Press Release
September 10, 2013

Transcript of Press Briefing of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

On Zamboanga crisis

SP DRILON: I appeal to media to cooperate with government and not give a blow by blow account of what is happening, especially in so far as the position or strategy of the AFP or the PNP. You know, the Luneta incident is still fresh in our minds and the issue raised was the over-coverage of the media which included a blow by blow account of what was happening; and this certainly affected the ability of the police authorities to handle the situation and in fact, resulted in the unfortunate death of a number of Hong Kong residents.

So, we appeal to media, with some degree of cooperation, without in anyway affecting the exercise of the right to inform our people, but maybe you should make sure that such coverage will not prejudice the higher interest of resolving this problem.

The authorities must act firmly on this Zamboanga episode because we recall that in 2001, this also happened when the Cabatangan, Zamboanga City incident, I think the same MNLF group had hostaged a number of Zamboanga City residents and government was pictured to be weak in dealing with that.

I congratulate (Zamboanga City) Mayor Beng Climaco for the firmness she has shown for rejecting any proposal to fly the MNLF emblem in the City Hall of Zamboanga. Iisa lang po ang atin bansa, iisa ang salitang likas ng Pilipinas, iisang Philippine National Police. Hindi po puwede na that our sovereignty as one country be compromised by such act even symbolic of flying the emblem of the MNLF in the seat of government in Zamboanga City. We should reject that and we should support Mayor Beng Climaco in that regard.

On his pictures with Napoles

SP DRILON: On another topic. There is a clear effort to implicate me as guilty by association with the picture shown last night on television. Let me make it very clear that none of my PDAF allocations was ever assigned or given to any project of this Napoles or any of her NGOs. You can go through the DBM and COA websites and you can go through it with a fine comb and you will not see a single peso of my PDAF being assigned to any of the Napoles NGOs. The NGO that I work with is the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry where I have assigned a substantial portion of the PDAF to build classrooms all over the country at half the cost of government contractors and this is to fill in the gap at that time of the classroom shortage. So, I have dealt with the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, this is the NGO that I am working with to build classrooms all over the country. A substantial portion of my PDAF also goes to the indigent patients in National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine General Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Children's Hospital and other government services where indigents would avail of this PDAF, none of the Napoles NGOs.

Insofar as that picture is concerned, Mrs. Drilon and I were invited to a dinner. Mrs. Drilon, being an active church worker, was invited because the guests were seminarians from China who were here on a study tour. I repeat, these were Chinese seminarians who were here on a study tour. And, there were also orphans and street children who were beneficiaries of a church-led feeding program. Yes, we were there. Pictures were taken.

But ang importante po ay walang piso ng aking PDAF ay nagpunta sa mga NGOs ni Jenny Napoles. Puwedeng mayroon pang lalabas ng ibang pictures kasi nakikita ko rin siya sa ibang social gatherings, there can be other pictures because I had seen her in other gatherings but you know, kami naman mga politico ay marami nag papapicture sa amin at hindi naman naming tinatanong kung "sino ka ba." And I did not know the business of Ms. Napoles when all of these were happening. So, this is the situation. As I said, there is a clear effort to implicated me and make me appear as guilty by association. I reject such implication.

Q: Sir, aside from you, Sen. Loren Legarda was also implicated based on the COA 2012 reports. What is your comment on that?

SP DRILON: Hindi ko pa nakikita 'yun COA report nabasa ko lang kanina sa payahagan. Ang pakaalam ko sa payahagan ang sinabi ni Sen. Loren ito ay huminggi ng mayor or some municipal officials, kaya binigay niya sa municipal government. She had no control as to which NGO executed these projects.

Q: Do you have any information who's behind the effort to implicate you?

SP DRILON: I have information but its all conclusions which I do not want to get into. It certainly very clear, ito'y pinadala sa TV networks kagabi sabi sa akin.

Q: Sino yung nag-host nung event and kayo ba invited lang ni Mrs. Drilon na samahan niyo siya doon sa event na yun?

SP DRILON: You're asking sinong kinumbida? Siguro kaming mag-asawa. Si Mrs. Drilon bilang active church worker. That was the consideration, I assume.

Q: Meron kasing mga instances na ang mga mag-asawa na kagaya sa inyo na yung wife yung iniimbita tapos yung wife naman ay yayayain yung husband na 'samahan mo ako dito' kasi mas magalig ka makipag-mingle sa mga tao don?

SP DRILON: Alam mo hindi ko naman na maalala mga circumstances noon but considering that it was a dinner siguro naman hindi masama na sinamahan ko yung asawa ko sa gabi.

Q: Do you personally know Janet Napoles? Ano pagkakilala mo sa kanya?

SP DRILON: Kilala ko siya socially. Hindi ko alam ano ang negosyo niya. Hindi ko talaga alam.

