Press Release
April 28, 2006

Transcript of interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On the launching of Stop Chacha

SPFMD: I think the cha-cha train is effectively stopped on its tracks. Ito pong Stop Chacha will effectively derail the cha-cha train.

Q: How, sir?

SPFMD: Because we will have the citizens involved. Ito po ang tunay na sigaw ng bayan. Ang mamamayan ang mangunguna upang pigilin iyong chacha train.

Q: Mamamayan ang mangunguna hindi ang mga pari?

SPFMD: Ang obispo ang magbibigay ng moral guidance sa ating mga mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng kanilang pastoral letter na binasa ng ating Archbishop Tony Ledesma.

Q: Are you confident that the people will follow?

SPFMD: Yes, I am confident. In fact, yesterday the meeting that I had with Brother Mike Velarde was very encouraging. He threw his full support behind this effort to stop this totally illegal and immoral effort to amend our Constitution.

Q: Would you rather that the bishops do a Cardinal Sin when he called for the people to go to the streets?

SPFMD: I think they have made their statement. Let's leave it at that. They have issued a pastoral letter. The presence here of Archbishop Tony Ledesma is a very strong signal of the call of the CBCP for the people to get involved.

Q: But if you go to the streets, do you expect them to go as well?

SPFMD: This is a process. As President Cory said, it took 14 years for the people's revolution. We do not want to have any timetable. In fact, this is just the start of the consolidation of all the sectors that are similarly minded to stop the chacha train.

Q: Do you take it as an institutional stand of the church?

SPFMD: The statement of the Catholic bishop is an institutional statement of the CBCP. The CBCP represents the church. We are satisfied with the stand that they have taken.

Q: What about the suggestion that since the people's initiative started in the barangays, the anti-chacha should also start in the barangays

SPFMD: That is precisely the reason for the workshop. We do not want to preempt anything. This is precisely people-based, in the grassroots. We would want it that way. Ito ang tunay na people's initiative.

Q: Paano mama-manifest ng mga tao ang support against chacha?

SPFMD: Sa pamamagitan ng pagpapahayag ng kanilang tunay na damdamin. Hindi iyong damdamin ng ilang namumuno na may sariling agenda.

Q: This is not just leaders behind the campaign?

SPFMD: Certainly, yes. You can see that this is people-based.

Q: Will you also initiate a signature campaign to block chacha?

SPFMD: No, we will not. We do not want to preempt anything. If you noticed, the second question in the workshop was: "What suggested steps should be taken in order to stop the chacha train?"

Q: What role do you expect the former President to play in this movement?

SPFMD: President Cory has lent her support. I am certain she will continue to provide moral leadership together with the CBCP in this effort.

Q: Will she go around the country?

SPFMD: We do not want to preempt what the people will be proposing in the workshop.

Q: What about you, as Senate President?

SPFMD: We will follow what the plans that will be laid out in this workshop.

Q: If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the people's initiative, would you legally contest it sir?

SPFMD: We will follow what the Supreme Court will say.

Q: How else can you counter it?

SPFMD: If the people's initiative is valid, then there is a one process and that is the plebiscite. And that is what we are doing. In other words, the people's initiative is just to authorize the holding of a plebiscite. It does not mean that if the Supreme Court says the people's initiative is valid, everything is finished. It's just a ruling that the process of amending the Constitution can now begin. The process will end if the people will finally ratify. Therefore, there will be now a campaign to oppose the ratification and the amendment.

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