On a personal note, how do you feel about the deaths of those who were part of the convoy, including the 30 journalists?
First of all, it is painful to lose a loved one. Second, my sisters and other relatives were part of the convoy –- there were more than 10 of them. Third, my friends from the media were there and their deaths are very painful to me; one of them was very close to me, he was like more than a brother to me.
Is there any truth to the reports that even before Nov. 23, you had been receiving threats from the Ampatuans?
They had been threatening us for a long time. The Ampatuans don’t want anyone challenging them. They kill anyone who challenges them. They recently did precisely that.
Did you know there was such a threat when the convoy proceeded?
You know, what the Ampatuans want is to make franchises out of elective positions in Maguindanao. But we are in a democracy, and there should be no obstacle to anyone running for public office as long as he is a bona fide resident of the place where he is running.
What led you to still run under the Lakas-Kampi coalition, the same party that had fielded the Ampatuans?
I have been with Lakas-Kampi ever since, and now the Ampatuans have been expelled from the party. There was no one running for governor when my loved ones died. My loyalties are really with Lakas-Kampi. (Bulatlat.com)