Press Release
August 29, 2006

Transcript of interview with Liberal Party President Sen. Franklin M. Drilon

Q: Assessment on the hearing on people's initiative

SFMD: The Sigaw ng Bayan petition is as dead as the cadavers whose signatures appear in the petition. This only indicates that we really need to pass a law in order that these procedures can be set forth properly and fraudulent signatures can be properly screened out and penalize those who are making fool of the entire country by presenting these forged signatures. Sa akin po, ang petisyon for people's initiative is dead on arrival given what we have heard today. And even given the view of Chairman Abalos. In so many words, he said that they have no choice but to dismiss the petition because of the case of Defensor Santiago versus Comelec. Added to that is the fact that obviously, there are questions on the validity of the signatures submitted. And the fact that it is incontrovertible na nasa puntod na, pumipirma pa. Kaya dapat talaga dead on arrival.

Q: Remote na ba ang possibility na i-reverse ng Supreme Court and ruling nila on people's initiative?

SFMD: I cannot speak for the Supreme Court but as a lawyer, we rely on precedents. And here, the precedent is the court has ruled in the case of Defensor Santiago versus Comelec that the law is not sufficient. There has been no change insofar as that is concerned since the decision of the court. That is why the court issued a permanent injunction against the Comelec from entertaining any petition. It is best for Comelec to dismiss it immediately in compliance with the Supreme Court instructions so that the petitioners can now go to the Supreme Court and test it again. But I am confident that, if we are going to follow the precedent, the law of the case, meaning the law that governs this incident is Santiago versus Comelec. And in Santiago versus Comelec, the Supreme Court said there is no law which implements the people's initiative provision in the Constitution. Therefore, any initiative at this time must fail.

Q: Ano ang liability ng Sigaw ng Bayan for submitting fraudulent signatures?

SFMD: There are already cases filed in the fiscal's office charging those who submitted these fraudulent signatures, including Raul Lambino.

Q: Bakit ninyo pinigilan si Chairman Abalos to comment on Mayor Binay's presentation?

SFMD: Sa akin, bilang friendly advice to a fellow lawyer, hindi siya dapat mag-comment dahil baka ma-disqualify siya as having expressed a view preempting the others. That is why he was very careful in not expressing an opinion as to whether or not they will dismiss the petition or not. That is why I cautioned him that consistent with his previous stance on the matter of what they will do with the petition, he should not comment on the presentation of Mayor Binay as it may disqualify him. It was a friendly advice. (end)

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