Press Release
June 22, 2006

Transcript of Ambush Interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On charter change

SPFMD: We maintain our position that while we are not objecting to charter change, the manner in which it is being done is totally illegal. The people's initiative has no enabling law. There is a standing injunction from the Supreme Court against the people's initiative. The proposed amendment being suggested by the people's initiative is actually a revision which is not permitted under our Constitution. I don't see the people's initiative as a valid process of amending the Constitution.

Q: Ano masasabi ninyo doon sa drive against the NPA, iyong pagbibigay ng pondo na P1 B anti-insurgency campaign?

SPFMD: We have known in the past that you do not solve the insurgency problem simply through force. The basic problems must be addressed; the poverty of our people must be addressed and the insurgency problem in our country cannot be solved simply through the force of arms.

Q: Pati iyong sympathizers, nagbibigay ng pondo sa NPA, huhulihin daw?

SPFMD: Iyong nagbibigay ng taxes, napipilitan lang iyan. These are businessmen who are forced to pay the so-called revolutionary tax. They are coerced into doing it because the government has failed to provide the necessary protection. Certainly, these people would not want to pay taxes, would not want to pay the revolutionary tax but they cannot refuse to do so because government has failed to provide the necessary protection in areas were the presence of government is virtually lacking.

Q: What kind of policy is the crackdown on the so-called taxpayers of revolutionary tax?

SPFMD: We must provide protection to these businessmen who are doing business in the countryside because they are subject to coercion by the NPA. They are victims themselves. Therefore, they should be provided protection rather than harassed.

Q: May maikakaso po ba sa mga nagbibigay ng pera sa NPA?

SPFMD: Wala kung ang kanilang pagbibigay ng pera ay hindi kusang loob, napipilitan lamang. Kaya walang kasong pwedeng maipataw sa kanila.

Q: Iyung P1B anti-corruption drive, ano ang opinyon ninyo doon?

SPFMD: Yes, the funds can be put to good use. But what is important is the political will to prosecute the grafters in this country.

Q: How do you think the Philippine government is addressing the problems of Philippine migration?

SPFMD: We must develop our economy so that we can provide employment to our people. We cannot continuously rely on the remittances of our overseas Filipino workers. We must develop our domestic economy. There are social causes to migration. Therefore, we must endeavor to develop the economy so that there can be employment opportunities for our people and encourage them to stay at home.

Q: This is a Liberal Party event pero wala si Mayor Atienza?

SPFMD: Because this is the true Liberal Party. Ito ang tunay.

Q: Ano na po ang nangyari?

SPFMD: Nasa Comelec.

Q: P28 billion funds na pwedeng i-realign..

SPFMD: This is precisely the difficulty of having a reenacted budget. There is so much discretion given to the President. We just have to rely on the Commission on Audit to make sure that these funds are properly disbursed.

Q: Wala nang chance ang bicam?

SPFMD: I don't think that there is any hope that we will have a budget for 2006. I don't see the Bicameral Conference Committee working during this break. When we come back in July, the President will be already submitting the 2007 budget. There is no sense in passing the 2006 budget anymore.

Q: You prefer na pag-usapan na lang ang 2007 budget?

SPFMD: It's not a matter of preference. That's the reality.

Q: Sa tingin ninyo ang impeachment complaint maihahain by July 24?

SPFMD: Hindi po ako magkokomentaryo diyan dahil baka mapunta sa amin ang kasong iyan.

Q: Wala pong report sa inyo si Villar tungkol sa budget?

SPFMD: There is no report. I have not been informed that the bicameral conference committee is going to meet again.

Q: Useless na for a bicam for the rest of the year?

SPFMD: We are already middle of the year. By constitutional mandate, the Presidnet is supposed to submit the budget for 2007 between July 24 and August 24. We start working on that when we come back. There is no more sense in having the budget for 2006. We have only five months to go for the year.

Q: Are you inclined to take the chairmanship of the finance committee?

SPFMD: We await July 24 and see what happens. This is a matter for the majority to decide. (end)

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