Press Release
August 18, 2011

Excerpts from Kapihan sa Senado with former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

On Sub-State

I would like to suggest that the government when it meets with the rebels in Malaysia, should have an over-all, all-inclusive solution to the problem. Not a solution only to the issues raised by the MILF because the MNLF does not belong to the MILF. Obviously, the group of Commander Kato no longer recognizes the MILF as his unit's mother organization. Therefore, if that is the feeling of Commander Kato, I am sure many other armed groups in the region would feel the same way not excluding the Lumads, the non-muslim group which is also sizable in that area.

The use of the word sub-state, number one, I don't think it is acceptable in international law. The recognized solution to secessionist movements in international law is the adoption of a Federal system, the Federal form of government, because that is far easier to understand and has a lot of historical moorings that will help people know what it is meant when you have a Federal State. For example, with the Bangsa Moro operating in Mindanao, within the Republic of the Philippines.

Any move of that kind (sub-state), including the adoption of a Federal System, will require a Constitutional amendment and that is why all these talks that they are doing in Kuala Lumpur or some state in Malaysia will have to undergo a lot requirements before they become part of the law.

My suggestion has always been that the government should come up with an all-inclusive formula that is acceptable to all the factions involved. And that formula is none other than the adoption of a Federal State for the Bangsa Moro because in my little experience dealing with our friends who belong with these armed groups, I have always gotten the impression that yes, they are in favor of the adoption of a Federal State rather than go through with the anxiety of a sub-state which has a very nebulous meaning in the concept of sovereignty of nations whereas a Federal State has always been accepted as part of a solution to secessionist movement or armed rebellion.

An all-inclusive formula of peace and development in accordance with the Constitution, even if we have to amend the Constitution if it comes to that matter, but which will be satisfactory for the Muslim armed groups as well to the Lumads.

On Federal States

Under the Federal concept that I have envisioned, the whole of the Philippines will become a Federal Republic. There will be four Federal States in Luzon, Metro Manila will become a sort of Washington, D.C. or a New Delhi; Visayas will have four Federal States, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and the Mindoro-Palawan and one other to compose the four states while Mindanao will have three states, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and the Bangsa Moro.

In terms of governance, the Federal States will have their own governors elected by the people within that specific geographical area as well as their own legislature. But there should also be a national legislature, much like the U.S., with Congress and Senate, but the Senate this time will be elected by region instead of national. So structurally, that is the concept. But the local governments more or less will remain as they are unless changed by the Federal States concerned.

On the FOI Bill

The Freedom of Information Bill is demanded by the times so that the government will not keep secrets away from the people which will impact on their lives. But obviously, there should be some reasonable exceptions, like matters under negotiations and foreign affairs or state secrets that cannot be divulge without prejudicing the national interests. I am sorry to say but in my opinion I think the right to reply is better than this FOI.

On Koko's chairmanship of two committees

Even before he assumed his office, all the committees had already been distributed to all senators leaving nothing to him, in anticipation of his becoming a senator. It's a good thing that they finally decided to allow him to chair two committees, one is more substantial than the other and I speak of the Committee on Electoral Reforms and since that is one of his advocacies, probably that fits into at least one of his agenda as a senator.

On Anti-Terrorism Law

I was one of the principal authors of that. The amendments that I introduced were accepted and embedded into the anti-terrorism law. If you have an anti-terrorism law that allows the government to just pick anyone, you can just imagine the damage that it can cost to people who might turn out to be innocent. The message behind that "high damage payment" for somebody who is mistakenly arrested for being a terrorist, is precisely to compel the authorities to be a little more certain when they arrest people on the ground of terrorism sapagkat non-bailable yata 'yon, if I am not mistaken. That can also destroy lives, not only for the persons who are directly arrested but also their families. Can you imagine the impact of that on a free society? So the message of that is that authorities must be careful before they implement a law to arrest people, put them behind bars and deny them the right to bail. Dapat more or less may basehan sila 'yong paghuhuli na'yun sa tao.

Among other things, because if you are a public office and you are running again for another public position, obviously you have an advantage against those who are not in office. Therefore, you have some influence over some law enforcement agencies. Therefore, it is possible to manipulate to some degree, the implementation of a well-intentioned law like the Anti-Terrorism law.

On the amendment wanted by the Aquino administration lowering the amount to less than five hundred thousand

The amount is not written on stone. It is subject to reasonable amendments. The main reason it was made a little high is to dissuade irresponsible arrest of innocent people. Kung hulihin ka lang without any ground, then, at the end of the day when you are free, babayaran ka ng gobyerno. It depends on the reasoning for lowering the threshold of five hundred thousand damages. Kung bababaan nila, it has to be done in reason. The argument should be persuasive. The point is that the law-enforcing agencies must be careful kung wala silang pruweba, wag sila basta-basta magdampot ng tao sapagkat sinisira nila ang buhay ng taong yun. The other reason is that they are also criminally liable for making a false arrest.

