Press Release
August 23, 2011

SEN. DRILON After PCOO budget hearing

Q: On SC TRO re FG Arroyo watchlist order

I cannot understand why the DoJ cannot watch Atty Mike Arroyo. Atty Mike Arroyo can also watch Sen Ping Lacson. If Sen Ping Lacson wants to leave the country, certainly Atty Mike Arroyo can watch Sen Lacson. Bakit po hindi pwedeng isama si Atty Mike Arroyo sa watchlist? I am asking this rhetorical question because a watchlist does not impair the right to travel of a citizen. It is simply a watchlist. It is not a hold departure order. A hold departure order can be issued only by the courts because that is a restriction on the freedom of a citizen to travel. A watchlist is nothing more than a watchlist and I fail to understand and maybe it can be explained better kung bakit hindi pwedeng isama si former FG sa listahan. If I recall correctly, all that the watchlist could require is that when a person--whether you are the former FG or an ordinary citizen--is facing charges before the DoJ, you are included in the watchlist so that the DoJ can be informed if in fact you are going out of the jurisdiction of the government. That's all. In any case, that is a matter pending with the court and we do hope that these issues can be threshed out because it can also unduly restrict the authority of the government to prosecute crimes, particularly the DoJ. So I would appeal to the Supreme Court to keep all of these interest into consideration--the government's interest and the interest of the private citizens. I would repeat, the rights of the private citizen, to my mind, are not adversely affected by the inclusion in the watchlist order. On the other hand, the authority of the government to prosecute would have to be considered in relation to the authority to incluse someone in the watchlist.

Q: On PCOO budget

We have asked Sec Coloma to look closely into the contract entered into by the past admin with R-II Builders. The committee is pleased to hear that there are ongoing negotiations for the revision of this contract which appears to be, on the surface, patently disadvantageous to the government. The authority of Sec Limcauco to sign by authority of the President is questionable. The power to sign by authority of the President is reserved exclusively by law to the Executive Secretary. That designation by the Executive Secretary as the only official who can sign by authority of the President cannot be altered by an executive order or an issuance of the President. That is a law that cannot be amended by executive action. The authority of Sec Limcauco to approve that contract is questionable. Also the very essence of the contract itself whether or not it is financially disadvantageous to the government must be closely examined. I am glad that this is being reviewed so that it can pass the legal requirements for transactions of this nature.

We have urged Sec Coloma to review the possibility of converting the Bureau of Broadcast Services and the 32 radio stations all over the country into GOCCs so that the GOCCs can operate without any government subsidy and will have more flexibility as they would no longer be under the GAA. Right now there is no incentive on the part of the Bureau of Broadcast Services to make their operations financially viable because they always rely on the GAA. If we spin off the assets to wholly-owned GOCC, then that would be the key to making the operations more financially viable as there is nothing in the charter of the BBS which would prohibit them from selling airtime. And yet they are not competitive at this point.

Q: Bakit tumaas ng 7% ang PCOO budget?

Principally because of Salary Standardization 3, principally PS.

Q: On habeas corpus to be filed by detained Rowena del Rosario

Habeas corpus is a petition filed by a party requiring an entity or a person who has custody of another person to justify the detention of that particular subject. In this particular case, habeas corpus was filed questioning the right of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to hold Rowena del Rosario in contempt. We will respond accordingly and we are confident that our position can be defended.

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