Press Release
April 6, 2006

Transcript of interview with Ambassador Kristie Kenney
and Senate President Franklin Drilon

Q: On meeting with Drilon

Kenney: I want to let you know that we are pleased with the privilege and the pleasure to be received here at the Senate. I know it has been a very busy week because they prepare for the Holy Week break. Its an honor for me to be received by such a distinguished member. Obviously, Im still learning about the Philippines. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from an expert, get to know how the Senate works here and what are the many opportunities ahead of us. I thank you very much.

Q: On the New York Times editorial

Kenney: The New York Times is a private news media. Like all news media, we appreciate their opportunity to speak freely. Thanks. (End of ambush interview)

Interview at the OSP Conference Room

SPFMD: I did ask her about the New York Times editorial. She said this is a private organization. Obviously, this is a view that they have taken. Its a widely-read newspaper in the States. Certainly, US President George W. Bush reads the editorial of NY Times. Beyond that, she did not say anything else. It was her first visit. Therefore, she is getting a briefing as to how legislation works, if its the same as the US Congress. She mentioned that she did read in the papers about the passage of the anti-terrorism bill. I told her that the anti-terror bill has been sponsored in the Senate. And we will take it up when we return in May.

Q: For one hour, briefing lang iyon?

SPFMD: Syempre. We talked of other things, she was a Page in the US Senate in her younger days. Her husband, it turns out, is also an ambassador. He is in Venezuela.

Q: Did the ambassador convey some concerns over the Philippines not having passed the anti-terror bill?

SPFMD: The mention of the passage of the anti-terrorism bill in the House and the question as to where it is in the Senate is to me, an indication of the US governments interest in the passage of an anti-terrorism bill. She didnt say so directly, since it could be interpreted as an interference on our internal affairs. But certainly I could sense the interest of the United States in the passage of the anti-terror bill.

Q: Were there other concerns raised by the ambassador as far as legislation, political situation are concerned?

SPFMD: No, she said that from what she has seen so far, theres a lot of potential in our country. She certainly looks forward to a very fruitful term here as ambassador in the Philippines. It was a general getting-to-know-you kind of meeting.

Q: What do you think about the NY Times editorial?

SPFMD: It reflects the sentiment of many of the political observers in our country today. The unresolved issues that must be addressed squarely. This will continue to erode on the ability of the President to govern, until the issue is addressed properly.

Q: Can you say that the fact that the political situation the country landed in the editorial page of the NY Times, its an indication of her stand

SPFMD: Its an indication that the situation in the Philippines has attracted international attention. Its significant that the repressive measures adopted in the past couple of months, which is the subject of the editorial. It only indicates the displeasure of the international community, of the democracies around the world on what has been happening in our country today in terms of the danger signals to our democratic institutions. (end)

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