Press Release
May 19, 2010


Q: Sir, may update na ba tayong ulit kung anong pwedeng gawin sa PCOS?

SP: Wala pa eh. The Senate was requested to take custody of these PCOS, preserve and secure them until the issues involving them, if there are issues, have been resolved.

Q. Sir, the oversight committee of Chiz Escudero, wala gagawin action doon?

SP: Tinawagan ko siya kagabi at sinabi ko na dapat sila makialam dito sapakat oversight sila. Sabi niya pag-iisipan siya muna whether it is proper at this time to deal with these PCOS or not. So I understand in the Lower House, his counterpart, Congressman Teddy Locsin, is conducting an investigation as the chairman of the Committee on Suffrage. But I brought the matter to the attention of Sen. Escudero and I respect his prerogative as co-chair of the oversight committee.

Q: Sir, hindi ba yung buhay ng oversight committee until June 30 lang?

SP: Yes. Up to the end of June because they were appointed during the 14th Congress.

Q: Sir, you mentioned hanggang June 4, kaya ba po tapusin yung canvassing?

SP: We will try but I mentioned June 4 because we will go on an adjournment, I am not sure whether June 3 or 4. But if we could not finish the canvass and we will go on an adjournment, we can continue the canvass beyond the adjournment of Congress because the canvass is a constitutional duty.

Q: With the COCs coming in...

SP: We now have 197. I supposed today that will be increased to 91 COCs. (As of 12 noon, 188 COCs are in while waiting for 88 more.)

Q: What's the earliest proclamation, you think?

SP: I cannot anticipate. But surely, we will proclaim before June 30.


Q: Sir, may whistle blower who claimed they operated for the votes?

SP: I don't know. That is beyond the function of the Congress as a Board of Canvasser. If there is fraud committed in the election then anyone who was affected by that fraud may file a protest. If it involves a presidential candidate or vice presidential candidate, then it has to go to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

Q: Sir, naapektuhan ba yung canvassing kasi ang itinurong nakinabang daw ay si Binay?

SP: We will see kung ano yung sa dokumentong pinadala sa amin. If there is evidence that some of those documents are fake or the product of fraud then I will have to refer it to Congress to make a decision whether to set aside those documents or include them in the tally or subtract them from the tally.

Q: So there's a way where Congress can verify whether the claim is true?

SP: As far as I am concerned, we have not approved the Rules but under the Constitution, the President of the Senate is required to open the Certificates of Canvass delivered to the Senate officially in a sealed envelope. Now, there's an additional requirement by the automation law involving the electronically-transmitted COCs to the Senate, to the Comelec. Our server, for this purpose, is in the House of Representatives. So what I will suggest is that I will open the manually-delivered election materials, which would include the COCs, statement of votes and the diskette that was used to send the electronically-transmitted COCs. Open the hard copy and after I opened that, I would suggest that we would open the corresponding province involved in the electronic server contained in the House and compare. If they jive, then we tally. If they do not jibe, then we set it aside and decide that issue later on. We have to finish the whole process until we finish all that has no problem then we go back if there are any problematic COCs.

Q: Sir, will you request the senators to be present for the opening of the COCs on the first day?

SP: Yes. For the purpose of quorum. I don't have to request them. It is their responsibility to be present although as a matter of respect for the expectations and feelings of the people, they should not involve themselves in the discussion of the issues involved in the canvassing. But in the case of the Rules, I leave it to them if they want to participate.

On Senate presidency

Q: Senate Presidency sir, wala pa daw makaka-claim sa 13?

SP: As far as I am concerned, anybody who has the number, I'll gladly relinquish my job. Akala nila I enjoy this job. It's too tedious. I stay here until 2 o'clock just to see to it that the Senate is not involved in any problem that will damage its image and integrity.

Q: Nag-usap daw kayo ni Sen. Sotto?

SP: Nag-punta sila sa akin. I told them, you decide your own personal interest. I am not holding anybody to support me or to stay with me. You're free. Everybody is free.

Q: What if Villar will make a go for it again (Senate presidency)?

SP: Why not?

Q: Pero yung C-5 issue?

