Press Release
November 10, 2011

Kapihan Transcript (part 1)

On the RH Bill

Q: What do you see as the future of the RH Bill?

Angara: I think the debate on the RH Bill seems to have been stalled, not because of human will, but because of the intervention of the budget into the agenda. I think after the budget is passed by the middle of December, and when we resume by mid-January, I think it will pick up pace again and the debate will be continued. I think it's good that we debate it very intensively because many people have various interpretation of it. To me, we need a statement like this for our people. Not so much because we want our women to abort their pregnancies as much as to say, as the rest of the majority of the world have said to their people, that we must have some planning on the size of the family because we got to save the mother's health and the child's health as well. So, I think to me, that is the essential message of this bill.

Q: I was thinking that it would generate interest especially with the advent of the 7th billion person on this earth last October 31. It looks like it didn't push the bill.

Angara: That's right. Every 23 years, the planet's population will increase by 1 billion. So, 2011, we hit 7 billion. By 2022, it's going to be 8 billion. By 2040, it's going to hit 9 billion. Even now at 7 billion, we are having a difficulty feeding, schooling, clothing and sheltering that many people. Almost half a billion people go to bed hungry and many have no protection at all against the elements. So, we have to worry about those. In the developing countries which is almost half of the 7 billion, the mothers and the infants have no protection at all. That's why we in the Philippines have to worry about the high infant mortality, high infant malnutrition and high maternal death. We are literally wasting the lives of our mothers as well as their children.

Q: So, sir, you think the presidential clout will not have any effect on Congress regarding this bill in particular?

Angara: I think it will have definitely persuasive effects especially in the House. I don't know to what extent it will have a persuasive effect in the Senate. In the Senate, we have a probably unique, peculiar situation because the Senate leadership are bent it seems to disapprove of it. Although, I heard, that they are formulating an alternative bill so that a policy statement can be made by our country.

Q: It's funny that you made that statement because the biggest helper of PNoy in the House would be Edcel Lagman, the Minority Leader?

Angara: I think the majority of the House are supportive of the bill in addition to the leadership provided by Edcel.

On the Hold Departure Order against GMA

Q: Sir, you are one of the legal luminaries of the Chamber, let's go now to the issue of the month. What do you think are the chances of the hold order against the former President being thrown out by the Supreme Court?

Angara: In my opinion, I think the hold order rests on very shaky grounds because the right to travel is a Constitutional right of every citizen without even considering the status and position of the person. And to deprive a citizen of his right or her right, you need a judicial determination. You need a court order to do that, not an administrative decree especially in this case, with due respect to the judgment to the Justice Secretary, there is no charge yet filed against the former President. But given also the peculiar circumstances here, although the opinions are divided, the kind of illness she's suffering from is something that requires a special skill, a special surgical knowledge which may not be really available in the Philippines. That's what my surgeon friends have told me. Why are we holding people from travelling? Because we fear that they may not come back anymore and they might evade whatever legal and judicial processes that may be laid against them. But I think in this case of President Arroyo, the probability of her evading the legal processes of our country may be remote especially because in this time and era, there is practically no place to hide. Media will always find you. The arm of the law is longer now than before and you cannot hide anywhere you go.

Q: Finally, sir, on this matter from my point, a case like this needs to be resolved by the Court sitting on en banc. It can't be handled by just a division.

Angara: Tama 'yun.

Q: Sir, sabi niyo mahirap na makapagtago. Bakit si Lacson for one year nakapagtago.

Angara: Specialist naman si Senator.

Q: Hindi ba kaduda-duda 'yung mga pupuntahan niyang bansa walang extradition treaty?

Angara: Saan ba siya pupunta? Akala ko pupunta siya sa Germany where the specialists are?

Q: She submitted six but she's cutting it down to three. May Spain pa.

Angara: May extradition treaty tayo sa Spain. Hindi ka makapagtago sa Spain. Sa Germany hindi ka rin makapagtago dun. 'Yung mga accused before the International Court of Justice, 'yung mga Yugoslavs, di ba nahuli at nahuli rin sila.

Q: If you say that the DOJ seats on shaking ground, if thrown out by the Supreme Court, she goes.

Angara: She'll be allowed to go because the Supreme Court, part of that ruling most probably is a lifting of the hold order and instruction to the immigration to let her travel.

Q: So there goes the flight risk?

Angara: Yung lilipad?

Q: Yung kinakatakuan nilang flight risk

Angara: Yung flight risk means evasion. Yung evading the processes of the Philippines. Halimbawa, nagfile ng case, may subpoena, tapos she will not appear kasi she could not be found anywhere. That's the feared consequence that's why the hold order. But yung tatakbo lang, palagay ko hindi naman, simply staying out of the country is not flight. Well, literally, it's flying, you know but its not the flight contemplated by law.

Q: Sir, you mentioned that you were consulting some Korean friends

Angara: No, not consulting. They told me. That kind of surgical operation is quite unique. It requires a specially trained and experienced surgeon to undertake it. Because if its so close to the spinal and to the nerves, its not just simply because you are a surgeon, that you'll be very experienced to handle that surgical operation.

Q: Sir yung Philippine Medical Association, they are saying na maraming expert dito na kayang kaya nila?

Angara: Yun nga. That's why I said the opinion is divided. But even sa medical profession may specialist and specialist and specialist involved can do an operation on liver. Iba iba ang specialty niyan eh. And specialty means talagang I guess talagang prolonged training and practice.

Q: Did they mention anything about her ability to travel despite her condition? Would it still be smart for her to travel, to jump from one country to another?

Angara: Ilan bang country yun? Six countries?

Q: Austria, Singapore, Germany, Spain, US and Canada yata.

Angara: Hindi. Well, I don't know why itinerary is such a "cerpituous" route. If your aim is only to get to one hospital in Germany or in Austria, do you have to via Singapore or via Spain but I guess. I don't if I may advice it or medically safe to travel. But the operation is something sensitive and specialized that you need a really top-notched specialist. I don't know. That's what I heard my friend say or some of my friends saying.

Q: Sir, mag-fafly-in daw po ng experts yun yung offer ng palace kay GMA na sila nalang daw po magsshoulder ng expenses. Sa tingin niyo Sir, wise move ito sa part ng palace?

Angara: But that's not the point eh. Because may mga specialist dun na excels within their laboratory or hospital. Because all the equipment and diagnostic equipment are all there, the trained personnel assisting him are all there. It's not simply getting a doctor or a specialist surgeon to fly here and say that's enough substitute. Besides, I really don't understand why this very parang almost unnecessary hassle over medical attention. Why are we already proceeding from the assumption that she is not going to return and that she is going to evade the processes of our Philippine Courts when in fact there are still no court case. So it's almost like we are debating, shadowboxing parang ganun ang impression ko dito. Now, on the humanitarian side, I think it is almost inarguable to deny a person access to expert medical attention.

Q: Sir, ano yung credibility ni GMA. I think major factor yun.

Angara: Unfortunately nga, she may have low credibility but to me that's almost beside the point. Its one's life whether that person is credible or not. I think one life is valuable as the next and we ought to save every single life. And if that person can afford access to the best medical attention, why deny him that? I think the presumed and the speculative speculation that she will escape I think is not good enough reason to deny her access to medical attention.

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