and the people. Our goal as public servants is not any higher office, but to remain steadfast in service to ensure that we uplift the lives of our people, and that is what I try to do every day.

I am happy that President is concerned about my waistline, but he need not worry about that. My wife has seen to it that I have reduced it significantly of late. But I appreciate that he is concerned about by health as I am about his.

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