Press Release
January 14, 2019

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III

On the abolition of the Road Board

SP Sotto: Generally, the sentiment was there is no need for a bicam because we have adopted the House version. We tasked Senator Zubiri, the Majority Leader, to talk to the Majority Leader of the House, Congressman Andaya, to find out their reasons why there is a possibility that we can go into a bicam pero nothing official, yun ang agreement namin ni Minority Leader Frank Drilon. Nothing official, talk lang. Ano ba yun? Ano ba ang pwedeng ano pa dito? Is there an issue on how to (unclear) the budget, on what we should do with the budget, kung public works, kung whatever, (unclear) mga suggestions ni Presidente, remember, gamitin daw sa Manila Bay clean-up. Yun lang, talks lang yun.

At the moment we still stand on the issue na it has been adopted, so whatever the outcome of the talks between the two majority leaders, we will take it up again and most probably that will have to be tomorrow because by Wednesday we will be terminating the period of interpellations, and by Monday, the 21st, period of amendments dapat tapos na, kaya Thursday to Sunday pwedeng finishing touches yung mga submissions ng amendments or it could even be earlier like Wednesday. On Monday we approve on second and third reading then the following day they go into bicam.

Kaya ko sinasabi yun, yung possibility doon sa funds ng Road Board ay mailagay doon sa amendments ng Department of Public Works budget, kaya ko nabanggit yung collection nun. So, parehong sinasabi ni Senator Drilon at ni Senator Zubiri, parehong tama yun. It's just a matter of how to look at it. Nothing is final. Yes, pulsing.

Q: So kung ayaw ng House, kung they will maintain that you need to have a bicam?

SP Sotto: I doubt it because sabi nila agree na sila sa sinabi ni Presidente na abolish yung Road Board, so we will maintain that the House version will be adopted. Perhaps, an amendment to the DPWH budget would be able to solve that later on.

Q: Kung considered as abolished na yun, ano pa ang hinihintay?

SP Sotto: Yung enrolled copy will have to be sent to the President for signature.

Q: When are you going to submit it?

SP Sotto: Tingnan muna natin kung ano ang mangyayari sa usapan, just due respect to the House.

Q: There is no way that you are giving in to a bicam?

SP Sotto: Oo. Kung saka-sakali lang ay baka paper bicam kasi ang ayaw natin ay mapunta yan into a full-blown bicam, baka ma-(unclear) yan hanggang June, hanggang adjournment sine die yan, hindi ko (unclear).

Q: Saan papasok yung amendment on how to use the Road Board, sa budget deliberation?

SP Sotto: Pwede. Depende nga sa usapan nila bukas. After their meeting tomorrow, tomorrow afternoon, we have until Wednesday for the period of amendments, maraming pwedeng mangyari pa.

Q: You will agree to go into a paper bicam?

SP Sotto: Depende pa rin yun sa usapan nila bukas, kung ano ang mapagkasunduan. Ang sinasabi ko is worse-case scenario. It's a one-page bill, so depende.

Q: Baka yung amendment (unclear) paper bicam?

SP Sotto: Enrolled copy dapat.

Q: By tomorrow maaaring clear na?

SP Sotto: Oo. By tomorrow we'll clear it up. On mediating between the Catholic church and the President.

SP Sotto: Marami na kasi sa mga kababayan natin ang uncomfortable with the situation. May nababato at bumabato pagbalik, ang Palasyo at members of the Catholic church, the leadership of the Catholic church, specially the Bishops and the priests, so might as well try to find a dialogue. Subukan ko lang, wala namang mawawala. Wala pa kaming maliwanag na usapan pero I am trying to get in touch with the leadership of the CBCP and find out more about their perspective and then at the first chance that I get to talk to the President, we'll try to mediate if it's possible at all. If not, at least we tried.

Q: Do you find it damaging already?

SP Sotto: As I said, I'd rather not use the word damaging, I used the word uncomfortable. Many of our countrymen are uncomfortable already of the situation, so might as well.

Q: And you are doing this because many are asking you to do so?

SP Sotto: Hindi naman. Aside from my own initiative, there were some ideas to that effect. Baka maresolve kung maupuan yan.

Q: Will you ask the President to somehow pause for a little...?

SP Sotto: I don't think I can say anything at the moment.

Q: (Unclear)

SP Sotto: Hindi pa.

Q: When are you going to have a dialogue with him?

SP Sotto: As soon as I can. Within this week siguro, baka naman may chance kami mag-usap, especially after the decision on the Road Board, I will have to report it to the President.

Q: How about with the Catholic church?

SP Sotto: Nag-send na ako ng feelers to mutual friends.

On the NPC.

Q: (Unclear)

SP Sotto: Ambassador Danding is still abroad, he is coming back I think this week so as soon as he is back, we will report to him the feedback that we got from the members, nationwide, of NPC and then we will finalize from there.

Q: More than twelve pa rin ang nasa slate ninyo ngayon?

SP Sotto: Nasa mga twelve pero merong feedback on two or three names so we will bring it up to the leadership muna.

Q: Negative feedback?

SP Sotto: Merong negative feedback. Pakinggan natin, tingnan natin kung ano ang magiging decision ng partido.

Q: Yung announcement will happen before February 13 before the campaign starts?

SP Sotto: Hopefully.

Q: What happened to your initial plan of staging a uniform campaign for reelectionists?

SP Sotto: Sa akin naman yun, on a personal level, tuloy yun.

Q: May sariling sorties ang NPC?


Sotto: Hindi sorties kundi meron talagang mga campaign sorties ang mga NPC members sa kani-kanilang mga localities. Iyon, pwedeng gamitin yun ng mga reelectionist senators, and those that we will be supporting will be invited to these sorties, especially the big sorties. It will not be confined to corridor A, which is L-L, Lingayen to Lucena, it will also include Visayas and Mindanao sorties ng NPC.

Q: Pag big time yung sortie, doon makikita yung lahat ng reelectionist? SP Sotto: Iimbitahin sila.

Q: They will be required to attend?

SP Sotto: Hindi naman. Basta they will be invited, if they want to go, they will be endorsed by the NPC leadership in that area, they can go.

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