Press Release
November 16, 2021

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on ANC's Headstart with Karen Davila

Q: Senator Sotto, good morning to you.

SP Sotto: Good morning, Karen. Good morning to one and all. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be a guest again in your program.

Q: all, I want to thank you for being on the show. In case the Internet fluctuates, I have to let the public know you're in the hospital right now. Nothing serious but for a family member, so in case something happens, that's where you are. Now, you are leading at the vice presidential race, but this is not the first, the first was the Pulse Asia survey, where you were 11 points ahead of President Duterte. In the SWS survey you are once again more than 10 points ahead of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. To what do you attribute this to?

SP Sotto: Well, we could probably say being Senate President achievements of the Senate itself, been the show being how independent we are. We are not anti-administration, but we are not pro-opposition. So perhaps the approval rating and the trust rating that the Senate is enjoying contributes to that. I am sure the Records of the Senate and the records of yours truly, reached the people, perhaps. But then again, let me concur with what Professor Dindo Manhit said: a survey at this point, at that particular point, is merely a snapshot of what is in the minds of the people on that day. On that week, perhaps or, is that week or two? So, it does not necessarily mean that you should sit on your laurels and anything like that. I have been subscribing to surveys only because we want to use it as a guide. We used it in the Senate, I used it in the Dangerous Drugs Board, but just for the record, from 2004, no, from 2007 that, I did not actually believe in surveys became the Dangerous Drugs Board chair and we conducted a household survey for, the DILG, a household survey for how many drug dependents we have in the country during that time, 2008. After I was briefed that was then I realized that the service could be used really as a very good guide. It will give you a sense of what people think, what people say at that very moment or for any particular issue. And not just people, it's very elaborate on demographics, gender, religion, age and college graduates or high school or unemployed or employed. It will give you a very good vision or perspective of what the people and how the country is thinking. Or what the people are saying. So, from that time on, I started subscribing every now and then just to get the pulse and see how people are thinking and saying.

Q: surprised that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte run for vice president?

SP Sotto: Yes. We always thought that she would be running for the presidency and also on the other hand, she had always been saying that she was not interested and was not going to run but file for mayor. But nevertheless, I hope you don't mind, I just answered that particular question, but Senator Lacson and I have already entered into a pact saying that we will not talk about other candidates who are vying for the same positions that we are. We would rather concentrate on what we stand for, our programs and platforms and what we offer the people, and not really discuss about the other candidates.

Q: I understand that, but there was a period in time where many thought that the Dutertes were invincible and yet in two surveys you have clearly shown that they are not. So, it's quite surprising to many your lead is not by 2% or 3%. We are talking about a 10 to 11, even 12% lead I think on this latest one, even bigger. So, when I ask you what you attribute this to, now that she has declared, how will this change your strategy or, will it?

SP Sotto: No, we will still go on with what we are doing. It is very difficult to describe in English, but in Tagalog what our group is doing is naglalatag kami. We have three major political parties in our group, and we are consolidating our forces. Naglalatag kami nationwide nung aming mga organizations. We have the Reporma Party, the chairman of which is Senator Lacson, and the president is Speaker Bebot Alvarez. And then we have the National Unity Party, the chairman is Secretary Ronnie Puno, and the president is Congressman Barzaga. And then we have the Nationalist People's Coalition of which I am chairman of. And again also we are consolidating the forces of NPC. It is difficult to easily consolidate now be cause of the pandemic, we just can't call for a national meeting. It has to be pockets of meetings and then virtual kung minsan yung iba but we are forming an alliance for clean and honest elections, but also a campaign for our candidates nationwide. Yun yung sinasabi nga namin na nakalatag. Kung baga sa ano eh, carpet bombing of these political parties nationwide. That could also be a reason for the surveys. Sapagkat NPC alone if you will recall is always the second largest political party in the country since 1992. It has never been the biggest, but it has never lost candidates to other parties. Right now, we have 1800 incumbent officials. There are thousands that are not incumbent, but the incumbent officials, Congress pa lang, we have 54 congressmen, we have 8 governors, we have hundreds of mayors and vice-mayors, and councilors, and board members so, you can imagine the strength of the political party we have. But then also the National Unity Party is really something else, it is huge. And then the Reporma, if you try to get the sense of the provinces lately, Visayas, Mindanao, even up to Luzon but Visayas and Mindanao, it is very strong. You would remember the 2019 elections in Mindanao and Visayas, the groups that were headed by Speaker Bebot Alvarez won most of the seats. So, I can attribute that also as part of the surveys. But then again, we are still in the stage of trying to form an official alliance between the three of us. As of now, it is an informal alliance that we have, but we have the same candidates that we are supporting.

