Press Release
February 26, 2020

ANC Headstart with Karen Davila

Karen Davila: She heads the Senate Committee on Public Services that called for Monday's hearing on issues hounding ABS-CBN, Senator Grace Poe, I want to thank you so much for coming to the show this morning. I just have to say big news today is former Chief Justice Puno's statement that ABS-CBN can't operate beyond May 4 without a franchise stressing a 2003 Supreme Court decision between Associated Communications and Wireless Services versus the NTC. He says this 17 year old decision maintains that the NTC does not have the power to allow a network to operate without a legislative franchise. How does this affect what's been talked about in the Senate hearing and your reaction to that?

Sen. Grace Poe: First of all, with all due respect to former Chief Justice Puno, he is a man of integrity and wisdom. On the other hand, from the time that he was with the Supreme Court until now, a lot of things have changed. And in fact, hundreds of franchises go through both houses of Congress and because of that, the cure of Congress because sometimes they don't have enough time to deliberate on it, is to direct the NTC to grant the provisional license. Now, somehow it also, this act of Congress requesting the NTC to extend the franchise is also by Congressional fiat, it's by authority of Congress that's why the proposal of having either a joint resolution or concurrent resolution could cure it. On the other hand, even without that, even just by precedents of the acts of Congress in recent years should have been enough. It's been granted for PT&T, Globe, Smart, GMA 7, CBCP, Marine Broadcasting, so I was saying, if they don't do this now, in the case of ABS-CBN, it's more of an exception to the rule.

Davila: Okay, now, you have Congressman Del Mar and Sen. Franklin Drilon initiating these resolutions but you have some saying also that ABS-CBN is not still out of the dark in the sense that we have to clarify it still goes up to the President for him to approve it.

Poe: And I think that's the reason also why Sen. Franklin Drilon will file, or I'm not sure if he actually filed it, but today as we resume session, I think that he will file a concurrent resolution which means that we need to get the sense of the Senate and Congress and that alone does not necessarily mean that you don't need the signature of the President although it's not binding like a law.

Davila: Okay, can you clarify that because that might be, you may have a lot of experts debating on that. You don't need the signature of the President yet, even with the concurrent resolution?

Poe: With the concurrent resolution you don't need the signature of the President. It's almost like the sense of both Houses of Congress. With a joint resolution, that's like a regular bill. Now, what is the difference, with a joint resolution that's really a law once it is signed. With the concurrent resolution, that's not recognized, it has really no enforcement power in terms of regular law would. On the other hand, what does the NTC need? It just needs congressional fiat, authority that Congress is saying as of now, the 18th Congress has not ended so we take it at this franchise should be valid until at least the end of the 18th Congress, until we are done deliberating on it. And I think that's fair.

Davila: Okay, Congressman Del Mar was just with Christian Esguerra before this and he did say it had to go still with the President and you are saying no.

Poe: Just that, because he filed a joint resolution. Now, the cure of the Senate is to file a concurrent resolution which doesn't need it. But Karen, let's remember this, law should be flexible enough to meet the demands of a democracy. Laws should not hinder progress that's why even if you have Constitution, this is not written in stone, it has to be amended every now and then. Laws should be amended to be able to address the needs of the times.

Davila: Were you satisfied with how the NTC responded to all your questions, even Sen. Ralph Recto, it seemed that the NTC did not have a clear stand on what to do with ABS-CBN.

Poe: Because as NTC would say is they would need the authority of Congress to tell them.

Davila: Yes or the opinion of the Justice Secretary, he kept telling you.

Poe: Or the opinion of Justice Secretary. On the other hand, the Justice Secretary during our hearing said in the coming days I will issue my opinion on the matter but then that's what I recall Karen, I still have to go through the transcripts again, but after the hearing he said, 'I think a concurrent resolution might be better' and I don't think he is going to issue anymore his decision about this because maybe he would rather Congress actually have the last say on the matter.

Davila: Okay, Senator, critics have said and asked, was it right for you to hold hearings given your business relationship with ABS-CBN and just to be transparent this is what the criticism means: clearly your family receives royalties from the FPJ films that air on ABS-CBN and the fact that the FPJ films, your father's, airs on ABS-CBN merits some kind of business relationship and a contractual relationship. Number two, your mother, esteemed actress Ms. Susan Roces, is a talent.

