Press Release
May 20, 2010

Kapihan sa Senado with Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri

Sen. Zubiri: Thanks a lot Manong Jun (Bautista) and to all our friends in media, magandang umaga po. To add to your statement gusto po kasi ni Senate President Enrile na siya po maging presiding officer ng ating joint session as well as the joint special committee that will be formed as well as the speaker of the House, si Speaker Nograles. Ako po ay tutulong na lamang at magiging spare tire ni Senate President if he needs to vacate the seat he is occupying for a short while. But I am very excited that on Monday we will start the process and for all those who would like to know what will happen, we will give you a copy of the summary of the Rules of the joint public session of Congress on Canvassing. I just found out today that the House version is very similar to the Senate version except ang required additional documents na gusto ng House ay ang mga flash cards na dapat isama. I think that will not be objectionable with the senators, and I think we will agree to that. So, basically on Monday, we will see the start of our Senate session moving for a change of our calendar. Papalitan ang calendar natin from May 31 to May 24. We will make amendments. It is a joint resolution that will be approved. Second, we will discuss our rules and we will take up on the joint session on Tuesday. Magko-caucus kami mga 1 o'clock para sa ganun malaman po natin kung sino ang magiging miyembro ng special committee. Siyam po ang bubuuhin ng Senado at siyam din ang bubuuhin ng Kongreso.

Q. When you open on Monday, you compose the nine-man delegation?

Sen. Zubiri: That is correct but that will have to be acted on by the joint session on Tuesday.

Q: So you will go joint session on Tuesday. I think you will discuss then the rules crafted by the House and Senate. Will there be arguments...?

Sen. Zubiri: If it is technically the same, baka siguro hindi na po tayo makaroon malawakan debate dyan sa issue on the rules. But if there are some fundamental questions raised by the members of both Houses, then we will have to entertain those questions. They may want to introduce new amendments, for example with the advent of this Koala Man, mayroon sila gusto isama sa rules natin, itong members sa concerned political parties, so it's a possibility that dyan tayo makakadebate. But over all, sa tinging ko, Tuesday will be a light day, we will just approve our rules, elect our nine-member panel on both sides and then probably adjourn for Wednesday and start the canvassing of the documents. But we will have to open also on Wednesday either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday, it is part of the rules, for all members of both Houses to see, we will open all Certificates of Canvass (COCs). Nakalatag yan para sa lahat ng miyembro para makita sila.

Q: So it is safe to say that actual canvassing may start on Wednesday?

Sen. Zubiri: That is correct.

Q: So you have nine each from each chamber and you have, I understand, two lawyers from each presidential and vice presidential candidates? Sen. Zubiri: That is correct. Kung magkaroon po ng discrepancy at hindi magka tugma, yung electronically-transmitted COCs to the manually-transmitted COCs dyan talaga magkaka-problema. We have to set that aside and then call the National Board of Canvassers to explain the discrepancy, deferred for further action. Hindi mo naman ididisregard yung objections ng isang grupo. Pag-aaralan mo ng mabuti maybe by the joint committee by a later hour. I think we will be working Monday to Friday, that is we will be starting on May 24 para ang binibiyan po naming time frame sa grupo ay 3 weeks.

Q: Will the revelation of the so -called Koala Man and the paraphernalia found in the basura in Cagayan de Oro, will those come into play?

Sen. Zubiri: Absolutely because we have to look at the authenticity of the flashcard, the authenticity of the COCs. As a matter of fact, the Senate President and some senators are thinking of asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to explain the situation to us next week on joint session. However, there is now an on-going investigation in the House. Puwede din on a side note, the small special committee of nine-members of each House to sit down with the Comelec officials because we have not been given an opportunity to raise these questions since there's a House investigation. Ako po personally hindi maniwala na si Erap naging No. 3 sa San Juan, si Gibo ay natalo sa kanyang presinto, Si Loren ay natalo sa kanyang barangay. Maybe showing a very clean COC, clean Election Return (ER) can answer the question. If we really want to quell the speculation of an electronic Garci in these elections, then we have to be transparent. For the whistle blowers who are coming out with their new information, they have to be more specific with how they were able to electronically manipulate the results from the precinct to the servers of the Senate, the servers of the House of Representatives as well as the Comelec National Board of Canvassers. Pag may clear-cut modus operandi, then we can work from there but right now we are limited to what we have which is the electronically-transferred as well as the manually-transferred COCs. Right now we are stuck with that and we can only work with the presumption that the elections were credible and that the figures na pinadala sa amin are credible.

Q: Personally, Sir, do you accept the revelations of the masked-man?

Sen. Zubiri: I agree with the statements of Chairman Melo, it is quite unfair na may lalabas at babanatan po ang credibilidad ng Comelec. Nakita po naman natin na napakabilis at napakadali ang bilangan noong nakaraang halalan, pero hindi rin natin puwedeng isang itabi ang mga accusations na ito. But I make an appeal to him, that he come out, identify himself, if he is really a ranking official of Comelec, as well as detail the modus-operandi that he said, was able to pad several millions of votes to particular candidates. Mas maganda po sana kung may ebidensya, hindi lang sa salita. Then there we can move forward. What is important is that we learn from this election. Mayroon pa tayo barangay elections end of this year. Kailangan talaga mawala sa utak ng atin kababayan ang duda sa nakaraang halalan, kung mayroon man. So we want to make it fail-safe.

