Press Release
August 30, 2006

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

Q: On the caucus last night

SFMD: The matter of the hearings on the PRC, on the nurses, is the one that is on deck. The committee will have to decide how to handle the issue if they continue to defy and not appear. I have suggested that we should ask these PRC members to explain why they should not be cited for contempt.

Q: How about the other hearings?

SFMD: That was the only issue that we discussed last night, the matter of the PRC. Insofar as my committee is concerned, the finance committee, the members of the Executive branch consistently appear and honor the invitation. The Committee on Civil Service, which is the one hearing the issue on the nurses is the one that is most involved. I have suggested that these members of the PRC whop refuse to appear, if again they will not appear at the hearing today, should be asked to explain why they should not be cited for contempt. It is a show cause order similar to the procedure adopted in the regular courts, where those who are subpoenaed are given an opportunity to explain why they have refused to heed the subpoena.

Q: Paano kung hind maging acceptable ang explanation?

SFMD: The committee would have to decide once the explanation is submitted whether or not the explanation is acceptable. If it is not acceptable, then the committee is free to decide how to proceed. The first order of business is to require them to explain why they have refused to heed the subpoena so that their explanation can be of record.

Q: Are there explanations in their letter when they absent themselves from the hearings?

SFMD: I am not aware of any letter being handed. That is why they are being asked to explain formally.

Q: That was the agreement?

SFMD: Yes, that was what was agreed upon.

Q: Will that position be taken insofar as all the Cabinet officials?

SFMD: Only the PRC was discussed last night.

Q: But is it likely?

SFMD: That is the procedure now that will be followed. We will ask them to explain so that whatever is the reason will be placed of record. Due process requires that they be given time to explain and for the committee to decide whether the explanation is valid or not.

Q: You are supposed to have a caucus of the finance committee today

SFMD: That is correct. The hearing this afternoon for the Committee on Finance was on the premise that the supplemental was approved on Monday, August 28 as communicated to me by Speaker de Venecia. He said that the supplemental budget will be approved by August 28 so that we would have received it on August 29, Tuesday. Therefore, I set the hearing today. However, the House of Representatives have not yet approved the budget on third reading. The news accounts today said they have approved it on second reading last night. Once they have approved it on third reading, it will be transmitted to us and referred to the Committee on Finance. That is the time when we can formally set it for hearing. There was no sense in setting it today because it was in anticipation of an approval, which have not yet taken place.

Q: The House version has an appropriation for Guimaras and the retake of the nursing board exam

SFMD: I saw that in the papers. I have been trying to get a copy of the version approved. I have not yet secured a copy. It's not yet transmitted to us. Because they are still approving it on third reading this afternoon.

Q: Is it likely that we will have an appropriation for Guimaras?

SFMD: We will have an appropriation for Guimaras, certainly. That is called for. But I want to see first how much really is the appropriation that the House has indicated in the supplemental budget and which portion of the supplemental budget they realigned to fund Guimaras oil spill cleanup.

Q: Ano ang item sa supplemental budget and puwedeng i-realign for Guimaras?

SFMD: The equity fee of the DOTC. This is the equity rental. This is P2 billion. This is what I have indicated before as an amount which was not found in the 2006 National Expenditure Program, which was approved by the Senate and the House. Suddenly, there is P2 billion that appeared in the supplemental budget as equity rental or equity fund for the MRT, which I understand, was demanded by the creditors, the private partners of MRT. Totally unrelated to the 2006 budget submitted. Therefore, as I have indicated earlier, the P2 billion should be really removed from the supplemental budget of DOTC. I think this is where the Guimaras oil spill fund came from.

Q: How about the expenses for the retake of the nursing board exams?

SFMD: From what I read in the papers, this would answer for the expenses for the retaking of the exams. The matter of the retake of the exams is a matter addressed to the PRC. Nobody else would do that. The amount indicated there is as expenses for the retake of the exam. Other than that, I really don't know the details of this budget for the PRC.

Q: What is the practicality of passing a supplemental budget since it's already September?

SFMD: The budget has been there in the House for the whole month of August. We haven't seen it. We can still pass it. Because, for example, the hiring of teachers would still be necessary. The adjustment of salaries required under the law must be implemented.

Q: On Jocjoc Bolante

SFMD: In our jurisdiction, an ailment could be a justification for his being released from detention. Assuming that the illness is true, then I suspect that is being used as a ground to have him released from the detention center and be confined somewhere else, in his house or in a hospital. That is the effect. It happened in our jurisdiction. But I do not know the practice in Chicago.

Q: Ano ang reaksyon ninyo sa pa-appear ng PRC and NBI officials sa House inquiry on nursing exam leakage?

SFMD: Nasa kanila iyan kung saan sila haharap. That's their own decision. We have our own rules. (end)

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