Poe: Lola Flora.

Davila: Lola Flora also on ABS-CBN, how do you address the perceived bias, why did it had to be Sen. Grace Poe to initiate this when she clearly has a conflict of interest with ABS-CBN.

Poe: No, first of all, I did not, I really decided not to inhibit myself to make a stand on the matter. Number one, I am the chairman of the Committee on Public Services. Number two, it's no secret the relationship of my family with ABS-CBN, the business relationship. Number three, I am only one of 24 senators, whatever I say, even if I am for it or against it, if the majority will not side with my opinion, it will not prevail and then, you know, how do you determine if there is fairness in a proceeding, particularly with the chairman, the Chairman of the hearing will allow everyone to speak. We were the ones, I in particular, made sure that the FICTAP, the ones that are against the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise was invited.

Davila: The cables group.

Poe: Yes, the cable group led by Neng Tamano and I allowed them to speak and everyone else. In fact, members of the labor group of ABS-CBN, I didn't call them; Senator Angara, I think, asked�You can say what you want to say, so how is the chairman perceived as conducting the hearing; did I allow everyone to speak? I allowed Senator Bato to speak as long as he wanted and I knew from the start that he was tentative about it, he was apprehensive about giving ABS-CBN it's franchise. Sen. Bong Go you'd never know but if you ask all of my colleagues, I kept repeating, 'I'm going to have our hearing this time, I hope you can attend.' So where's the bias there?

Davila: Were you surprised that the likes of Senate President Tito Sotto or even Sen. Bong Revilla, they didn't attend. It was surprising, you did have Sen. Lito Lapid suddenly attend and speak but the other colleagues that didn't attend.

Poe: No, because there are times when the Senate President won't attend a particular hearing, maybe because the Senate President works for GMA, he is a talent of GMA, maybe. I really don't know why he wasn't there...

Davila: Senator Bong Revilla?

Poe: He is also a talent of GMA 7, so maybe that is the reason.

Davila: So you believe those are the reasons?

Poe: I don't really know why they, I haven't, from the time, we haven't meet at the Senate, and I know that it was a holiday Tuesday and really there was no session on Monday so it was not a regular session day. It was just for the hearing, so maybe that's also one of the reasons.

Davila: A Manila Times oracle asked is mass media now under the turf of public services, they claimed that the Senate never conducted public inquiries for franchise renewals in this manner, is this preferential treatment to ABS-CBN?

Poe: No, the media is just more interested in this hearing. We've conducted hearings on networks, GMA 7 we've had a hearing on GMA 7 for the franchise renewal. This was I believe in 2017, not only the franchise renewal, just recently, and you don't even remember, we conducted a hearing on the issue of Eddie Garcia. The law...

Davila: Yes, the safety of the artist.

Poe: Yes, the labor standards that are practiced in the networks. So, interesado lang kasi ang mga tao ngayon, mas interesado kasi malaki talaga ang nakasalalay dito. The franchise of ABS-CBN and other media companies, is imbued with public interest. Okay, they say, they question, 'di naman talaga 11,000 ang empleyado ng ABS-CBN, it doesn't matter, 6,000, 5,000, 11,000, all the employees are important. But not only that, information is important. And we depend on the news, we depend on entertainment. People will just wonder one day, may nagsabi, i don't know which senator, I think Senator Angara, bukas kung wala na tayong, kunwari wala na tayong service sa telepono natin kasi hindi na-renew ang prangkisa ng isang network, magtataka rin tayo, so we have the right to know. Kung wala na tayong, kung hindi na tayo pwedeng uminom ng coke o kaya San Miguel Beer. 'Yan ang mga bagay na hindi naman pwedeng basta alisin ng gobyerno. Kailangan naman may eksplanasyon.

Davila: Okay, what did the Senate hearing achieved? Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, he had a press conference and he said first, what is the purpose of that hearing? What can that hearing achieve?

Poe: You know, Speaker Cayetano is very intelligent politician and he has been a lawmaker for many years. He should know that it's in the Constitution that grants both Houses of Congress the right for oversight. Section 6, Article 21 allows us to conduct hearings in aid of legislations and to find out if, do you know the franchise holders are compliant with the agreements that they have with the government. That's number one and number 2, I don't know why they will take this as something out of the ordinary, we've conducted hearings with the budget, as well as with taxes, either simultaneously or ahead of the house.

