Press Release
February 7, 2013

Transcript of Kapihan sa Senado with Sen. Franklin M. Drilon

On the LP campaign

The campaign season is on. The proclamation rally of the Liberal Party will be on Feb. 12 at the Plaza Miranda, a very historical site for the Liberal Party. All the 12 candidates will be present and we will start this campaign by presenting a choice to the electorate. The choice is clear, President Aquino and his team stands on the flat form of good governance, Daang Matuwid. Daang Matuwid is the platform upon which the 6.6 percent growth in the gross domestic product was achieved. Of course, the critics from the opposition are quick in pounding on the continued lack of jobs, continued poverty. What they forget is that the President has just been in the office for two and a half years. The President never said he will solve all the problems he inherited from the past administration in two and a half years. Ngunit maliwanag na 'yung mga repormang naumpisahan ni Pangulong Noynoy ay nakikita na natin ang resulta, sa taas at sa paglaki ng atin ekonomiya, the highest in Asia except for China. Kaya ang tanong na ihaharap natin sa taong bayan natin sa kampanyang ito ay are we on the right path? Obviously the answer is yes. The midterm election is a referendum on the President. If our people believe that the President's programs are bearing fruit, then, I think that should be the basis for the people to vote for team PNoy. As the President said, this is his team. Kaya sabi ng Pangulo, bawal ang makiki-angkas, bawal ang nagpapanggap. The President needs his team in the Senate in order to push his program of government which has clearly resulted in improved lives of the people. We have the PPP, pangtawid sa pamilyang Pilipino, which is precisely a bridge program because we realized that while we institute reforms, these will take a little bit of time before we can see the results on the ground. We cannot do this overnight. In the meantime, we have the conditional cash transfer or the PPP in order to bridge the gap between the time that all of these programs would bear fruits and be in place and where we are today. Sa Pangulo Noynoy at ang team PNoy, una po ang tanong bayan. Hindi ko alam kung anong una doon sa oposisyon.

On whether the three common candidates--Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda and Grace Poe--will attend the LP proclamation rally.

Yes, because they believe in the flat form of the President, they believe in the flat form of good governance and they believe in programs of the administration. They are part of team PNoy.

On whether the President will campaign for his candidates. The President will actively campaign for his handpicked and chosen candidates. Walang duda 'yan.

On whether the President's move to actively campaign for his candidates will be deemed as irregular.

What is questionable or irregular about that?

On whether the President will be accused of using government resources for the campaign

Sasagutin namin 'yan kung tatanungin nila. But remember, ang Pangulo ay ang atin political leader kaya siya ay may karapatan, may tungkulin na maka-kampanya dahil sila ay may programang namamahala at itong mga kandidato niya ang tutulong sa programa niya.

On the administration's campaign target 12-0.

We want the 12 to win.

On the administration's strategy to win the campaign

We will clearly present the distinction between the administration and the opposition. We will base this campaign on differentiations between the clear program of this administration and the lack of any program on the part of the opposition. Ano ba ang maipapakita nila?

On rumors that some LP candidates are silently supporting UNA candidates

We will impose party discipline. We have nothing definite at this point but we will impose party discipline.

On Congressman Banal's statement that he will support JV Ejercito

I will ask Cong. Banal about this report. Until I can verify it I will not make any further comment except that we are prepared to discipline our ranks in order that everybody will support team PNoy.

On whether it is necessary to conduct a loyalty check

We will impose party discipline.

On text messages maligning Sen. Legarda

This is not surprising. As I said it is the campaign season and if I were her I will just ignore the text messages. This is part of the propaganda machine of the opposition. I hope you, as a responsible media, will not give credence to this kind of black propaganda.

On the 12-0 goal of the Liberal Party

To achieve a 6.6% growth in the GDP was a tall order when we started this administration. Having the highest growth rate in Southeast Asia is a tall order. Passing the sin tax was a tall order.

We are confident that we would be able to convince the people that Team PNoy is the right team to put in the Senate because they will be the one to push the reforms that the President has started and were finished before his term is over.

We must have a majority supportive of the President's agenda. We are not denying that and that is essential for governance.

