Press Release
December 1, 2010

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Sen. Serge Osmeña III

On the CA confirmation hearing of DOE Sec. Jose Almendras

Q: Will Sec. Almendras be confirmed?

Serge: Mukhang interesado sila. Energy has always been a very complex industry eh. Everybod'y's affected kasi. Pag-uwi mo sa gabi at turned on ang aircon mo, turned on ang TV set. Kung walang kuryente, talagang magagalit ka. We're looking at the shortage next year. We've been having rolling brownouts in the Visayan for the past several years. And it's particularly bad in Mindanao. You can just imagine how badly members, every congressman, every senator, is whetted by a hearing like this. Although I think that Sec. Almendras defended himself well. He was humbl. He was very knowledgeable. The comments were well. We never had a secretary who knew this much about his job. Well, he is from Cebu.

Q: Pagkatapos po niyang sagutin lahat ng mga tanong, okay na siya?

Serge: I don't know. Hindi ko naman sila nili-limit eh. They can go on as long as they want. That is the right of every member. Nagco-coordinate lang po ako. I can't predict he will be confirmed in the next hearing. But there are some hanging questions that they asked him to look into. But I think he can easily satisfy them.

Q: Ano iyong mga hanging questions?

Serge: Well, like Rep. Danny Suarez wrote us and said there is this tax question in Pagbilao town. Parochial concern iyon kasi nasa kanyang distrito yata iyon, or at least it's in his province where Pagbilao power never paid real estate taxes to Pagbilao town. It's half a billion already. Eh nanalo na ang Pagbilao town sa Supreme Court with finality. So it was a liability that was undertaken by Napocor. So I think we have to follow the law and Napocor has to pay. Hahabulin natin ang perang iyon.


Of course, there is also the graft and corruption on a case involving a former Iloilo governor which was made by the NEA (National Electrification Administration). However, the chairman of the NEA Board, he is the secretary of the Department of Energy. But he was not yet there when this was going on. So, we have to do some research here.

Another issue is the Palawan share in the Malampaya royalties. He promised Rep. Alvarez that the DOE would do its best to make sure that the barangay electrification will proceed specifically in the barangay of Rep. Alvarez, with the proceeds coming from the Malampaya royalties.

Q: Baka magbakasyon na hindi pa kayo nakaka-confirm?

Serge: Hindi mo naman ito mapre-predict. Kaya inunahan ko na ito. This was only the second hearing for Cabinet members. Thes first one was Bro. Armin. And you know what happened there. We are trying to encourage everybody to speak out and ask their questions now. So that the secretary can also prepare for the more complicated issues to satisfy the needs for information of the other members of the committee.

Q: May problema ba sa mga appointees ni Pnoy kaya parang ang bagal nilang ma-confirm?

Serge: Hindi po. We had a problem this year. It is a new Congress so they had to organize the committees first. Dun po sa House mmeron pang mga committees na hindi pa kumpleto. We were really delayed in getting together. And even in completing the Commission on Appointments, iyong mga membership. Then the Senate got very busy with the budget. So, hindi din namin napag-tuunan ng pansin. Buti nga the Senate, natapos na namin ang budget last night. So we have more time to attend to our other duties.

Q: Is there a possibility na may ma-confirm kayo bago kayo mag-bakasyon?

Serge: A possibility? Yes. A probability? Yes. Pero who? I don'w know. Next week, we will be hearing Bertie Lim and Bro. Armin again. Baka they will be confirmed already. I don't know.

(Part 2 ambush)

Serge: We need more plants. We will have more malls. We have to catch up with the private sector in building the plants. Eh pinagbawalan na namin ang gobyerno na mag-build ng power plants. But there will always be an imbalance. We had it when government owned power plants. We have it simply because the previous administration totally mismanaged the privatization. It's a long story, pero talagang na mis-manage. What was supposed to be privatized within three years, we passed the law (EPIRA) in 2001, it only happened this year.

Q: Are we seeing more plants to be built next year?

Serge: Yes, there will be more plants to be built. But remember a greenfield plant, it will take about three years. It will need identification, purchase, plants, construction, etc. So like the secretary said, okay na tayo sa 2013, sa 2014, sa 2015, meron na tayong 2,700 MW coming on stream. Ang problema natin 2011 and 2012. We will be using the old plants. Mahal ang Malaya, panahon pa ng lolo ko iyan eh. But we have to keep on using it until the new ones come on stream. The estimate is we will be short by 300 MW next year, this is in Luzon. So we will have sporadic brownouts. And 600 MW the following year. We really have to find ways to find a solution.

On Lacson's P2M reward

Q: Your take on the P2M reward for information on Lacson's whereabouts?