Davila: If it is in aid of legislation, which is always is, what would you legislate that would help make the franchise law much clearer that it is today. What would you add?

Poe: You know, Secretary Guevarra had a very important point that he made. He said that there is a gap in the law when it comes with franchises, when a franchise expires in the middle of Congress, like the 18th Congress. What do you do when it expires right smack in the middle of a particular Congress. Maybe there should be an amendment that says that if it ends right before Congress adjourns, that the NTC is authorize to give a provisional permit to operate.

Davila: Okay, that's one. And also the interpretation of commercial purposes because the pay-per-view, the KBO, is one of the elements in the quo warranto petition but was also extensively discussed in the hearing, the interpretation of the essentially the cable group and also the Justice Secretary and the NTC with the pay-per-view was also not in unison. The Secretary said I interpreted it as commercial purposes so that includes pay-per-view.

Poe: Because the law is always playing catch up to technology. This is a new technology, the digital technology wherein one spectrum or one frequency can have many channels, right. Now, for commercial purposes that can be interpreted perhaps as a commercial part of the agreement of ABS-CBN to be able to conduct business for commercial purposes.

Davila: Okay, these are parts that you want to legislate or in effect, amend?

Poe: You know what? It's hard to be very specific in the wordings of the law sometimes, because it makes it not flexible enough. I think it's sufficient to say that to allow them for commercial purposes and then the NTC should come up with an implementing rules and regulations as quickly as possible.

Davila: Because they have not.

Poe: They have not. And this has been rolled out since 2016, I know that as early as the time I was in the MTRCB that is in 2010, ABS-CBN has been slowly trying to test the market, in small pocket areas, until now there is no guidelines from the NTC that's why we are in limbo. And since it's the NTC trying to catch up, again, flexibility is key.

Davila: Okay, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, also criticized Senators as sipsip sa ABS-CBN for the next elections, gustong umepal.

Poe: You know, when I deal with counterparts from the House, at least me personally and I think many of my colleagues, we try to maintain a level of respect and decorum, because name calling cheapens the debate and when you start name calling. kung gumagamit ka ng mga salitang ganun, ibig sabihin nawawalan ka ng basehan para sa tamang argumento.

Davila: Okay, so that is your response to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, but he also did say that the House doesn't see the ABS-CBN franchise renewal as urgent. In fact, he did go to the Kobe Bryant opening that very day that you were hearing this in the Senate and that he said the Senate set aside CITIRA which is a corporate income tax bill.

Poe: For the hearing, that's not true.

Davila: Okay, let's discuss that.

Poe: Because Senator Pia Cayetano already sponsored that measure on the floor and interpellations have began. I mean, that time that I had my hearing, if they really want to nitpick that was a day that we really didn't have session and that was the ruling of the majority leader, the Committee on Rules, not considering the ABS-CBN franchise because even if we had session that day, it won't start until 3 pm. So the morning was really free, what they are talking about? They could have, if they needed more time for CITIRA, they could have it simultaneously. So you know I really don't know where this is coming from. But I don't question that Congress is busy, we are busy too, but it's really time management, number one; and number two, ito nga ang sinasabi, 'Ma'am paano na 'yan kung mag-lapse ang prangkisa ng ABS-CBN at wala na kaming, hindi kami sigurado sa trabaho naming.' Kasi sabi naman sa House, sa May didinigin o August, mag-eenroll na ang mga anak ko, May pa ba? Baka mamaya dahil nagpipigil na ang network na maglabas ng mga bagong proyekto dahil nakabinbin ang kanilang ano, ma-eenroll ko ba ang anak ko ng May o hintayin muna natin ang Kongreso kasi hindi pa ready. So at least, kami sa Senado, walangg makakapagsabi na hindi namin ginawa ang nararapat para naman mabigyan ng tamang pagkakataon ang lahat na mag-esplika tungkol sa prangkisa. 'Yung pinakasimpleng bagay nga pinagdedebatehan natin. Ito pa kaya na makakaapekto hindi lamang sa mga empleyado ng ABS-CBN kundi sa buong bayan na umaasa sa news at sa umaasa sa entertainment. Alam ko merong GMA at magaling ang GMA 7, magaling din ang TV 5 sa news, pero hindi ba mas maganda na may pagpipilian tayo at mapagbabalanse kung anuman ang mga naririnig natin.