On Team PNoy using the achievements of the administration in their campaign

Yes, we will use the achievements of this administration to make a distinction between the administration candidates, the PNoy Team, and the opposition. The administration can be tested on what it has done in the past two years and a half and it is therefore on this basis that it is credible for the President to claim that we will do more, we will continue the reforms with the team that he has picked and supported.

On the policy of Team PNoy for the common candidates

Hindi naman kami batang nag-aagawan. Maliwanag naman na sila'y pinili ni Pangulong Noynoy and they are part of the team of the President. If they are part of the team of the President, that's it. Sabi nga ng Presidente, "Ito ang Team ko. Mag-ingat sa nakiki-angkas. Mag-ingat sa hindi tunay."

On how Team PNoy is preparing for the campaign

We are ready. We have campaign sorties up to the whole week because it is difficult to schedule campaign sorties once the local candidates' campaign sets it. Yes, we have scheduled about 31 sorties between February 12 and the last week of March, before the campaign of the local candidates start.

We said at the start that this will be media-driven. The problem is that we have to be very careful because of the 120 minutes so we have to analyze it carefully. Initially, we thought we have everything covered by media etc. But given the limitations imposed by the Comelec, we have to be very careful that we do not violate the 120 minute-limit.

On Team PNoy candidates campaigning on their own

You cannot avoid individual sorties. In our campaign schedule, we will have four sorties in a week for the team. So, every week, we have scheduled four sorties where we will campaign together. Obviously, the three days will be for individual campaigns for assessment of individual candidates of their campaign and also time to rest, time to assess.

On the change of leadership in the Senate for the 16th Congress

It's a new Congress. I do not know who will be in the new Congress. That's an issue that only senators of the next Congress can decide on.

On being the most unmanageable Senate

That's why we said that we want the majority to support the President's agenda because we want to be tested as an administration on how we are able to improve the lives of the people on the President's agenda. If the agenda gets blocked, then it's difficult to judge this administration on the basis of its platform. We intend this campaign will be platform based. Ito kami. Ito si PNoy. Ito ang kanyang team. Ito ang kanyang mga nagawa. Mag-ingat sa mga hindi tunay sa hindi tunay. Bawal ang nakikiangkas. For the first time, the lines will be clear.

On being the next Senate President

I don't know. These are matters that I don't want to speculate. Nobody can speculate on what the next Senate would be. Nobody offers the Senate Presidency to anyone. Nobody can talk for anybody so that nobody could offer.

On Senator Trillanes naming him as the next Senate President

Trillanes is a colleague. He is entitled to his views. We respect each other. He is expressing a personal view. We have time and again said that there is no stand on this issue.

On the overall performance of the Senate during the 15th Congress

The Senate in the 15th Congress reached heights, which no Congress achieved particularly on the impeachment. It is quite unfortunate that the 15th Congress ended with quarrels among my colleagues. But in terms of we achieved, we achieved a lot. We reformed measures, which could not have happened in the past administrations. Those who have been here before, you have seen how the Sin tax has been mangled in the previous Congress that with the leadership of the President, we are able to achieve reform measures. The impeachment of the Chief Justice and that we were able to complete that democratic process is something that brought honor to the Senate as an institution. Unfortunately, that honor, we must admit, was tarnished by the squabbles that happened by the end of this Congress. But I am confident that as an institution, we will be able to recover.

On the Philippines as the "Asia's rising tiger"

It cannot be denied that this is because of the confidence on President Aquino and his program of government. The growth in our GDP can be attributed to the confidence of the private sector in the administration of President Aquino. They will not invest in the matter that they invested if the private sector did not have confidence in the president. Things are going well with us that is why we are being dubbed as the next tiger economy. Now, should we change the course of our governance? Should we change the daang matuwid platform of this administration by putting in candidates not supportive of the President? Is there anything broke that the opposition is trying to fix? We should continue to support the programs of this administration and PNoy has presented his team. We repeat that this is a referendum of this administration. The opposition would always see a glass half empty. As we said, we are only two and a half years. The President never promised nirvana in two and a half years. The President promised that reforms will be instituted, and reforms have been instituted resulting in a 6.6 percent growth.

