Press Release
September 2, 2013

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On the discussion during the Caucus

SP DRILON: Since we have convened, there has been no committee report on the floor. So I asked the committee chair to speed up the committee hearings. The first one is the Freedom of Information Bill, the committee report will be prepared after one or two weeks. We intend to debate on that before we adjourn. Second, the SK election. Sen. Marcos will have a hearing tomorrow. We will pass it before we adjourn September 28.

Third, the bills with committee reports which were prepared during the 15th Congress. Unless there is strong objection after one committee hearing, this will be submitted in the 16th Congress as a measure and we hope that we will pass it the same manner as it was passed in the previous Congress.

We agreed that we work on these bills so that on the first 100 days of this Congress, these are the bills that subject

Q: How about Sir the Blue Ribbon Committee?

SP DRILON: There was no discussion in the Caucus. We have no more committee rooms. But among the response to me was they said the committee rooms are occupied by the Committee on Finance. The Committee on Finance will have to reduce the area that they occupy for committee hearings.

Q: On the 2014 budget

SP DRILON: The Committee Report will be submitted before September 25 and before we go on recess and hope for the best.

Q: Sir pwede i-adopt yung sa last Congress?

SP DRILON: That's one of the options.

Q: Sabi ni Former Senator Angara na i-stop muna yung Senate investigation kasi nga magiimbestiga na yung Ombudsman?

SP DRILON: Well, I don't know. That depends on the Committee chair and the members. No one has proposed to stop.

Q: On abolishing PDAF

SP DRILON: We support that if that is the case. We support that in the Senate. We have 15 Senators who already said that they are ready to abolish PDAF.

Q: Paano po yung proseso?

The PDAF is in the budget. We have to wait for the budget to come up to the Chamber and then, on the period of amendments, we will make that amendment.

Q: Pwede na bago nila dalhin dito naalis na nila yung PDAF?

SP DRILON: That is correct. When it is submitted to us, the General Appropriations Bill is passed by the House; when it comes to us, the PDAF item for 2014 is already deleted.

Q: Ma-re-realign po ba sa ibang agency?

SP DRILON: We will wait for their proposal. What can happen are number 1) PDAF can be totally scrapped and in which case you reduce the total budget of the national government to that extend and consequently, you will also reduce the deficit by reducing the expenditure program; or number 2) they can remove the PDAF and distribute them to line agencies. I do not know what they will do. We will see what the GAB looks like when it is submitted to us.

Q: Nag-usap na kayo ni Speaker Belmonte?

SP DRILON: Hindi pa because kanina lang nag-caucus wala ako roon.

Q: Yung 5 agencies na pinapa-abolish, kailangan ba ng legislation?

SP DRILON: No. The GOCC Governance Act would authorize the President upon the recommendation of the GOCC Governance Council to abolish GOCCs particularly under certain standards. There are standards in the law as to when this discretion can be exercised. It needs not go to Congress.

Q: Kailangang i-abolish na because of the controversy?

SP DRILON: There is a legal basis to abolish them because from the way they are operating, these GOCCs, they provide sufficient grounds for the President to exercise his power under the GOCC Governance Act that we passed. We delegated to the President the power to abolish on certain conditions. For example, the purpose for which they were formed is no longer valid or they have been losing or moribund for some time. These GOCCs mentioned will be abolished because they are not performing anymore the functions for which they are formed, or they are losing, so the abolition is pursuant to an authority granted to the President.

Q: Sir, sa abolition po you mentioned earlier na hindi na kailangan ng legislation to abolish the pork barrel.

SP DRILON: We won't need a legislation because once the General Appropriations bill comes to us and once the House will say no PDAF anymore, you won't need a resolution because the General Appropriations no longer contain it.

Q: Sir, sa mga NGO, pwede ba talaga o hindi magbigay ang mga senador?

SP DRILON: I am studying that but my initial studies, I must emphasize, indicated that NGOs can be granted public funds. Of course, they have to be accountable for this. I am reviewing this because the provisions in the General Appropriations Act and there were COA circulars that would indicate that the granting to NGOs is allowed under the law. Of course, the NGOs should be valid, authentic. For example, the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce. That's an NGO and that's allowed under the General Appropriations Act.

Q: Sir, kailangan po ba silang mag-report sa Congress ng kanilang accomplishment doon?

SP DRILON: At the very least, they are subject to a COA audit.

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