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SS now has a clearer view of the abstention Dist. 1 Congressman, Celso Lobregat took on the   passage of the bill creating the Autonomous Bangamoro Region (ABR)

Lobregat had so suitably disputed criticisms of the opposing camp, most recently was what Coun. Rommel Agan hurled against him, alleging Lobregat abandoned the interest of Zamboanga City when he abstained from voting on the passage of the BBL..

In reaction Lobregat thundered an assurance that all of Zamboanga City’s major interests are already protected and included in the substitute House Bill 6475 creating the ABR.

Lobregat reasoned that instead of having six (6) plebiscites, the 1st upon ratification, and every five (5) years thereafter for a period of 25 years in the original bill, he was able to change it in the substitute bill that was approved by Congress where only one (1) plebiscite will be held upon ratification of the BBL.

“What would have my perennial critic wanted? For me to vote NO? If I voted NO, that would mean I am in favor of six plebiscites in a period of 25 years which is definitely not what the Zamboangeños want(ed.) So, how would Zamboanga City’s interest be abandoned?” Lobregat   roared.

Lobregat articulated that in the original HB6475, even a barangay that petitions to join Bangsamoro through the 10% provision and obtains a majority vote in the barangay, will be allowed to be part of the Bangsamoro. “I fought and made a stand. And in the substitute HB6475 bill, a barangay cannot join without the expressed approval of the entire city. Isn’t this what the Zamboangeños want? That no barangay will become part of the Bangsamoro? Definitely in any plebiscite, the city will vote against any barangay being part of the Bangsamoro. So please do not distort the facts that I did not take a stand, I took a stand and many of the provisions in the original house bill were amended because of my stand,” Lobregat stressed.

One other very important issue, Lobregat said, is the Cabatangan property issue. In the original HB6475, all properties of the ARMM will be AUTOMATICALLY transferred to the Bangsamoro upon its ratification. Lobregat said he took a strong stand, and in the Substitute HB6475, all properties of the ARMM will be transferred to the Bangsamoro EXCEPT THOSE THAT ARE LOCATED OUTSIDE THE AREA OF the ARMM (E.G. CABATANGAN WILL NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO BANGSAMORO).

“If I voted NO, it means to say that I am in favor for the automatic transfer of the Cabatangan properties to the Bangsamoro. So, I have definitely taken a stand and protected Zamboanga City’s interest on the Cabatangan issue,” Lobregat said.

Lobregat said he is urging the “sabiondos” not to engage in false information to malign him and his efforts to protect and defend Zamboanga City’s interests in Congress.

“Who is telling the truth and who is misleading the people? Deficil disperta con el despierto, y tormento gayot hace entende con el serao el pensamiento… I have led and will continuously leading the move for NO to Zamboanga’s inclusion in the ARMM, MOA-AD, and Bangsamoro.” Lobregat  spoke proudly.

See? Lobregat knows his onions.

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CPA-lawyer Emilio Benito Aquino is the new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chief for the next seven years.

Aquino, who hails from this city rose from the ranks at the SEC, succeeds lawyer Teresita Herbosa, whose term ended in March.

Double congratulations, Kuya Chair. Your promotion definitely comes as a gift to your 28th wedding anniversary.

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Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is in for another trouble. The Court of Appeals has declared illegal the payment of $6 million in attorney’s fees to her and her co-counsels for handling the international arbitration case between the government and the builder of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

The court’s Special 11th Division found that the funds used for payment were obtained without public bidding, and that there was no appropriation for the expenditure. (By Jimmy Cabato)

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