Yes, we have not solved our unemployment problem, we have not solved our poverty problem, but, are we on the right path in solving this problem? Obviously, the answer is yes, and that we are addressing our educational needs. We are addressing our health needs. These are all poverty related programs. We have 3.7 million enrolled in our pangtawid sa pamilyang Pilipino program, which is a bridge program. We are devoting 25 billion of our resources for enrollment of about 10 million families, this has never happened in the PhilHealth. This has never happened before. Our fiscal program has resulted in more funds available for poverty alleviation. Yes, we have not achieved everything that the president has promised, but the question is, are we better off today than where we were in July of 2010? Are we better-off today? I would strongly argue that yes, we are better-off today than where we were at the end of Gloria Arroyo's administration. The President has presented his team, which will continue our path towards progress. Daang matuwid is the platform on which the president presents his candidates to the people in this election.

On whether the Aquino administration can sustain the economic growth

Sa pagtatapos ng kanyang termino, may mga targets that unemployment will go down by a certain percentage; that we would be able to have better access to health services; that we would have better quality of education in our country.

On DILG Sec. Mar Roxas as presidential bet of the administration in 2016

Why does there need to be talk of his presidential ambition? If it is some other people talking about their wanting to be president in 2016, it is not too early, but if we say Roxas is our candidate, we say that it is too early. Hindi ba double standard yan? Sec. Roxas is trying to do a good job in the DILG. He has a lot of work and he wants to concentrate on his work. It is unavoidable that we talk about 2016 because 2013 is just a referendum on this administration, and 2016 will be another presidential election.

On whether the result of the midterm election is crucial for 2016

It is crucial as a referendum on the President.

On the Senate's priority bills for the 16th Congress

For one, we have to work on the amendment of the ARMM Charter because the framework agreement and the peace agreement that we will sign will require extensive amendments, an overhaul of the ARMM Charter. That will be the major work at least for the first year of the next Congress.

On the Juvenile Justice Act

I am not very familiar with that.

On the Framework Agreement

The framework agreement will dictate the framework of the new ARMM charter. That is a major work for it involves sustaining the peace in Mindanao that this administration has achieved.

It must be approved by 2015. That should be the priority of the next administration.

On Charter Change

As we talk now, it is not part of agenda of PNoy.

On the inclusion of real estate in the amended AMLA

Real estate transactions, P500,000 and above must be reported. The manner of reporting is what was amended because, now, the old transactions in real estate must be reported through the submission of transfer documents to the Registry of Deeds. Under the AMLA, it is the RoD who is the covered institution who is now to report all these transactions to the AMLC. On the casino, we reached a point that the senate panel had to make a policy judgment. The House took a strong position to exclude the casinos, that was the only issue left. If the Senate insisted on the inclusion of the casino, it could have resolved then in a deadlock. No amendatory would have been passed. We could have been in a worse position. We believe that we have placed our financial system at least 95% within the FATF recommendations because all those recommendations found its way in the law except for one covered institution that is the casino. We had not been able to get that through; the senate version was not followed. But we are confident that since we have complied, we should be able to hurdle the next FATF review.

I am not in a position to say guaranteed or not, but what we are saying is we have aligned our AMLC, domestic legislation with almost 100% recommendations except for the casinos. I am hopeful we should be able to hurdle the review come October.

The House has its own reason. The Senate had casinos. It was a bicam, we had to come on an agreement, if we had not, no law had been passed.

There's already a law the requires automation. We could not go to manual. I could not understand why Chairman Brillantes. It is as simple as that. Congress is the policy making body of this government; we have adopted a policy that we would have automated election. Chairman Brillantes has no authority to say we go back to manual.

The PCOS machines in the last election delivered what is expected of these machines. I don't know of any election protest that was decided on the basis of the results other than what is indicated in the PCOS.

On whether PNoy's popularity will be translated into some political endorsement

The President has taken his political capital here. We are confident his broad support from all sectors of society will be translated into support of his team. We will be campaigning on platform, issue of his performance. The directorate has the confidence to the President and his ability to carry out his promises. We believe that this will carry our candidates. We asked the question: are we better today compared to June 30 of 2010? If we are, we should continue supporting the President and his team.

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