Press Release
July 4, 2012

Transcript of Mornings @ ANC Interview with Senator Franklin M. Drilon

On the AMLA amendments

There are three proposed amendments. The first two have been passed; the third we did not have time. The first one is an issue whether or not we need a court order in order to look into bank accounts. In a SC decision penned by then Justice Tinga, it said that before you look into a bank account, you have to notify the depositors. You go to court and ask for permission, and then you notify the depositor. It's flimsy and it destroyed the whole process. The moment you notify, he will simply withdraw the money. Remember that this is not an authority to freeze; it's an authority to look into bank accounts. So, why should you notify the depositor? In fact, the law has sustained that when we freeze, there's no need to notify. Why to notify in a less harsh power? Since it's a SC decision, we had to amend it.

We just follow the constitutional provisions on search warrant. I emphasize this is not to freeze, but to examine bank accounts.

The second point is on the matter of anti-terrorist financing. We prevent the use of our banking system for terrorist financing. We cannot allow terrorist, terrorism to make use of our banking system to hide their finances.

The third - which we were not able to discuss - is the expansion of coverage of money laundering law. Principally, we look at the casinos, jewelers, etc. Why the AMLC and FATF (Financial Action Task Force) pushed this? It is because casinos are very convenient way of laundering money. If I am a kidnapper or carnapper and I have P1M, I'll go to casinos to buy chips for one million, stay in the casinos for five minutes, go back and encash it. With that, I effectively washed dirty money.

The first two - because of what we did - the FATF removed us from dark grey list.

The consequences are very difficult especially that we rely a lot on OFW for dollar remittances. Being in a dark grey list would mean an enhanced examination of dollar remittances. Mapapahirapan po ang ating mga manggagawa.

Delayed remittances and avoiding the regular banking system will be the sanctions. OFWs may be discouraged from going to the banks because of this enhanced examinations; they might go to the Black Market to remit money with all the dangers of their remittances being lost. Also, these remittances will not go to our gross national reserves.

In 2001, I had to go to that FATF office in Paris, France to plead for the Philippines because we were already in the black list. We had to do it fast and I'm glad in 2001 we were able to align our financial system with the international standards.

We are an independent country; we can do what we want. Nobody can threaten us. It is just a matter of being aware of what the consequences are. In the same way that we cannot be threatened, neither we cannot prevent the FATF from imposing those sets of requirements. It's a judgment call that we have to make. We do not want casinos to be a venue to which you can wash dirty money.

Right now, the banking system, insurance, and the companies that are registered with SEC are covered. Casino is something that slipped through the process.

On the 'Tunay na Magsaysay' issue

I've never called Mitos a 'fake' Magsaysay. What I said is I endorse the son of former President Ramon Magsaysay Sr., ang Tunay na Magsaysay, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. that is the reality. He is the son of our former president.

On the plan to relocate Senate offices

We are renting a total of anywhere from P110 to P120 million a year. And we have been paying since 1992. So, that's a huge sum of money already. The second issue is that in a Bicameral setup, we do a lot of coordination with the House of Representatives, it is extremely difficult. We're two hours apart.

The Senate President has authorized me, together with Senator Bongbong Marcos and Senator Pia Cayetano to start looking at options. First, we looked at the Film Center but it's structure is difficult; second, we looked at the Post Office but it is too huge for us and the surrounding is not very clear and it gets flooded ; third, UP System offered us properties along the campus not inside the campus; outside of the campus. They asked us to examine it.

Let me emphasize that these are just options.

On the CJ nomination

I declined CJ nomination out of delicadeza, even if it's a lawyer's dream. My delicadeza told me they might attribute motives other than sufficient evidence to convict the former CJ impelled me to vote in the way I voted. I have always been either in the Executive, a former Executive Secretary, Justice Secretary; in the legislative, I had been Senate President. I don't think that at 66 years old changing your career path is not exactly what you're really looking forward to.

On a megadam project

Not only that, I have been working on a number of projects that can help our economy and change the lives of our people. Basically I'm putting up a mega dam. It's the Jalaur Multi Purpose Rive Project. It's an P11.2-B project which will irrigate 32,000 hectares in Panay and provide 85,000 cubic meters of bulk water to Iloilo. We will have an 800-hec reservoir, manmade lake which will be an eco-tourism place, and we will provide 7megawats of hydroelectric power.

Next week, hopefully we sign a loan agreement with the Korea Export-Import Bank. I work also on cleaning up the Iloilo river. These are the things which I have fulfillment in doing - one of the reasons why I declined the nomination.

It is not located on a fault line. There is a certification from PHIVOLCS that the nearest fault line is 11 kilometers away. The standard is near 5 kilometers. Pantabangan is about 5.3 meters.

On CJ nomination

Let me say, in the US, nominations to the vacancies in the SC, are on ideological lines. In fact, right now, there are nine justices; four of whom are liberals, five are being conservatives - five having been appointed by Republican president, the four being appointed by the Democrats. You see here, the tendency really is for the President to appoint somebody that speaks along the same line, the same philosophy. But it doesn't mean that if they are of the same philosophy, kakampihan ka na. Look at the latest vote on the medicare, who was the crucial vote? The swing vote, the CJ. He was a republican nominee.

Unfortunately, in our country there is no such very clear ideological lines which would distinguish one from the other. It's all based on personalities. That's why suddenly the way the nomination processes are done has demeaned the Office of the Chief Justice. It's like a circus. There are nominees such as a nurse, a judge who was dismissed for consulting dwarves.

Having said that, as I said, it's sad that it has developed into this way. It will teach us a lesson. In case the Constitution is amended, I think we should take a second look at the system. I am not saying that the JBC, that the alternative to the Commission on Appointments is a better option. Maybe let's review the system, the composition, the appointing power on the lower courts. You can consider - I'm prepared to examine this - maybe in the lower court, you can lodge the appointing authority to the Supreme Court to shield it from political considerations. All these things are worth debating, I am not stating a position; I'm just stating that there is a basis for reviewing the situation if we come to that.

On the allegation that senators and congressmen got pork barrel as rewards

Everyone got his/her pork barrel. Even Congressman Toby Tiangco, he got his pork barrel also. What is important is you use these entitlements given to Senators and Congressmen.

On LP slate in 2013 elections

There are a number of coalition talks going on. I am not at liberty to reveal them. In reality, we cannot have a pure LP slate. We do not have a monopoly of politics. So, we will have coalitions with the number of political parties. Talks are going on. I don't want to say which party. Let me just say that these are not very easy things to come up with. There are a lot of complications and we are very careful because we want a coalition partner that is sync with us insofar as the programs of the President are concerned.

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