Q: ...

Sen. Zubiri: We can do this afterwards, we don't have to disturb the canvassing at this point in time. That is our primordial duty, which is to canvass the results of the presidential and Vice presidential race. We can do this afterwards whether it is in the 15th Congress or the last few remaining days of the 14th Congress. The reason I raised this is, it is for possible legislation to correct the problems for 2013.

Q: Bakit naman, Sir, hindi pwede masamahan niyo ngayon yung kay Chiz, enjoined?

Sen. Zubiri: I am making an appeal to the Senate chair, si Chiz Escudero, to look into these allegations. Napaka-importante yan, kasi sa 2013 lalaban din si Chiz, eh. It's best that we come up with a fail-safe electoral reform for 2013. Sa ating gagawin na joint Congressional hearings next week or sessions for the canvassing next week, we will make sure that the Comelec is there, together with Smartmatic.

Q: Sir, naidecide n'yo na mga members ng Senate na attend ng joint session? Will there be a quorum?

Sen. Zubiri: We believe that we will be able to get more than 12 senators, like myself, Senate President Enrile, Greg Honasan will be here, Sen. Angara, Lito Lapid will be around, Bong will also be here, Miriam will definitely be here as well, Sen. Chiz will be here as well. We'll come out with a list.

Q: The candidates for VP and Presidents can be present for the canvassing but cannot participate, their lawyers will. Ganun ba yun?

Sen. Zubiri: Yes. The lawyers of the different candidates would participate but it is part of our rules and the creation, Sec. 14, creation and membership, it provides that a member of Congress who is a candidate of President and Vice President not be eligible for appointment to the joint committee. But they can attend. They can even raise questions. We are not barring them from raising questions. Probably ano mangyayari dyan sa nine-member committee, mayroon allotment sa majority at mayroon allotment sa minority para patas po.

On Senate Presidency

Q: Sino daw maging next Senate President at sino ka-bloke niya?

Sen. Zubiri: Actually, sa Senate Presidency, it's a little too early at this point in time. Pero we can identify the blocks. Right now there are three major aggrupations. Grupo ni Manny Villar, Drilon and the block of Sen. Angara, that's our block, and there are smaller blocks. Sen. Serge Osmena said he's not gonna be with the LP block, so he's independent. So you have independents such as himself, Sen. Chiz, Sen. Tito Sotto and if I am not mistake, I think also Sen. Honasan and Sen. Jinggoy now will be also independent. But the three major blocks would be the LP at 4, Villar group at six at our group at 5 and then the group of Tito Sotto and Greg Honasan and Enrile and Jinggoy. Ang lumalabas lamang ngayon ay yung grupo ni Sen. Villar. The block discusses the possible candidates but we have not made up our mind at this point in time. But we agreed that we will be together.

Q: Sir, yung block n'yo? Kayo, Angara, Lapid? Sen. Zubiri: Ako, Sen. Angara, Sen. Bong, Sen. Lapid and Sen. Loren is an adopted member. And that magnificent 5 was just a joke ha? We are just a block of 5.

Q: ...

Sen. Zuburi: It's a possibility. But personally, I am not identifying myself as a Lakas senator. I will like to be more independent this next Congress. So definitely, I can coalesce with any group at this point in time.

On Arroyo Speakership

Q: Do you believe the report that President Arroyo is not interested in the House Speakership?

Sen. Zubiri: Naniniwala ako dyan kasi unang-una, wala na po silang numero at kung wala ng numero, mapapahiya lang po si Presidente. If she is an astute politician, and I know that she is, then she won't run if she knows she doesn't have the number.

On Lakas party

Q: Will you eventually get away from Lakas?

Sen. Zubiri: Sabi ko sayo that's another story for another day. I'm just not happy with my party. In this last election, it was very obvious that they just decided to support Congressional candidates, wala silang tinulungang mga mayors. They had to fend for themselves, particularly in our province of Bukidnon, where all our mayors are with Lakas and yet not one centavo was given to them. We had to fend for ourselves. And I feel that even the complaint of Gibo that he has been betrayed, that's very sad. I'm not happy. Let's put it this way, I'd rather be kicked out rather than leave because sasabihin pa nila balimbing ako. I am hoping that they will just kick me out. But I am very excited to be an independent in this next Congress. Not leave Lakas but take a more independent stance. I would like to be more of a maverick in the party. I am not happy, especially with the leadership. How can we push for reforms when we don't reform within ourselves in the party. Lakas in order to survive, has to has progressive leaders, a set of new leaders, infusion of young blood. It should also be given a chance to be able to make independent decisions. You still have to seek approval from the old leaders so para lang sila mga pawns at mga actors and not actually players, then para que, diba? I would rather join a party, or a smaller party that would allow you to grow as an individual, allow you to be able to reform the organization at the same time come out with reform measures that will help the political problems of this country. I have been a Lakas member since 1997, before I joined politics in 1998, nasa Lakas na ako and I have never left the party. I have always been loyal to the party. The problem I feel is that the party has stopped growing, that the idealism we once had, I feel is not there anymore.

News Latest News Feed