Press Release
May 18, 2006

Transcript of interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On Fort Bonifacio row

SPFMD: the presidential proclamation was way beyond the number of presidential proclamations issued at that time. I could not understand how the RTC judge in Pasig could have ruled that the proclamation was valid. There is absolutely no basis for these retired officials to claim that they are there because of this presidential proclamation.

Q: Will you support the recommendation of the committee of Senator Gordon for the amendment to the Constitution to be treated like a normal bill?

SPFMD: I will support whatever is the recommendation of the committee. If that is the decision of the committee, we will support it.

Q: Do you have the same interpretation

SPFMD: As early as 1999, I made a paper basically arguing that we need not constitute ourselves as a Constituent Assembly. We can process amendments to the Constitution separately, both houses, as long as number one, the required votes under the Constitution for amendments is followed and the amendment is ratified by the people. In fact, the rules of the House would allow this process to be followed.

Q: Malacañang is rejecting that interpretation

SPFMD: Malacañang , you must remember, has nothing to do with amendments to the Constitution. Amending the Constitution is basically a legislative function. Malacañang cannot approve or veto a resolution which will propose amendments to the Constitution. That is purely a function of the Constituent Assembly, which is composed of the two houses of Congress. This is one aspect of work where Malacañang has absolutely no participation. Except, of course, as a political leader, the President can exert her influence. But as a matter of procedure, the resolution proposing amendments to the Constitution enacted by both houses of Congress sitting as a Constituent Assembly does not need the approval of Malacañang . The views of Malacañang , sad to say, at this particular point would have no bearing on the legality of the process.

Q: They should not meddle in the dialogue?

SPFMD: This is purely a legislative matter. Malacañang should not interfere. Because this is a legislative matter which under the Constitution is left to Congress. Any doubt on the legality of the process we are suggesting, will ultimately be settled in the Supreme Court. But not by Malacañang .

Q: Sen. Gordon is going directly to the House without passing through the body...

SPFMD: This is a dialogue that they are conducting. The result of this dialogue will be reported to the Chamber. (end)

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