Press Release
July 23, 2012

Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano TRANSCRIPT of Interview Re:
Senate opens under 3rd regular session

(on Charter Change)

Reporter: How do you feel about the Senate President and House Speaker's effort to amend the Charter?

ASC: I do believe that if you do a survey between the administrations of Cory Aquino, FVR, Erap, Arroyo and PNoy's now, you will see that having a plan and getting out corruption, and following the examples of countries abroad can solve problems. So for every problem that they are saying that can be solved by ChaCha, I can mention a country that did not need ChaCha and did not need that kind of amendment or provision, but figured out a way to make it work. I do believe that ChaCha will be divisive. I do believe that ChaCha will take out the focus on more pressing problems that can be addressed.

For example, dati parati sinasabi ang ownership of land. For example, they were saying before that nothing will happen to China because you can't own land there, or if the Communist Party or the country itself owns the land the investors will not come in. But in the last 20 years, who has shown the biggest growth? This happened because the Chinese were able to assure investors that they mean business and that their policies are stable.

Ako, rather than ChaCha, I would rather focus on anti corruption, more infrastructure, predictable public policy, and peace and order. Yung apat naman na 'yon ang hinihingi. Gumawa kayo ng survey sa kahit anong business group sa local and international, yung apat na yon ang sasabihin, hindi ChaCha.

I do believe they have good intentions. I do believe the SP is looking for means for our country to have an economic quantum leap. But remember, once you tinker with the Constitution, no matter what assurance you give that the nature of the amendment will only be economic and not political, you still cannot eliminate the possibility of the latter from entering into the picture.

Number two, because of the setup of the country, our elite kind of democracy with only a select few controlling the majority of our economy, economics and politics have become intimately linked. So if you tinker with economics, you will also be tinkering with politics. It would be na--ve to say that politics has nothing to do with the economy.

So I would say proceed but proceed with caution. But if we can, let's just focus on the problem and solutions. ChaCha is only one of many possible solutions, but it will always be controversial. So for all the problems they have enumerated, including getting more capital in the country, even with the massive amount of money that you need in extracting, for example, natural resources, there is and there can be a way of doing that without amending the Constitution.

Reporter: Kung makuha ba ni Senate President Enrile saka ni House Speaker Belmonte yung support ni President on ChaCha, will this help the cause?

ASC : I always believe that there are three ways in getting things done in the country: (1) Kung gustong gusto ng Presidente; (2) Kung ayaw bitawan ng media, at may consensus between media na pinupukpok parati ; (3) Divine intervention. Right now, wala pang indication sa tatlong aspect na yon that ChaCha is a priority. But if the President makes it a priority, with both the Senate and the House leadership doing the same, then the next battle field will be the media -whether or not the opinion-makers will agree and whether or not the message will be transmitted to the people in such a manner that people will think that this is not politically-motivated to and that it will really help our country. As I have said, let us have good debates on this.

Even on taxation, dalawa ang ni-name ng Pangulo: (1) Sin Taxes; (2) Mining. But our whole taxation system should be reviewed. I was looking at it. Sa limang araw palang na nagtatrabaho tayo sa isang linggo -two days doing that for the government, yung tatlong araw lang ang para sa pamilya mo kasi ang income tax alone is already 30%. Anything else na bilhin mo, may VAT, may amusement tax, may Sin Tax, whatever.

So, it's not only the amount of revenues that government should get. We should look at the whole system and who benefits fro it. So, I think these are the things that I am happy the President will bring out in the open, but let us have a good debate. Huwag nating isara sa ChaCha lang or sa foreign capital. Kung ano yung nararamdaman ng ating mga kababayan, let us also focus on that.

(on proposed economic measures)

Reporter: Maraming sinabi na economic measures na if-focus, do you think the Senate has time?

ASC: Kung gusto kaya. Nakita niyo naman kapag last three days ng session, ang dami naming napapasa. And if you see, most of the other bills, yung mga hindi nabanggit pero priority in the past or priority ng ibang senador, mature na yung stage. Ibig sabihin, may committee report na, ready na sa floor.

So really, it's just a matter of discipline. Kung talagang gusto ng mga senador at ng mga congressman na maipasa itong lahat, ang gawin natin, kung ano ang ginagawa natin sa last three days ng kahit anong session o before the closing, gawin natin weekly. Meaning, Monday, Tuesday, you can go on a relaxed pace, and then Wednesday, we ask all of the Senators to be here and really pass what we have to pass. Pero kung gusto talaga, kayang gawin.

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