Press Release
May 11, 2016

Transcript of Ambush Interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On topping the senatorial elections

SPFMD: Thank you very much. I thank the people for the new mandate given to me. I would like to think that this is in recognition of our performance as Senate President and let me again thank the people for this new mandate for the next six years.

Q: Significance of the turnover of first batch of certificates of canvass (COC)

SPFMD: We are performing our constitutional duty. Under the Constitution, Congress acts as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) to proclaim the President and Vice President. The Comelec will not be the body to proclaim the new president and vice-president, but it is Congress.

Pursuant to the Constitution, we received this morning, the first batch of certificates of canvass from the City of San Juan which purportedly contains the certificates of canvass and election returns for the president and vice-president.

All of these certificates of canvass will be delivered to the Senate, and we will physically transfer these to the Batasan Complex in Quezon City, where the canvassing will take place.

Q: When you resume sessions on May 23, automatically ang function na ay as NBOC?

SPFMD: Not yet. When we convene on May 23, we will first perform our legislative functions. I met yesterday with Speaker Sonny Belmonte, there are a number of bills which are on the last stages of enactment, particularly there are about five bicameral conference committee reports which will have to be ratified by the House.

There are a number of local bills and franchise bills which we will pass on third reading, which came from the House. There are also a number of local and franchise bills which were amended by the Senate and is now in the House, and the House will adopt the Senate version.

Q: Kelan kayo makakapagconvene as NBOC?

SPFMD: At the latest, we would convene the National Board of Canvassers on Wednesday, May 25. After which, first order of business is the adoption of the rules for canvassing.

Q: Kailan yung pagtatransfer ng COCs sa House?

SPFMD: As soon as we complete and they transmit to us all of the certificates of canvass. Although I do not discount the possibility of partial deliveries, we are able to do it. But nevertheless, the certificates of canvass, as provided by the Constitution, will be delivered to the Senate President.

Q:How soon can you proclaim the winners?

SPFMD: I really can not give a timeframe. I do not see any problem with the presidency, but given the very tight race for the vice-presidency, I would refrain from making any predictions, given the fact that we do not know how things would evolve, or what questions will be raised.

I have done this before in 2004, we proclaimed the president five days before the expiring of the period. We have until June 30 to proclaim the president and the vice-president.

Q: Yung mga senators na kasama sa presidential at vice-presidential race, do they have to inhibit?

SPFMD: It will be in the joint rules. In the Senate , we have seven who ran as president and vice-president. Then we have two under detention, so that's already nine. So twenty-four minus nine, that's fifteen. We have Senator Binay who is related to Vice-President Binay, and Senator Pia. That leaves us with thirteen.

So very tight. We have to constitute a committee of nine to do the actual canvass, so that leaves us only with thirteen senators, and that includes me. So there are only twelve senators from where we can choose the nine.

Q: View on the incoming new senators

SPFMD: I look forward to working with all of them. I have been in the Senate for 18 years, I think I know the institution. We will continue to protect the institution, protect the independence of the institution. I think that's our duty.

Q:On the legislative agenda of the 17th Congress

SPFMD: We will eagerly await the legislative agenda of the presumptive president Digong Duterte. He has the mandate of the people, we will work with him, but as I said we will await his legislative agenda for the next Congress.

Q: On the leadership of the 17th Congress

SPFMD: I do not want to talk about that at this point. It is premature. Let's first do our duty to proclaim the newly-elected president and vice-president. That's the first order of business, so that we can provide stability and a smooth transition of power into the next administration.

In 1992, I was the Executive Secretary, and my mandate as Executive Secretary of the late President Cory Aquino was to ensure the smooth transition of power between from the Aquino administration into the Ramos administration. You must remember that the 1992 elections was the first after the People Power Revolt, so it was a very delicate process.

We do not see such a difficulty today, due to the fact that we have had a number of elections, but we will still be vigilant in our efforts to make sure that there will be no interruptions in the smooth transition of power to the Duterte administration.

Q:Pagpasok po ng 17th Congress, yung incumbent leaders po ba ng present 16th Congress sila pa rin po ba ang pepwesto or automatic ay palit na?

SPFMD: In the Senate there is continuity, and whoever are the leaders of the 16th Congress will continue to function as such until the elections take place at the opening of Congress. In the House of Representatives, since all their terms have ended on June 30, 2016, then I think the tradition is that the Secretary-General of the House presides over the session.

We have gone through this before. Senator Villar was the Senate President, and he continue to be Senate President until the elections for the new officers of the Senate took place, consistent with the Constitution, and that is at the opening.

Q: What bills will be prioritized for the 17th Congress?

SPFMD: As I said we will await the legislative agenda of the presumptive president Digong Duterte. During the campaign we were not benefited with any indication of what the legislative agenda will be, so we eagerly await, and remember also, the budget of the Duterte administration will be submitted to Congress within 30 days from the convening, so the transition team must be working at this point, so that the budget can be submitted on time.

Certainly the inputs of the incoming administration will be respected and we will expect the budget to contain the policy direction of the administration of Mayor Duterte. We strongly suggest that at this point, a transition team from the Duterte administration will be already formed and start talking to the transition team of the Aquino administration so that there will be a smooth transfer of power in June 30.

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