Davila: Okay, Malacañang has repeatedly said that this is not a freedom of the press issue. Senators clearly feel otherwise, but do you believe it's the freedom of the press issue?

Poe: It could have consequences to the freedom of the press issue. I mean, technically it does not ban the freedom of speech technically, but if you were an owner of a network or you are an employee of a network, 'Tingnan mo ang nangyari sa ABS-CBN, 'wag nating gawin 'yan kasi baka mamaya tayo rin ang masisante.' Sabihin mo hindi totoo 'yan. 'Yun nga sa ibang network nga lang.

Davila: So there's a chilling effect?

Poe: Merong chilling effect na ang nangyayari ganito, 'parang 'wag na tayong magsalita, nakakatakot.' 'Yan ang talagang unang I guess that would be the start of chipping away at our democracy.

Davila: Malacañang has repeatedly said that the President is not involved, he has no say and our Lower House will conduct its hearing, and yet no less than Senator Bong Go addressed the elephant in the room which was the personal grievance of the President is a factor in all these. At the end of the hearing he was ambushed by reporters and said 'kakausapin ko ang Pangulo' to renew the franchise for the 11,000 workers. Do you believe Sen. Grace Poe, usually franchise renewals take an hour, some say maximum a day, it's meant to be perfunctory, there's standard operating procedure. Do you think this is about the President's feelings?

Poe: I think some lawmakers are always weighing what the President, what the President's inclination is. I don't, I can't say because I have not heard it myself if the President has ordered anything, I doubt it. But maybe, you know, just how he would react to certain things. Now, I'm quite thankful that Sen. Bong Go attended and addressed the issue and said it, nagpakatotoo. Sinabi ito ang dahilan kung bakit may pag-aalinlangan ang Pangulo dito, maging fair kayo. And then, what's even better is that towards the end he said the President is doing this, if ever, not for ABS...but for the employees. And I think that's also very important. And we're also doing this not for anybody's interest except the public. Okay, ABS-CBN negosyo 'yan eh siyempre kikita 'yan, pero ano ba ang nagiging benepisyo ng negosyo na 'to. Does it far outweigh the violations that it already incurred in the past? Of course it's not tit-for-tat but my point is others have also violated their franchises and yet they were slapped with penalties. As Senator Ralph said, and I reiterate this also many times, we should not give them capital punishment. Huwag naman bitay agad kung may pagkakamali.

Davila: Another issue that was discussed, which is the heart of these all is really the negative advertisement that ABS-CBN aired against the President. Our President, Carlo Katigbak, said under the Fair Election Act, we're mandated to air negative ads. So, first I want to ask you, should that be changed? Is the Philippines frankly ready for negative ads, in the United States, this would not be an issue. But you once ran for president, Sen. Migs Zubiri said 'Let's face it, masakit din 'yun pag napanood mo, you need a chance to reply.' But at the end of the day, Senator Poe, should we allow negative ads frankly in the Philippines?

Poe: Personally as a candidate, I don't want it. Will it benefit the voter, if that would be the issue, if it's truthful and it would add the proper information to the voters, I don't know what the debate will be. But I don't think our country is ready for it. Personally, because if you allow it with candidates you allow that in products as well. And you know even products, they are being very careful. In the US and other countries, let's say, they mention the name, here it's like brand X. So I think culturally, there are few things that are nice in our culture and I think being, you know, respectful and kind to each other should be preserved. But when you think about the actual debate in a campaign, will it help viewers, if it's a truthful ad, it will be up to them to judge, but I would rather have not.

Davila: So that's the consideration, you feel that under the Fair Election Act...

 Poe: We should have a discussion on that, will it be beneficial or not, because the other recourse is that if you feel that it has malicious intent, meaning to destroy the reputation, you can file libel.

Davila: But all negative ads are that way of course.

Poe: So it could be under the libelous act, it could be a libelous act when there is a malicious intent to disrespect or to dishonor a person.