On the Statute of Rome

Yung Statue of Rome has been ratified by 80 or 90 countries in the world. Ang hindi na lang nag-approve 'nun is the US. Sapagkat ayaw nila na yung mga visiting forces in many countries should be subjected to local jurisdiction. Our problem is that dito sa atin, kung magkasala ang isang American soldier, like yung kay Smith, he was supposed to have been deprived of his liberty by detaining him at the US embassy. Sa Japan, hindi pwede yun. Bakit tayo iba ang trato? So that is what some of us are complaining against. If the US wants to be perceived as a fair nation, they should treat us as a sovereign state and not a vassal state.


The Supreme Court already had two oral arguments on the issue of the constitutionality of RA 10153 that is the republic act that cancels the ARMM elections and authorizes the President to appoint an OIC. We are challenging that republic act primarily because it did not muster a 2/3 vote of the Senate. It was passed overwhelmingly sa house pero pagdating sa Senado, 13 lang bumoto out of 20 senators who were present so that if you require a 2/3 vote ay kulang pa rin. Meaning to say, they cannot pass that law without complying with the 2/3 vote because that is what is required when a part of the ARMM law is amended and kailangan din ng plebisito so dalawang requirement. Pero hindi naman nangyari yung plebisito. That's what we are saying na unconstitutional yung batas na yun.

The reason why the administration of Noynoy is using the word cancellation is to forcibly cause a vacancy in these offices. So they can fill it up by appointing. So I said, you cannot do that because in effect you are correcting a wrong by another wrong. You are depriving the ARMM in electing their own leaders which is guaranteed by the constitution. In short, ganun ang mga argument and we were given 20 days to file a memorandum.

The Supreme Court can issue a TRO to the appointees and we are certainly hopeful that they will do that. We pointed out to the Supreme Court that the elections in the ARMM may be moved to September or October or even November because of circumstances beyond the control of the COMELEC.

On the Mayuga Report

Hindi ko nabasa yung report because that was suppressed during the Arroyo administration. We barely had an inkling kung ano ba talaga ang laman ng report na yun although now, it seems as if the Mayuga report implicates some high ranking officers of the Armed Forces. If this is true, my immediate reaction is to ask the Armed Forces and the Department of Justice to start prosecution of the people involved. There was a committee headed by Mayuga who obviously had a thorough investigation of the circumstances that led to the incidents complained of and that should be given some weight.

On the wire-tapping activities of the ISAFP

My office numbers were included in the tapped lines and that was really terrible only because I was a public official at that time but also tapping private numbers of individuals that really is undemocratic.

On the invitation of the Blue Ribbon Committee to Rep. Iggy Arroyo

When I was the Chair of the blue ribbon committee, I invited members of the House to come over and they did but not summon or subpoena. There's a difference. But if a subpoena is being issued to compel your attendance to attend , ibang usapan na yun. That would really be an infringement on a co-equal house na hindi pwede yun. Parliamentary wise, hindi pwede yun but you can invite.

On the issue that Inter-parliamentary courtesy is only secondary to national interest

Theoretically speaking, that is correct. But in practical terms, there is no way you can compel a member of a co-equal house to appear, if he does not want to appear. What is the recourse? Probably, a court ordered production of that witness but not by simply a coercive process to be issued by a co-equal body otherwise the implication is the other body is not co-equal to the one issuing the subpoena.

If Rep. Iggy Arroyo refuses to attend the hearing, what are the other ways for him to answer?

First, is to appeal to the leadership of the house, to effect the appearance of Rep. Iggy Arroyo. Probably kung wala na yun, a recourse to the justice department may also be a possibility. But my initial reaction is that the Supreme Court might wash their hands and say that this is a political issue, let the political branches of government determine that.

On filing a case against Rep. Iggy Arroyo

That would be the shortest cut possible so that wala ng passing the buck from one group to the other because of many technicalities so that if a case is filed, obviously, he has to face the music before the proper Courts.

The Senate can start handing the evidence to the Department of Justice just like what we did before when I was the Chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee. We sent over the findings to the Department of Justice or the Ombudsman, whichever, to start the investigation because eventually it will have to be the Department of Justice or the Ombudsman that is empowered by law to start the actual prosecution. Ganoon ang proseso.

You cannot force Rep. Iggy Arroyo to testify assuming na akusado siya. It is his right not to testify. So if he has the right not to testify, he has the right not to execute an affidavit.

On how to compel Rep. Iggy Arroyo to testify in the hearing

One possibility is to appeal to the leadership of the House of Representatives na irespeto ang aming request to ask Iggy to come. The other is to go to the Court to secure an order to compel Iggy to appear before the Senate which I think is malabo actually because the Court can say na political process 'yun between two Houses. Hindi kami makikialam. That's a possibility. About compelling a member of one House to another, hindi pa ata nasubukan 'yun.

On Iggy Arroyo taking the blame for Mike Arroyo

Yes, I remember when Mike Arroyo being charged as Jose Pidal, inangkin ni Iggy na siya iyon. Now, dito sa chopper issue mukhang lumalabas na hindi kay Mike Arroyo 'yun, akin. Parang ganoon ang dating. It looks like the pattern is there. If the pattern really exists, it just might be intended to shield his brother from further legal entanglements.

On Mike Arroyo being subpoenaed by the Blue Ribbon

There's nothing prohibiting the Blue Ribbon from inviting him. In my opinion, the more direct way of getting evidence is to subpoena Mike Arroyo.

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