Q: So madami, sir, na occasions na ...

SP DRILON: Hindi ko talaga alam kung marami. I meet her socially in parties. Posible may picture din dun but alam mo naman kaming mga pulitiko, picture ng picture.

Q: Sino po nagpakilala sa inyo kay Napoles?

SP DRILON: Hindi ko na maalala because that was some time ago.

Q: Kung iimbestigahan po ito, are you willing to be investigated?

SP DRILON: Investigated for what? Because may picture kami? Ganun ba yun? Ano ang iimbesitgahin don? To answer your question, sige imbestigahan niyo. And I will ask ano ang imbestigahin? I'm willing to face, obviously. Wala naman akong tinatago but that kind of question, aba, mabigat na yun kasi you assume that I have done something wrong. So you investigate because I am guilty by association. Like I said, that's a matter which I am willing to face.

Q: Sir, from the opposition ang possible behind it?

SP DRILON: Ah, no. I will not speculate on that.

Q: Sir, naaalala niyo po kung anong year yung mga picture na yun?

SP DRILON: Di ko maalala. But I remember, minsan lang naman ako pumunta sa Heritage Park sa gabi eh on a dinner. Di naman ako nagddinner dun.

Q: Do you think the pictures were leaked to take the heat away from the people earlier mentioned?

SP DRILON: I would not speculate. Those are conclusions. What I am saying is that this picture is specifically sent to media outlets. I will repeat. You can go through the website of COA and DBM from 2004, 2005. Whatever is available in the website of DBM and COA. You can go through it line by line in so far as my PDAF usage is concerned. Wala po kayong makikita dun na I have dealt with any of the NGOs associated with Ms. Napoles.

Q: Did she ever talk to you about her NGOs or trying to convince you?

SP DRILON: No, she did not. Not a single instance she talked to me about her NGOs.

Q: Sir, you mentioned that you met her in social gatherings, paano po ang pakilala sa kanya or papano po ang pagkakakilala niyo sa kanya?

SP DRILON: I never knew what her business was. Yes, she was introduced to me.

Q: She was introduced as a businesswoman?

SP DRILON: I don't even remember how she was introduced. She was introduced to me. Mahirap naman sabihin na she was specifically introduced as a businesswoman because the next question is 'Did you not ask what her business was?' I don't recall how she was introduced to me. I am introduced to hundreds of people in social gatherings.

Q: Yung sa latest na news kasi kanina is nadagdagan na naman yung mga pangalan? Mukhang palawak ng palawak tong damage na nangyayari, kayo ba magtataka kung halos lahat pong mga members ng nakaraang kongreso ay madawit dito?

SP DRILON: I will leave that to the investigators. I don't want to speculate. I would like to believe that all of these investigations are done properly and not maliciously.

Q: Ano po yung mga lessons learned ninyo sa mga mahilig lumapit sa inyo at dumiki at magpalitrato?

SP DRILON: Wala siguro. Tanggapin mo na yan. Kasama yan sa pamumuhay naming mga pulitiko na lalapit sa amin at magpapicture. Hindi naman naming pwede sabihin na 'ayoko sa'yo di ka maganda eh'. That's part of the risk that we take.

Q: Are you expecting other pictures to come out to create malice na magkasama kayo?

SP DRILON: I would not be surprised. But I go back, I have not dealt with Ms. Napoles on my PDAF. You can go through with a fine comb the website of COA and DBM. You will not find a single peso of my PDAF funds or project being executed by any NGO associated with Ms. Napoles. Maliwanag po yan.

Q: Sir, tanong ko lang po sino po yung nagpakilala sa inyo kay Ms. Napoles?

SP DRILON: Hindi ko na matandaan. Matagal na 'yun.

Q: Pati po yung taon?

SP DRILON: Hindi ko na maalala nga. Sinabi ko na nga sa inyo na I was there. I was invited. Mrs. Drilon was invited because of her active church work. These were seminarians from China who were here on a study tour. There were kids who were beneficiaries of a church-led feeding program. Andun kami. I do not deny that.

Q: Would you know if Janet Napoles helped or contributed to the LP campaigns in the past?

SP DRILON: I would not know because I was not in charge of raising funds.

Q: Sir, lumilinaw ba yung plot to discredit your Senate Leadership because after the Mont Blanc issue, meron ka naming pictures with Mrs. Napoles?

SP DRILON: Siguro. It is inevitable that you form some conclusions in your mind. In my mind, yes. But you cannot pinpoint to anyone. I can only talk about the facts.

Q: Sir, you also have a picture with Mr. Napoles, hindi niyo siya kilala personally?

SP DRILON: Yes. I knew him as the husband of Napoles in that gathering. He was introduced to me.

Q: In the gatherings na nakita niyo si Mrs. Napoles, meron po ba kayong nakitang fellow senators na nadun din sila?