Q: Yesterday I interviewed Senator Ping Lacson and he says it shows that the administration is not as solid as people think. You agree with that?

SP Sotto: Yes. Of course, the administration will always be a formidable competition.

Q: But they are not as solid as people think.

SP Sotto: Well, before perhaps, but because of the digression of the members of the political party, the party in power, which is the PDP Laban, perhaps yun ang isang nakakabawas because fragmented at this point. I understand there were two wings, But now baka tatlo pa.

Q: Given of course, that the surveys put you at #1 but we have Sarah Duterte at far number 2, consider her your most formidable opponent at this point or do you believe there might be a surprise later on?

SP Sotto: Well yes and of course you have to give it to the other candidates, they will all be campaigning. So, everyone is over the candidate. I think all of those who have filed certificates of candidacy are worthy candidates.

Q: I want to ask you about Senator Kiko Pangilinan. He said in an interview that he prays for healing, he hopes for healing in your family after he decided to run. Have you spoken to each other Tito Sen?

SP Sotto: No, we haven't. I have been busy with the budget, and we have never been together physically for quite a long time. Some of our colleagues, about three or four of our colleagues have never attended the physically the Senate since March of 2020 so there is no chance. There are very few of us. Well, not now many have started attending already but at the start of the pandemic, the lock down, and when we formulated Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2, there were probably three or four of us who were physically present always. It was always me and Senator Lacson and then we always see Senator Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, and Senator Tolentino. Every now and then, Senator Pia Cayetano comes along. Bihira kaming nakabuo ng ten.

Q: I am curious about this, but I mean Sharon has asked you or did they ask you before Senator Kiko decided to run?

SP Sotto: No, they did not.

Q: How do you frankly feel about this?

SP Sotto: Well, to each his own. That question would better be asked my wife and my children. They have a different perspective as far as I am concerned. Sa akin, I brush it off. To them, it's a big deal.

Q: Why is it a big deal to your wife and the kids?

SP Sotto: You better ask them.

Q: With this new development, does this mean, of course, with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, will Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto who is your nephew, will he be campaigning for you at one point?

SP Sotto: Well, at one point, I think so. As far as the national politics is concerned, he has said that he does not want to participate in (unclear) party. Ang nakarating sa akin, ganito. He said that he would not want to indulge or participate in the national politics of his political party because he has a relative running for a national post. That was his exact quotation. You can already gauge it from that.

Q: But at this point, given that the race will most likely change, would it be imperative for you that he does help you?

SP Sotto: Yes, of course we would wish to mayors especially popular mayors and governors to support you as a candidate, always.

Q: Now, what is interesting is your niece, Paulina Sotto, the daughter of Vic, your brother, endorsing VP Leni Robredo. Did you know that?

SP Sotto: Well, to each his own, as I said. You know, we have decided, Senator Lacson and I, have decided not to talk about other candidates. So, kung sino man ang ineendorse ng kahit sino, okay lang because. There are also other relatives of other candidates that are endorsing other candidates. It is part of politics, ganoon talaga.

Q: It seems to me, listening to you, Tito Sen, that you are not burdened by it. You don't really mind. It seems that you have really brushed it off literally. Senator Kiko running, who is a relative, a niece supporting VP Leni, it does not bother you?

SP Sotto: No, it does not. It does not at all. I will be bothered if it is Vic Sotto or Joey De Leon.