Davila: You mean to say it's worth discussing?

Poe: It is.

Davila: So, did GMA 7 aired the negative ad? So now to clarify because clearly this was under oath, the Vice-President for Legal Affairs of GMA 7, you asked her 'Did you air the negative ad' she said yes. And then GMA 7 issued a statement saying 'No, we did not air the ad.' What is the truth?

Poe: Okay. You know when you're chairing a committee, or even when you are attending a committee, several people would field questions and I'd ask. Apparently there are few witnesses during the election that actually saw an ad air in this network, I mean GMA 7. So, I mean I'm not sure because I, myself am a candidate, I was going around. I never chanced upon it. Hindi ko nakita sa GMA7 'yung ad na 'yon kaya tinanong ko. You have to verify. Now she's VP of Legal Affairs she might not really be aware of everything but she answered, she said yes. Sabi ko 'di ba nag-air din kayo ng ganoon. And she said yes and in fact I went further and said, from what I recall, I said although I didn't see the ad apparently there was also an issue of a TRO being filed and GMA 7 did not wait for the decision of the court. When they knew that the TRO was filed they pulled out the negative ad. Is it the exact negative ad, I'm not sure. But ABS-CBN chose to let the process take its course and see what the court will rule, because as you know, in the Fair Election Act, there's really no such regulation against negative campaigning, so they didn't take it out right away, 'yun ang pagkakamali siguro, politically ha ng ABS-CBN. Kasi they decided to stick by the rules. Whereas GMA 7 made a judgment call if GMA 7, indeed, did that. Pero Karen, because of what the ABS-CBN is going through I don't want any more to delve into, nag-air ba ang GMA 7 o hindi, it's counterproductive at this point. We just know that there were no laws violated.

Davila: Okay, now, before we go to a quick break, just to close the issue on ABS-CBN, two quick questions journalists have said, this should not be used, franchise renewals should not be used to settle scores and the bigger issue is editorial coverage whether one likes it or not is never a factor in renewing the franchise of a network, and yet clearly, it is a factor with ABS-CBN. What are the factors frankly for a franchise to be revoked? And is editorial coverage frankly speaking, should it be considered in the renewal of any network, any radio station?

Poe: Not at all. You know the reason why it is so, it is a very subjective authority by Congress, because the guiding principle is that a franchise is a privilege, given to you. In fact, in other countries. If you have a frequency to allocate, you have to pay for that franchise, here we just give it, because there are other costs. My point is editorializing things, that would be part of curtailing freedom of expression, if you say. If you only say, what if one day, the sentiment in Congress and in the Senate would be from now on we will only renew franchises of networks that would air the good news of government. What will happen, to what extent will we go through this criteria. So, what I believe is that we are representatives of the people, and that the most important part is public interest. It's imbibed with public interest and not personal interest. So, I don't think Congress should really use the franchise renewal as a weapon to get what they want.

Davila: Okay, last question is, has there ever been an instance where a concurrent resolution, which you said gets essentially how both Houses feel about an issue, has it ever been successful, to the point that it has not been questioned in the Supreme Court?

Poe: Yes, there are several but I think nothing as controversial as this. At the top of my head, that's also what I would like to discuss with Senator Drilon to cite precedents of concurrent resolutions, but usually it's to honor, you know, certain individual.

Davila: It's never been done.

Poe: No, it's been done.

Davila: But not in this case.

Poe: But not in the level of a franchise, no, it's not been done. But Karen, you know, I don't know why all of a sudden they're trying to be so rigid about it. Sinabi ko na nga binigay sa GMA 7, sa Globe, sa Smart, sa CBCP at marami pang iba. So, kung hindi ibibigay sa ABS-CBN, bakit. But you know what, I take it Speaker Cayetano said, 'Hindi, mawawala ang prangkisa ng ABS-CBN sa end of March or kung May 4 man lang. Hindi yan matatapos agad, hindi 'yan matatanggal.' So I hope that will be translated to NTC, you know that Congress will tell NTC, we need to deliberate on this so grant them the provisional permit, and a concurrent resolution we'll put it in writing.

