Press Release
November 2, 2006

Transcript of interview with Sen. Ralph G. Recto on ANC

(The opposition, Rufus Rodriguez was on the phone this morning and he said that youre part of the opposition slate. I asked him about that bec. I saw your name on the administration list as potential Senate candidate. It seems that both the opposition & the admin want you on their slate. What is it going to be?)

Well, Ricky, its still difficult to determine at this point in time. Within 30-45 days decisions will be made. At this point in time, I would have to consult w/ partymembers, the Nacionalista Party, my colleagues in the Senate, supporters, friends & families. Its really very early to tell. But at the moment, let me state that I am very grateful & thankful that I am being considered by the opposition in their slate. With regard to the admin, I doubt it very much if the admin at this point in time will have a line-up because I understand theyre still pushing for charter change.

(They are but there are people in the admin whose job it is to come up w/ a contingency in the event that charter change does not push thru. I think the admin is forward looking enough to come up w/ a possible slate.)

You may be very optimistic w/ the admin to be forward-looking enough. Not necessarily on my part because at this point in time, there have been no talks w/ the admin w/ regard to candidates for the Senate.

(Rodriguez said bec. this is a discussion w/ the united opposition w/c includes the NP, and I think the chair of the party Manny Villar considers himself to be an oppositionist. He was saying that Villar had pretty much said that the NP including yourself would be on the opposition slate. Ultimately, this is your choice, right?)

Yes, definitely. Manny hasnt told me anything yet w/ regard to making final arrangements of joining the opposition. The last time we spoke was Monday evening &we discussed this possibility. Theres always the possibility, probably a high probability. But at this point in time, I think we still would need some time to discuss w/ partymembers, colleagues, family and friends. Too early to tell.

(But you would abide by whatever the party decision is?)

The party will be an important factor, but like I said, we will also consult with families, friends, supporters, and colleagues in the Senate.

(I was curious if youve been approached by anyone from the opposition?)

Yes, Ive been approached by members of the opposition. I welcome this development. Ive not been approached by anyone in the admin. But Im glad that both are considering me in their slate. I think it is important that you have a moderate voice in the Senate, as well, & not be an extreme on either side of the fence.

(Assuming that a member of the admin does approach you before the 30-45-day deadline you mentioned lapses, what would make you decide?)

A big factor here is are they still gonna push for charter change. If they do push for charter change, definitely I cannot run w/ the admin. Charter change is an important issue because if they pursue it, then basically what theyre talking about here is just power; its not about the bituka of Juan dela Cruz or basic issues like health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, security, or other economic matters. It is only about power and thats what charter change to me is all about. And I dont think we should stop elections in May. And I project that people will vote a resounding no (in the plebiscite in February or March) if they try to pursue charter change next year, during the heat of the campaign.

(Following that line of thought and seeing how the admin is bent on pursuing charter change, would it be safe to assume that you would most likely run w/ the opposition?)

Like I said, if they continue to pursue charter change, definitely it would be difficult for me to ruin w/ the admin. I suppose I cannot be clearer than that.

(Lets talk about another issue, the Japan-RP economic partnership agreement. In your view, is this something that needs to be ratified by the Senate?)

Ive not seen the text of this, but I think it will be good for Malacañang or admin to submit it to the Senate for ratification, because that is it the most transparent process. At the end of the day, the admin will be judged by the public and the public will determine whether they have confidence w/ the admin or not. If they dont submit this to the Senate for scrutiny, then there will be less confidence w/ the admin. Would that mean that there is less transparency? And if there is less transparency, people will not be confident w/ the admin, people will not be confident w/ this agreement. So its always better for the admin to be transparent with the whole thing & submit this to the Senate for ratification, or at least for scrutiny.

(This was a subject of long arduous negotiation process that took several months & Im wondering if in any point in the discussion did the DTI w/c was the lead agency here, did they consult anyone in the Senate either formally or informally about this agreement?)

Well, theyve not consulted me. I cannot speak for other members. Im not really sure. But I would assume they should have at least consulted Sen. Roxas who was former sec. of DTI & chair of the cmtee on economic affairs, & Sen. Santiago who is chair of the cmtee on foreign relations. Im chair of the ways & means so probably they thought there might be no need to consult me. But at the very least, these 2 other senators should have been consulted.

(But theres this other argument that representatives of RP have signed this agreement w/ reps. of Japanese govt & it wouldnt look good for us, after signing the agreement, to go back & say, hey, guys, sorry, we changed our minds. This is the kind of thing that makes the Philippines credibility in the international community questionable at times.)

I agree w/ you totally, Ricky. Precisely the point. There are chairmen of committees in the Senate who are supposedly w/ the admin. There is no rhyme nor reason why the admin will not consult senior members of Congress or at least the chairmen of the committees who are members of the admin. Thats what party politics is all about. If we are w/ the admin, then the president shld at least consult w/ admin allies in the Senate, esp. w/ regard to foreign agreement. It may be a treaty or even just just an executive agreement, but it is still a foreign policy, its still a foreign agreement and we can fight whether or not the Senate should ratify this or not, but at the very least, it should be subject for scrutiny in the Senate.

(Youve been quoted as saying that you oppose this deal bec.of that provision on toxic waste, but let me ask you for practicality sake, what if the admin says this isnt a treaty, its an executive agreement & we dont need to show it to you, its valid & were moving on w/ it. Is there anything the Senate can do?)

Well, they have difficulty w/ getting other measures passed in the Senate, I mean thats how the ball rolls, right? If they dont trust the Senate, why should the Senate trust them w/ regard to other matters? At the end of the day, leadership is about getting people together, acting together, working on a common vision, sharing common values & ensuring that we have shared responsibilities. Thats why we have the different institutions in govt. The executive that implements laws, Congress that enacts legislation.

(Have you spoken to Peter Favila or anyone in the admin about this?)

No, but Im sure that starting next week, when we get back to session, on Nov. 6, all these issues will be threshed out.

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