Q: Let's talk about NPC common candidates. You said a very interesting term that I like about politics. You said carpet bombing. Nobody has ever used that term and it is a political strategy that in effect carpet bombing is a grassroots approach and you said NPC is quite big and has always been number 2. How will your NPC common candidates help Senator Ping Lacson who is not doing too well in the surveys. Of course, he said it does not bother him, but you have the likes of Senator Chiz Escudero, who is very popular. Senator Loren Legarda. You have so many NPC candidates that are quite popular and they have bailiwicks, even the locals.

SP Sotto: Yes, we have six NPC senatorial candidates, and we are working on coming up with as I said an alliance with the others, with the rest. When we talk about, when I mentioned about carpet bombing, we are also in the process of trying to eliminate any incident that the same thing that happened to us in 2016, 2013-2016 when NPC candidates, forming an alliance with other political parties, then the other political party would field the candidates against our candidates. Anong klaseng alliance yun? It happened to us with the LP before, NPC, when we had that. So, we'd rather not. Like what is happening now, we are making sure that the NBC candidates nationwide will not have an opponent from NUP or Reporma. That's the same thing with them. Doon sa mga incumbent nila, equity of the incumbent and iniisip namin. And then when it comes to the national candidates, like for example, Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Herbert Bautista, Sherwin Gatchalian, Manny Piñol, and JV Ejercito, are the six NPC senatorial candidates in our slate and at the proper time I am sure they will be with us. They have expressed already. The reason that we named these candidates is we have talked to them.

Q: And clearly, they will carry you are the chairman of NPC.

SP Sotto: Yes, we have talked to them.

Q: What about Senator Lacson? Kasi sabi ni Senator Lacson, ang hinihingi lang daw niya, kung hindi siya ang ieendorso, kapag nandoon sila sa ibang sortie, wag naman yun ang endorsohin, yung ibang presidential candidates.

SP Sotto: Oo, dapat. Kung hindi ka mag eendorse ng kagrupo mo, wag kang mag endorse ng iba.

Q: But do you agree with a common candidate system?

SP Sotto: Well, it boils down to the multiparty system an error, with due respect to the framers of the Constitution, I respect them so much, but there is this particular error of, I don't know if you could call it an error, baka naman (unclear) too stern a word... baka naman medyo nakaligtaan. The multiparty system in the Constitution which should have been a two-party system, because they voted for a presidential. When they were voting for a parliamentary form and a presidential form, they voted, I think with just one vote lang ang nagkatalo, they voted for presidential form of government. When that happened, they did not go back to the multiparty system which was already in one of the provisions. They should have gone back to that and changed it into a two-party system. So, eto ngayon ang nangyayari. May multiparty system tayo ngayon, so marami-raming partido hindi tayo makabuo nung isang doseng slate na puro NPC lang, unlike what happened in 1992. Kasi hindi pa ramdam yung pagka multiparty system. In 1992 when I first ran in the Senate, we had 24 LDP candidates. Straight LDP. Lakas also had a full slate of 24. And NPC had a full slate of 24. Dati ganoon, kasi tatlo lang yung major noon.

Q: So, do you believe this point in time where you have senatorial candidates or four slates, think it is time to put a limit to it? For there to be some changes in this?

SP Sotto: No, there is nothing illegal about it. I have benefited from that before. When I ran in 2010, I ran as an independent, but there were two political groups that had me in their list. In 2016 the same thing happened, I was running in the ticket of Grace Poe, but the ticket of Vice President Binay included me in their list. I understand that and what we are doing now is the same. It is like endorsing somebody who you think would become a good senator. So, we are willing to endorse these names and these particular candidates because we know they will do good in the Senate.

Q: When it comes to electoral substitutions, many have said that it has become a mockery at this point. Do you believe that there should be revisions to the substitution rule? What would you revise?

SP Sotto: Perhaps the third. There are three ways of substitution, that is the third way, that is the third option. Tapos nilagyan kasi ng extension. Dapat yan, wala na yung extension. Dapat talaga ano yan, you are prepared, you are ready to run for any particular position, mag file ka. Pagka nagdi-dillydally ka, Nagta-tagal-tagal ka, aba eh, hindi ka sigurado, di ba? You don't know what to do. I don't think the people would like leaders who are undecided, hindi ba? Ganoon eh, siguro ganoon ang thinking ko, so anyway, we might be able to amend that, I don't know. Not anymore for this particular elections, it's too late, but perhaps the new Congress would be able to tackle that. Or, we might even be able to do that after we tackle the budget. There are 2 or 3 bills filed eh. Baka, baka sakali. They are in the backburner right now because of the budget, but we might be able to take that up and remove that option.