Davila: What is the effect Sen. Grace Poe that ABS-CBN seems to be kept on a short leash. At this point, frankly speaking, the presidential elections coming up in May, in 2022, what's the effect to press freedom, editorial judgment and independence?

Poe: Karen I don't have to spell it out. If you need something, you owe someone, or you're trying to win a project, you move heaven and earth to get that, because a lot rides in that, in what you do. So you tethered now on that balance. Will it be granted or not and, frankly, you know I have the highest respect for the CEO of ABS-CBN, and how he conducted himself during the hearing. He admitted their mistakes that you have mistakes, he's very respectful. But it's almost like having a gun to your heads until, you'll never know it, again we're going back to what are the criteria to grant a franchise. If it's hinged on emotions, and also on personal agendas, it will be very difficult to navigate objectively for the network to be able to win the franchise again. So I just hope that as Sen. Bong Go said, 'Be fair in your reporting, ilabas ang mali. Kung may mali, ilabas, huwag matakot at kung may tama huwag rin namang tipirin ang pagbibigay-pugay, so balansehin,' 'yan ang dasal ko na habang nagkakaroon ng, walang kasiguruhan ang franchise ng ABS-CBN, manatiling patas at huwag matakot.

Davila: Alright on that note, hold that, we will be having a quick break, Hot Copy will be right back. When we return, we will be talking about another issue under the committee of Senator Grace Poe, the motorcycle for hire act.

Davila: Still with us on Hot Copy, we have Sen. Grace Poe. Another issue that's been controversial in the last few months actually, the Motorcycle for Hire Act. First, the pilot study is now proceeding. This is a pilot study with Angkas, JoyRide and Move it. I think it's still six months at this point. Is it still six months?

Poe: You know what, I have to verify because they stopped it and then they extended it. So the actual date, I would have to check because they have their own Technical Working Group. Davila: I want to ask you already now, do you agree this was Angkas' petition I think with the Court, they said it is not right to put a cap on riders per platform. Should there be a cap per rider or cap per platform? Like a certain number 15,000 for Angkas, 15,000 for JoyRide, do you believe in a cap?

Poe: You know what, we can't really make a particular regulation without the proper study. First of all, when they equally divided the caps, that created a controversy because clearly Angkas is already a pioneer in the market. And then you have JoyRide and Move It. In fact, JoyRide and Move It couldn't even fill their quota. So I think it has to be, if ever LTFRB comes up with a number generally for all and then it is up to them to apply.

Davila: Where?

Poe: Pabilisan na lang sila, di'ba? Pabilisan sila, pagalingan. Because remember, these drivers are self-employed, almost. They're under Angkas, JoyRide or Move It but it's their own time, their decision, it;s app based. They can choose which company to join. Which one will provide a better benefit for them. So if they feel JoyRide is better or Angkas or Move It, they can go there and then it's up to Joy Ride and other companies to apply with LTFRB because the problem is, they give a cap to Angkas, but JoyRide and Move It couldn't even fill their quota.

Davila: Okay so that's your stand. Another thing is what kind of regulation would you want. You do have 16 senators, 16 of your colleagues, already agreed to Motorcycle Taxi Regulation. What regulations would you want?

Poe: Okay, first of all, we have to amend a 64-year old law because in that particular law, motorcycles are not allowed to transport as a public utility to transport goods or people. So we have to clearly amend that, because right now, they are going against the law. That's why it's a trial. So number two, what do we want, we have to be able to put what the specs would be. Because right now, the minimum but we have to put something like based on advancement of technology can change that should be an engine displacement of 125 cc not more than 1,000 kilograms, should be able to travel 50 kph. These are the standards that we put para hindi naman pipitsugin ang mga ito na delikado. Now, we are not going to put in the law exactly which roads they can travel because that could change. That could be, there are proposals that in the IRR, the implementing rules, the LTFRB, the DOTr should determine if they will be allowed in EDSA or national roads. So these are things that we need to consider but Karen, there's something interesting, there was a quote, to paraphrase it, something like this 'Motorcycles in itself, is not inherently dangerous, but it is definitely unforgiving for stupidity, ignorance and inattention' because isang bangga mo lang patay ka na, madalas.

