Press Release
December 13, 2010

Transcript of Interview of Senate President on the 2011 Budget

Q: Sir, magkakaroon daw po kayo ng caucus tungkol sa budget? SP: Ang balita ko natapos na 'yung Bicam at irereport ata.

Q: So, wala kaong naka-schedule na caucus before the session?

SP: Wala naman. Wala naman kaming pag-uusapan na.

Q: Sir, iraratify na ba later? SP: Kung tapos 'yung Committee Report. Balita ko kanina, kausap ko si Senator Drilon, I think they're signing the Bicameral Conference Committee Report. So, hopefully, if we will be able to ratify the Bicameral Conference Committee Report this afternoon on the budget, we can set that aside already and move on to some other things.

Q: Sir, reaction lang, may mga magwawalk-out daw na judge ng RTC sa Manila kapag itinuloy 'yung cut sa Judiciary.

SP: Bakit naman sila magwawalk-out? Mag-strike sila eh 'yung budget hindi naman namin binawasan. Wala kaming bawas and we cannot increase the budget of the President. Alam nila 'yun. They're men of the law. I don't know that we cut any portion of the budget of the Courts. In fact, mayroon akong dinagdag sa Court of Appeals dahil kailangan nila.

Q: The Senate panel daw adopted the position na magkaroon ng P200 million cut para sa contraceptives.

SP: Ang kina-cut namin ni Tito ay P380 million lahat. Pinabayaan na namin 'yung P8 million for condoms para 'yung mga may HIV ay magamit nila 'yun pero 'yung mga pills at injectibles, P280 million for pills, P100 million for injectibles. Sabi ko P380 million, wag naman.

Q: Sir, tatanggalin totally or reduce lang?

SP: Ika-cut lang at ire-realign to other more important matter. SUCs yata, sa education. Debt service is covered. Anong sabi Tito?

Senator Sotto: Nireport daw sayo ni Senator Drilon ay pipirmahan na. Pumayag na tayo na irestore nila is 'yung obstetrics, maternal care. Tapos 'yung prenatal.

SP: Pero 'yung pills at injectibles?

Senator Sotto: Wala lahat. Pipirmahan na raw.

SP: They're signing already.

Senator Sotto: And then we move to a re-titling. Ang title na ngayon nung program ay hindi Reproductive Health, ang title na ngayon ay Family Health, Responsible Parenting and Maternal Care.

SP: Correct. Para level playing field.

Q: Sir, under that kasama 'yung pambili ng condom?

Senator Sotto: Wala.

SP: Natanggal din 'yung P8 million. E di P388 'yun.

On the Nobel Prize Awarding

Q: Sir, hindi po tayo nagpadala ng representative doon sa Nobel Prize Awarding dahil sa pressure from China. Do you think, sir, the Philippines did the right thing?

SP: Ako, this is my personal view, you know in things like those, you have to balance many things and always look at the interest of the country as a whole. When you talk of interest of the country, not just the theoretical interest of a nation but what it will mean to her people, not only inside but outside the country --- your relationship with other countries. So, I think, I probably would have decided the issue in the same way that the administration had decided if I were in their place. Suppose we reverse the situation and we are the country involved and the Nobel Prize is given to one of our countrymen who is also a problem for the country, I think we would also feel the same way that China would feel. Now, I know that they say that we are bowing to China, but my question to those who are advocating that we should have participated in that act, are they not bowing to the wishes of the Western powers? Of course we believe in democracy, we believe in freedom. But in effect, if we are going to do what they want us to do, we have an interest to China --- economic, political and security. We have people earning their living there and we cannot say that the country is not hurt when other countries do something. In the same manner that we will probably be hurt if a Nobel Prize is given to Jose Ma. Sison. Of course, we sympathize with the guy who is jailed by China but that is in accordance with their national interest --- their internal security interest.

Q: Pero sir, ano po ang impact ng international condemnation ng human rights activists? In terms of mga foreign grants...

SP: Who are condemning? What are the countries that are condemning us? Let them do what they want. If that's the way they want to treat us, they will stand alone, they also have their economic interest here. They have people working with us here.

Q: Are we casting our lot on the side of China?

SP: I think it's about time we rethink our position in this world because we can no longer ignore China. Anybody who will ignore China will have to examine his head.

On Palace granting amnesty

Q: Sir, Palace is open daw to granting amnesty sa mga iba pang political prisoners.

SP: I will not make any comment on that until it becomes a matter of fact because we will have to see what the Executive wants us to do with respect to those things because we have a lot of things to consider.

Q: Sir, hindi ba 'yun consideration sa pag-start ng peace talks?

SP: You know, let all of these things be on the table when they discuss the problem of peace.

Q: Too early to talk about giving amnesty to the leftists?

SP: Too early.

On the Morong 43

Q: Sir, 'yung Morong 43 asking the military na mag-apologize sa ginawa sa kanila.

SP: I think they should already accept the fact that they were released. If they have any case at all, bring it to Court so that it will be decided in accordance with our judicial process. I doubt whether they can make a case out.

Q: Sir, bakit po? Kung pinapa-atras 'yung kaso, ibig sabihin mahina 'yung kaso against them.

SP: Hindi. That is the decision of the Executive but that doesn't mean that the case is not strong.

On the Case against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Q: Sir, 'yung proposal na PCGG na lang ang mag-take ng cases which will be filed against the former President.

SP: They have to amend the Executive Order but they cannot amend that Executive Order because that is in the form of a law --- a Congressional Act. That is not just simply an Executive Order by President Cory because she had legislative power at the time, she was Congress at the time.

Q: It can be amended?

SP: Yes. In fact, that also crossed my mind. Why not just use the PCGG and put all the former Justices of the Supreme Court there to run after those who had ill-gotten wealth.

News Latest News Feed