Press Release
November 9, 2013

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon
At the sidelines of Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats 20th Anniversary
Saturday, November 09, 2013
Manila Hotel, City of Manila

Q: On the CALD-ALDE anniversary

SP DRILON: The fight for democracy knows no borders. We must fight for democracy anywhere where the authoritarian would tend to suppress democratic ideals. As former chair of Human Rights Committee of the International Parliamentary Union, where we took up many causes of parliamentarians, we welcome the 120 Liberal Parliamentarians all over the world.

Q: What would the Senate do to alleviate the plight of the victims of typhoon Yolanda?

SP DRILON: Firstly, we already gave up the balance of our 2013 PDAF and asked the President to re-align it to the calamity fund. Second, in the past during the earthquake, we allocated a savings of about P6 million which we gave to DSWD for relief operations. We will review our budget next week and see how much savings can still be feasible which we can use to help our constituents affected by the typhoon.

Q: Reaction to the testimony of Napoles where she invoked her right against self-incrimination

SP DRILON: That was expected as her lawyer before the hearing started said she would invoke her rights against self-incrimination, she did invoke that. But, any resource persons to our hearing must tell the truth. Therefore, I join the call of Sen. Teofisto Guingona to review the statements for that hearing.

Q: Shall the Senate summon again Napoles?

SP DRILON: That is a matter for the chair of the Blue Ribbon to decide.

Q: On the proposed people's initiative by former CJ Puno

SP DRILON: That is a process that is recognized in our Constitution and the enabling law. It is not an easy process, but insofar as the objective of abolishing the PDAF, the Senate manifested that for the current year, we are giving up whatever is the remainder of the PDAF and putting it to the calamity fund of the President in order to assist our countrymen especially now that victims of Typhoon Yolanda. For 2014, already a good number of senators have said that we will not avail of the PDAF in 2014 and remove it from the budget. These are initiatives that we are undertaking even before the Supreme Court decides on the issue of constitutionality of the PDAF and even before this initiative taken by former CJ Puno.

Q: Is it still necessary?

SP DRILON: The initiative is there. It is a process that is recognized by the Constitution. What I am saying is that we have already taken steps what the people's initiative wants to achieve.

Q: There were conflicting statements about views on the ASEAN. How optimistic are you that the ASEAN will come into being come 2015?

SP DRILON: I am optimistic that the 2015 commitments will be carried out. There can be some difficulties, but on the part of the Philippines government, we are committed.

Q: What chances have we that we can survive the ASEAN community considering that we are still poor?

That is a challenge to us. I think ours is a strong institution that can withstand shocks of 2015.

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