Press Release
January 20, 2010

Transcript of the Majority Leader's interview with ANC

Q: Will the absence of Sen. Villar and his allies have any implications for what will take place today?

SJMZ: If we have a quorum. I have to mention to everybody that the agenda today will basically be finishing the Immigration Bill that has been pending. We're supposed to approve it yesterday for 2nd and 3rd reading. However, because of the lack of quorum we weren't able to do any business. Today, I'll finish the Immigration Act and after we finish the Immigration Act, the Senate President would want to sponsor the Committee of the Whole Resolution. After that if there aren't an ensuing debate, we will also open the floor for debates on the resolution of Sen. Villar basically absolving him. There's a 12 signatures of our colleagues absolving him of any crime or any complication from that C-5 incident. To be fair to both sides, I plan to take both resolutions up today and open the session for debates on these two resolutions.

Q: That sounds very interesting Sen. Zubiri. Basically you're saying that it is in the interest of Sen. Villar and his allies to attend the session today.

SJMZ: Absolutely it is in their interest. Definitely for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, debates on the Senate Committee of the Whole Resolution, I really feel that the allies of Sen. Villar and Sen. Villar himself should be there to answer directly or if not query the sponsor on the facts and figures that he has in the resolution. It's quite important; we cannot be snubbing the deliberations. Besides to be honest with you, we are not sure about the votes of our colleagues. They maybe convince to support or they may convince not to support the resolution. What is important, it's a collegial body, and we have to pursue the information at hand with the utmost accuracy and factual basis. Definitely the data is to ensue, and rather than moving for a lack of quorum of so, that we cannot discuss the details of both resolutions. So, I think that is unfair to the Filipino people.

Q: Given what you said, is it possible then that it will be a debate between resolutions one: the committee of the whole, the other the resolutions absolving Villar of culpability?

SJMZ: Yes. What would take place basically is that the Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will stand up, give his sponsorship speech and explain the report. And what I will do, is also recognize if it is in the order, if nobody questions and it's approve by the body, we will also recognize the sponsors of the other resolutions and also listen to their side and listen to their sponsorship speech. After which, we are going to go on voting, I presume not today. I don't think we can tackle everything in one session day and it may stretch into next week's session.

Q: Final question Sen. Zubiri. We've of course followed in the papers the explanation of Sen. Pangilinan with regards to why signed both committee reports, contradictory reports at that, but what is the explanation of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada sir?

SJMZ: To be very honest about it, in fairness to those who signed on both resolutions. The signature in your committee is actually ministerial. Let me clarify that to everybody who's listening now. When you sign a committee report it doesn't mean you are in full agreement with the committee report. What you want to happen is just to be able to pass it on to plenary for plenary debates. It's in our rules that all committee reports must have the majority number of signatures, so that it can filed and discuss in plenary. Many times, many of my colleagues, as well as myself have gone against committee reports that we have signed after the course of the debate. Because I maybe a member, but maybe I wasn't present during the deliberations and therefore, when it was deliberated upon in plenary and we debate and the facts come out and I'm not in favor of the said resolution, I can vote against. That happens during the budget deliberations, to the budget committee report, it happens with several very controversial and contentious committee reports. As far as I'm concern, they have nothing to explain why they their resolutions supporting Villar and also signing this committee report for discussions on plenary. For me it's all ministerial, and it does not mean that they are all going to vote in favor of that committee report.

Q: Well that's an important point to make. Thank you for talking to us Sen. Miguel Zubiri.

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