SP DRILON: Hindi ko na maalala. Possible that there are others.

Q: Sir, naalala niyo po ba kung ilang beses niyo po siya nakita sa mga social gatherings? Less than 10? Less than 5?

SP DRILON: Less than 10, certainly. I cant remember but I have seen her maybe three or four times in social gatherings but wala kaming pinagusapan na PDAF.

Q: Sir, naalala niyo po anong year kayo last na nagkita?

SP DRILON: If you are asking for things like the time that I met her which was not significant. I do not remember these things.

Q: Nang marinig ninyo yung pangalan ni Napoles, nasabi ninyo ba na "baka na-meet ko na siya?'

SP DRILON: Nang lumabas ang pangalan niya, yes ito nga ang na-meet ko, but again wala kaming pinag-usapan na gagamitin ko ang NGO niya para sa aking PDAF. What is important: nakasama ba ako doon sa kanyang paggamit ng PDAF ng senador o hindi?

Q: Sana raw Sir nabanggit ninyo na kaagad na na-meet ninyo si Napoles nang una pa lang?

SP DRILON: Maybe that's a shortcoming that I had, but that doesn't make me guilty of using her NGOs. Maybe looking back, I should have revealed it because wala naman akong ginamit na NGO niya.

Q: May effort na ba to trace kung kanino galing yung pictures?

SP DRILON: Hindi ko alam and I don't go into that. Let them do it and I will defend myself against such unfair accusation.

Q: May lumalabas na nagbibigay ng pera si Napoles sa mga dumadalo as giveaway?

SP DRILON: Hindi niya ako binigyan ng pera.

Q: Ganoon ba siya kakilala at palagi siyang present sa mga social events?

SP DRILON: I don't know if she is a regular guest.

Q: Meron bang mga pagbabago sa pakikisama ng mga kapwa ninyo senador sa inyo matapos itong issue kay Napoles?

SP DRILON: Sa pakikitungo sa akin, wala. Walang umiiwas.

Q: Wala ba itong kinalaman sa maagang adjournment ng session?

SP DRILON: Ang maagang adjournment is a result of the fact that this is a new Congress. It took as time to organize the committees. The committees have just started hearing the bills; the fact is it takes a little time for the committee reports to be on the floor. But we have already put on the floor the bill that would postpone the SK election, the FOI bill will be sponsored before we go on a break on September 28. The fact of early adjournment is because probably we start session on time.

Q: Possible charges kina Misuari?

SP DRILON: I don't want to speculate at this point because that may just add fire into already volatile situation.

Q: According to Fontanilla, wala raw gulo kung pinayagan sila na magpunta sa City Hall?

SP DRILON: Hindi po pwedeng payagan sila ng ganoon because the sovereignty of the country is indivisible. Hindi pwedeng may isang lugar na may sariling pamahalaan. Hindi pwedeng payagan ang sinuman na magtayo ng sariling pamahalaan whether in Zamboanga or in any part of the country because the sovereignty of the country to govern is at stake.

Q: Do you support the President's decision not to declare a state of emergency?

SP DRILON: Yes, I support that and let us support the decision because the President is in full control. He is in a situation where he knows all the facts. We should not speculate on what to do next dahil hindi naman natin alam ang sitwasyon doon.

Q: Sabi ng Pangulo, kakasuhan na yung mga involved sa PDAF this Friday?

Hindi ko alam. This is the first time I am hearing that. But what the President said is that we will go where the evidence leads us.

Q: Hindi n'yo sila poprotektahan?

SP DRILON: The investigation is being done. I don't think that my colleagues would like to be protected in the sense of cover they. We will not agree to that.

Q: Ano yung procedure kapag ang senador ay kinasuhan like ng plunder?

SP DRILON: The matter of disciplining the senators can only be decided by the Senate?

Q: Pag charged, automatic ban a moto propio o kailangan mag-investigate ng Senate Ethics Committee?

SP DRILON: Charged in Court, not NBI, once charged in Court, it is not even automatic. There has to be a case filed in the Ethics Committee because the matter of disciplining members of Congress would be the prerogative of the House where they belong, not the Courts.

Q: Paano kapag plunder?

SP DRILON: I will not speculate into that.

Q: Walang moto propio?

SP DRILON: There is no moto propio case in the Ethics Committee. Whoever is charged will be given every opportunity to defend himself or herself.

Q: Ano ang impact ng Zamboanga crisis sa peace talks with the MILF?

SP DRILON: We should not allow this incidence to stand in the way of our being able to complete successfully the peace process and the peace talks with the MILF. It would be a disservice to our country and to our quest for peace if we suspend any discussion on the annexes because of this incident. I will not endorse that. We should continue to push for the final agreement on the framework agreement with the MILF.

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