Serge: Hindi ko alam iyan. Well, I guess he knows the law, he used to be a law enforcer. And he would know how to handle a situation like that. He has claimed na iyong mga witnesses falsified their testimonies. I would rather not comment on that kasi hindi naman ako abogado.

Q: But as a fellow senator?

Serge: Well, as a fellow senator, as a lawmaker he knows that he must stick by the law. His profession mandated that. Then he became a lawmaker. He understands.

Q: Kailangan pa bang maglabas ng reward?

Serge: Baka na-embarrass ang government kasi matagal ng hinahanap si Senator Lacson. Hindi pa mahagilap. They are willing to pay for information leading to his capture.

Q: Do you think he is treated like a regular citizen?

Serge: No, he is not. P2 million is a lot of money for information. I hope when I get missing they'll only pay P50 so nobody will look for me.

Sen. Lacson is a very mature public official, I know he will make the right decision, not only for himself but for the entire country. He was a law enforcer officer, that has been his career. He was a lawmaker, elected to the highest lawmaking body in the country. I know he will make the right decision.

I am sorry that it has to come to this, that a bounty has to be offered for information leading to his capture.

He has the right to call for a reinvestigation. And the court has the right to agree or disagree.

Q: PNOY has asked Sec. De Lima to review but she has not...

Serge: Because it's already in the courts. The secretary of justice cannot overrule a judge. Nag-issue na nga ng warrant di ba? Last year pa. If the judge sees that there's a need to reinvestigate, for opening up a reinvestigation there, siya ang boss.

On RH Bill

Q: What's your position on the survey showing that 69% supports the RH bill?

Serge: Well, it's been there for the past 3 years. I have been monitoring it since the 2007 elections. Sa ibang lugar nga, umaabot pa sa 82%. So, people have not changed their minds. As a matter of fact, it's not the 69% that impresses me. Those against are 7%, and the Undecided are 24%.

Q: Madaling makakalusot sa Congress ang RH Bill?

Serge: Wow! 69 to 7? Well, of course.

Q: Will you vote in favor of it?

Serge: Well, let's see. Am I in favor of the concept of responsible parenthood? Yes, I always have been. As a matter of fact, Sen. Biazon drafted this bill which was knocked down by religious groups, that was in 2004 yata. Yes, I am in favor of the concept of responsible parenthood. But the bill, it has so many versions. So we will have to make 'himay' because there are so many. We will have to discuss. There are 6 bills already in the House. So you're asking me, am I in favor? Which bill?

Darating din iyan sa Senado. There are people who also filed here in the Senate. I have not read all of them so I don't know if I could truthfully tell you that I am in favor. But I think we will get a version passed. How the version would be shaped, if it's tall, short, wide, narrow or what, I don't know. But yes, there will definitely be a version that will be passed by the two houses.

Q: Nakakagulat ba na 7% lang ang hindi sumusuporta?

Serge: Well, no. It's been there already for 3 to 4 years na eh. This is not the first survey on the RH bill, there have even local surveys, like in Bohol and Cebu. Some nga umaabot pa sa 70% to 80% ang nag-o-oppose.

Q: Mga taga-Catholic church ang mga nag-o-oppose?

Serge: Well, no. 82% of our country are Catholics. So let's say, 82% tapos 70% are supportive, so that's 56%. Let's say everybody who is not a Catholic voted for the RH bill, if you deduct that 18%, about 56% of the Catholics, that's the minimum. I would assume that about 70% of the Catholics are for the RH bill. In fact, the biggest resistance, the general is 7%. But the greatest resistance is in Mindanao, 12%. I don't know if these are Muslims.

Q: There was a move to remove P800M for condoms in the budget because they are being tied to the approval of the Reproductive Health? They said it should not be approved first because

There is no RH law pa?

Serge: Sen. Sotto objected to it on the floor. No big deal. They want to remove it, remove it.

On the APECO

Q: What about the APECO fund? What happened last night?

Serge: The people of Aurora, the parish priest, Fr. Joefran, the people of Aurora came to see me. Can you please take up our concerns because your colleague won't listen to us. So I said, let me take a look at it first. Baka peke or exaggerated. But when I took a look at it, I found it had some validity, violation of laws, etc. Tapos sinuportahan ng 5 bishops, Bishop Pabillo of CBCP and Bishop Tirona of Quezon. And 20 parish priests, all from Aurora. So, mukhang may base ito. At least I am going to raise the concerns.

Q: Walang mababawas sa budget nila?

Serge: No, I am going to propose to cut it during the period of amendments, this afternoon.

Q: Paano kung mag-isa ka lang?

Serge: Baka. That will not stop me.


Q: When will be the next hearing on the Pag-IBIG mess?

Serge: That will be on December 9, pinapatapos ko lang itong budget.

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