Davila: As per the MMDA before, they've given them the middle lane. It is more or less what you have consider the middle lane in EDSA to motorcycles and it affects traffic, that's one even if they claim, I mean the MMDA is saying maliit lang 'yan. But the point is EDSA is as small as it is, is also dangerous, too, you might hit them. So I'm happy that it is included, are you open then that motorcycle taxi hailing, those under the app would not be allowed to fly in EDSA?

Poe: Hard to say because I need to see the study. The important thing is this, maybe they can have certain hours, because I am also thinking of the safety. I want to be able to hear what the result is of the Technical Working Group of the LTFRB and DOTr, remember, Karen, if we have 18 million vehicles in this country, I think 80% of that are motorcycle.

Davila: Motorcycles?

Poe: Yes.

Davila: Because in EDSA mostly are private.

Poe: Mostly are private but 71 percent of the 18 million are motorcycles and then one in three households have a motorcycle. 51 percent of them use it for livelihood. So, if you don't legalize them, safety standards can be compromised even further because in Metro Manila alone, apparently, there are 134 habal-habal terminals, na illegal, 6,000 minimum illegal motorcycle drivers kaya nga 'yung mga kinukuha lang sa Facebook, hindi regulated 'yan, walang insurance di'ba, so you might as well give them an avenue to legalize themselves so we can have a minimum standard. Now, allowing them in EDSA, that can be higly debatable because before we say bawal sa EDSA, let's come up first with secondary roads that's fast enough and that's actually realistic.

Davila: Another issue now is the Visiting Forces Agreement, Sen. Franklin Drilon was here and he is filing a petition with the Supreme Court questioning the unilateral abrogation of the VFA but I know so far, Senate President Tito Sotto, Senator Lacson, Senator Gordon who are joining this petition, are you joining this petition?

Poe: I signed the petition in the sense of the Senate expressing that we really need concurrence of the Senate to be able to, in order to get out also of a treaty, because you need the concurrence of the Senate, the approval of the Senate, to accept a treaty, to join a treaty, parang it's so illogical naman, in abrogating a treaty, you don't need the Senate, as well. So I will join that if there will be a petition and in fact even Malacañang said that they would like to hear what the Supreme Court would have to say about, the final arbiter, Karen because what is confusing to me, when we had that VFA briefing, hearing, in fact, all of the advisers of the President, in maybe, 80% of their statements about the VFA is more of in favor of reviewing it and not revoking it so it seems like if that were taken into consideration then the Palace will be leaning towards reviewing because there's certain provisions that I feel also could be improved. How we were treated for example a crime was committed here, why would that be in their custody and not ours. You know, things like that but even Sec. Locsin is in favor, Sec. Lorenzana admitted that the support that we get from them in times of natural calamities and disasters so it is quite scary. This is one thing that we should consider. We are trying to modernize our military, we shouldn't be dependent on other countries, but we will be spending billions of pesos, hundreds of billions out of our pocket without the support or grants from our friendly nations.

Davila: Okay, we don't have enough time. We would have another discussion at length when it comes to Visiting Forces Agreement, but before we close is there anything you would like Senator clearly it’s still be ABS-CBN renewal that’s a big issue right now. There's a lot of thoughts on it on where this can go, is there anything you want to close with?

Poe: Well Karen, patungkol sa ABS-CBN issue, ginawa naming ito dahil ‘yun ang tamang dapat gawin. It’s the right thing to do, to hear it dahil marami ang apektado dito sa isyu na ito at para sa akin, ang mensahe ko na lang, sa ABS-CBN huwag kayong matakot. Sinabi na mismo ng Presidente, ‘You report what you need to report’ and my colleagues said, ‘Be fair in the news,’so ibig sabihin ng pagiging fair ay sabihin ninyo kung ano ang mali, huwag kayong matakot ang sabihin ang mali, at huwag rin naman kayo magtipid ng papuri kung may tamang ginawa. Davila: Do you have message to the House? Poe: Mahirap nang magbigay ng mensahe sa House, may sarili silang pananaw at para sa akin lamang, ang masasabi ko pasintabi na lang, hindi pagbabastos sa inyo kundi ginagawa lang namin ang aming trabaho na alam namin marami rin sa inyo ang gustong gawin ‘yan.

Davila: On that note, Sen. Grace Poe, thank you so much for the day.

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