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Saturday, 29 August 2015 11:58




Los Angeles, CA. — The title of my last column should have read “Almost nAPO”. At times, due to bad copy editing, I miss certain words, especially prepositions, that make some sentences grammatically wrong. Sorry, lang ha. (Mea culpa. Apologies — Editor)

“Big brother”, “kuya”, “Manong”, or whatever it is that Mayor Ma. Isabelle G. Climaco-Salazar wishes to call Congressman Celso L. Lobregat, is of no moment. What’s significant (and I knew it all along) is that she’s making a second run at the mayorship, a bold and decisive step that will not sit well with “kuya”.

What do you think was all the pomp and high fives to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the death of a dream that was the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD)? Why did we not celebrate the ‘victory’ six years ago, five years ago, etc.? Why specifically this year? Because, damas y caballeros, this is Mr. Lobregat’s springboard to retaking city hall from the clutches of a woman (he made mayor) aiming to stay there six more years.

I will not tell you anymore what transpired at the mighty chamber of the Supreme Court seven years ago. I witnessed it, together with the other petitioners then Congressman Erbie Fabian and Congresswoman Climaco-Salazar, Senators Mar Roxas and Franklin Drilon, to mention a few. Oh, yes, Atty. Vic Solis was there, too. I also wrote the story from my room at Corporate Inn.

This time, the mayor held no punches in saying that Mr. Lobregat is better situated at the Batasan complex where he can best take care of the welfare of Zamboanga city through legislation. True. Mr. Lobregat while in congress authored dozens of bills, a good number of them becoming laws, when he sat for six years from 1998-2004 and present. He was voted one of the most outstanding congressmen in only his first term and later on became a member of the powerful Commission on Appointments.

Mr. Lobregat earned his spurs through hard work and extensive research on crucial issues such as the MOA-AD and presently the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We can’t tell what’s going to happen in the next few days as both Houses of congress start floor debates and eventual voting on the BBL. We don’t even know if the main recipient of a polished Bangsamoro, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, will accept the overhauled bill that has been crafted to suit not only the Muslims from the north but also from the south.

Very recently, the phantom of the opera, Nur Misuari came out with a statement from Allah knows where that he is willing to make peace with the government for as long it drops all criminal charges against him. OMG! After ordering 500 of his well-trained commandos to attack Zamboanga on Sept. 9, 2013, he now pleads for his life by scattering thoughts of peace in the atmosphere? That’s a matter for PNoy to consider. He is, after all, the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

But seriously, Mr. Lobregat, with his vast legislative knowledge, is best suited as a congressman. This so-called Mindanao conflict will never end, unless the rebels turn in their weapons of destruction. That’s why we need him in congress — to protect Zamboanga from being taken.This revitalized autonomous region should embrace all Muslims - Maguindanaoans, Tausogs, Samals, even Yakans, and whatever tribes that call themselves Muslim.

Going back to the mayor-congressman tussle, if the “war” comes about, that is if no one gives way, we will lose a crown jewel in congress and welcome a “new arrival”, a door-buster in the person of Monsi de la Cruz.