Press Release
February 26, 2020

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leadr Franklin Drilon

SFMD: I regret the statement of Senator Bong Go. Being a neophyte senator, he may not be aware of our tradition and our rules. Precisely, a concurrent resolution does not go through the President because it has no force and effect of a law. It is just a sense of the Senate. There is no politics here. We are not depriving the President of the right to veto or approve. The right to veto or approve is in the joint resolution (SJR 11) that I filed, which has the force and effect of a law and which is also filed in the House of Representatives.

A concurrent resolution simply expresses the sense of the Senate, and therefore, it does not really need the approval of the President. It is the joint resolution that needs the approval of the President. We regret that statement, maybe because he is not aware of the tradition and the rules in the Senate.

Q: Even SP Sotto is saying that you still need to discuss the resolution given the statement made by former CJ Puno?

SFMD: We respect the position of former CJ Puno. But, the Senate, and the Congress, would also have the right to interpret the Constitution. The interpretation of the Constitution is not an exclusive monopoly of the Supreme Court. A long list of jurisprudence recognized the authority of the implementing agencies - the executive department and the Congress - to express opinions on any issue. The matter of automatic extension of the franchise, while the matter is pending debate, is an opinion expressed on the floor by the Senate and the HoR. This is an interpretation of the powers of Congress insofar as this is concerned. I, myself, have entertained serious doubts whether or not this is sufficient and that is why I filed the joint resolution, because it has the force and effect of a law. Having said that, certainly, it is the prerogative of Congress to make its own interpretation of its own power to issue franchise. Remember that this is a power of Congress and certainly, the Congress has the power to make an interpretation and until that is set aside by the Supreme Court, that stands.

Q: Doesn't the SC ruling take precedence?

SFMD: We should not be frozen into inaction by the decision of the Supreme Court. Remember we are a co-equal branch and until there is a controversy, we can interpret our powers. If there is a dispute, then the matter is brought to the Supreme Court for adjudication. Until that time, there is nothing to prevent us from interpreting our own plenary power. There is nothing wrong with that. Yes, the former chief justice has expressed an opinion and that is his opinion and he cited a SC decision. But, the history of cases would show that the SC can change its mind. I don't think there is anything wrong us taking a different position.

Sec. Guevarra said that on grounds of equity, the ABS-CBN can continue. Again, this is an opinion expressed by no less than the secretary of justice, whose opinion is binding on the entire executive branch, so this must be extended due respect

Q: Do you think you will have the support of the lower house?

SFMD: I would like to think that it should have the support, because this is an opinion expressed by no less than the Speaker of the House that the effectivity of the franchise continues while the matter is pending in Congress.

Q: SP Sotto is asking if there is a need for a concurrent resolution?

SFMD: That is up to the Senate. Yes, that is a valid question. But, my answer is: nothing wrong with it, because it is just expressing the sense of the Senate.

Q: Sen. Revilla filed a bill extending the franchise of ABS-CBN up to December this year. Are you amenable?

SFMD: Whatever is necessary in order to allow an objective debate on the renewal of the franchise, without the threat of ABS-CBN being closed.

Q: Even without the concurrent resolution, the provisional authority would still be valid?

SFMD: That is the view of Sec. Guevarra; that is the view of Speaker Cayetano; and that is the view of Senator Poe as chairman of the committee on public services.

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