SP: Bahala na sila. I will no longer be involved at that point. I'll not be the chairman of the Committee of the Whole. But there's a pending report. They have to dispose that. Whoever will be the chairman of the Ethics Committee and the Senate President will have to decide what do to with that report.

Q: Did ba, Sir, considered archived na yung report?

SP: No. The respondent is still a member of the Senate. In fact, if she lost the election, the more so because then that means that the people will really believe in the validity of the issues raised against the person involved. The Senate is continuous. It's a committee report. The fact is that there is a report submitted. It has not been disposed and they just cannot brush it aside. The subject of that committee report is still as senator. The more so that they should clear the report because he lost the election and that matter became an issue in that election.

Q: ...

SP: That is his (Villar) prerogative if he does not want to appear in the canvass session. I will respect his decision. Nothing personal. This is all official function.


Q: Sir, si Lacson babalik ba siya?

SP: I think he will be coming back after June 30. I have not had any communication with him. Feeling ko lang. I don't know. Since he has been away that long, siguro nagaantay siya na mayroon panibagong administration. That's my surmise.

Q: Out of the country pa ba siya?

SP: I guess so. If he's here, napakatamad naman or napaka-walang kakayahan yung intelligence service natin or law enforcement service na hindi nila alam nandito.

Q: So much friendlier yung Aquino administration sa kanya?

SP: I don't know. I am just saying that since he has been avoiding being in the country while the Arroyo administration is in place, I am just guessing that he will probably surface when the Arroyo administration is already finished.

Q: Sir, yung panunumpa ni Aquino po sa barangay captain?

SP: Walang problema yun. Bakit ba pinaproblema yun? Pwede siyang pumunta sa isang notario public. Kailangan lang ay susundin niya yung sumpa niya. Ewan ko kung bakit naging national issue yan. Ganun din yung isang senador. It's not the degree of education of the person. It's the position and authority of law for him to administer the law.


Q: Sir, what do you think of the gesture of Corona to go around, na media blitz siya?

SP: After all, he is still entitled to defend himself before the public because the highest court of this country is the sovereign people and they are the ones that invest the power. Hindi ba sinabi yung Constitution, all powers of government emanates from the people. So even if he is an appointee, he still has the right to appeal to the people that the charges against him, which is in the nature of political charges, are not true.

Q: Sa away, Sir, nila Noynoy at Corona?

SP: For the sake of the country, I would suggest that they should iron out these differences. If it is the opinion of the incoming President Noynoy Aquino that the appointment of the Chief Justice is invalid, so be it. But he must use the processes in the Constitution. If anyone asks for the removal of the Chief Justice, then they must file the proper impeachment charges against him so that Congress can perform its function as an impeachment body and the Senate can perform its function as a hearing body. We have a Constitution to follow. It is not the opinion of any one of us that matters. We must operate within the Constitution otherwise this is not a government of law, this is not a country governed by law. That appointment is presumed valid until overturned in accordance with the processes authorized under the Constitution. You cannot remove a magistrate of the Supreme Court by Executive Order.


Q: Will these 60 PCOS machines be of use during the canvassing?

SP: I don't know. It is subject to the disposition of the bodies that will handle the issue.

Q: But it can be used as proof to substantiate the allegations of certain parties that there was fraud?

SP: As far as the canvassing is concerned, we cannot go beyond the documents that are submitted to us, the COCs and ERs. If the joint Congressional Oversight Committee will want to look at the efficiency or accuracy of the automated election, then those are material evidence and it is the oversight committee that has jurisdiction to use it.

On Senate and incoming president

Q: What do you think, Sir, is it going to be an administration Senate or an opposition Senate?

SP: I don't know. There's the majority and the minority. It all depends upon the skills and I think he has the skills and I am sure he has the skills of the incoming president that the Congress that will work with him will be cooperative and helpful to him. Alam din niya ano ang kailangan niya. Alam niya ang dynamics of politics. I am sure he will reach out to the members of both chambers in order to form the working majority for his legislative program. I don't know if he is reaching out to his opponent, Manny Villar. I do not know pero it's possible. As

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