Q: Okay, so there is a possibility that it can be tackled. Just some issues. Let's start with you courting more voters, how would you court the LGBTQ community, given that what the SOGIE bill was discussed, you have said no chance, do you still feel the same way Tito Sen?

SP Sotto: Yes, they did not complete the statement. No chance if we do not remove the provisions on religious freedom and educational freedom. And then LGBT, I have many friends. As a matter of fact I have many friends in the LGBT community who are endorsing my candidacy. Even in my group in showbusiness. We have Paolo Ballesteros, Allan K, and so many others. And then my political leaders now in Cebu, in Iloilo and in Pampanga are members of the LGBT community. I don't see any problem with that. They understand me completely. I am not against a particular bill because of the title. I am for anti-discrimination and I will, the only thing we're questioning is the issue of removing religious freedom and the issue of removing educational freedom. Yun yun. Parang yung sa RH noong araw. They misunderstood me a lot, because they did not realize we were only trying to remove the provisions on abortion which is illegal in the Constitution and then population control and then the abortifacients. That was all, you know. But marami talagang naninira noon. Tsaka maraming fake news about me na kung anu-ano ang sinabi nila kaya maraming akala na ganito na ganyan.

Q: Tito Sen, it is good that we are discussing this because you are known for your conservative stand in the Senate. In fact, you are backed up by a lot of conservative groups. I've read the groups yesterday and they've thrown their support at you. So, number one, let's clarify this, with the LGBTQ community, you are not anti-gay rights?

SP Sotto: Not at all.

Q: How would you then court women's groups who supported the RH well now it's a law. But during the time of debates, you were seen as a big block to the passage. How would you talk to them?

SP Sotto: I was a big block to the government buying abortifacients. It's illegal. I was a big block for the smuggling of we think then, in the national planned parenthood was trying to smuggle in abortion. I was a big block to the population control not only (unclear). But the RH bill would not have passed if I did not agree. I was the Majority Leader. How can it pass if we did not agree? The Sen. Pia Cayetano and I are in very good terms. She was the ka-debate ko. Sil ani Miriam. Remember Miriam and Pia? It was Miriam and Pia versus Sotto and Enrile. But we were particularly zeroing on that. Kaya lang, alam ko yun, meron mga international groups and you can check on the history. Even in the journal of the Senate, I have mentioned them time and again, kung anu-ano nga binintang sa akin eh. Binibintangan ako ng plagiarism, binibintangan ako ng kung anu-ano. Pero they were trying to, they were just trying to skirt the issues that I was bringing up by trying to attack me personally. They made up fake news during that time. (Unclear). As a matter of fact, it passed, it could not have passed. The only way it had passed was because we also remove that. We remove the post-abortion facilities, the issue of abortifacients. It was removed eh. Okay naman kay Sen. Cayetano and Sen. Santiago eh. Perhaps, the women's groups have no doubt for fact now, but during that time they did.

Q: Okay, alright. And just very quickly, by the time you started your career, I was a witness to that til from today, it's been many many years, and you've changed your stand on many issues and the death penalty is one of them. Right? And even Sen. Ping Lacson. You are no longer pro-death penalty.

SP Sotto: Yes, yes. If I may, let me discuss the context muna para maganda at maintidihan nila because there are some groups that are still pushing for the death penalty. When I was a Vice Mayor, I had difficulty with... Grabe pushers sa Quezon City. We were 44%, 54% in the entire NCR on drug cases. When I left for major concerns that I left and researched on and created in Quezon City it was down to 9%. But when I came into the Senate, I have the same mentality as Mayor Duterte, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte because he was a local official, I was a local official, magkasama kami noon, magkakilala kami, 1988 pa non. Magkasama nga kami on the same mentality. I have the same mentality lintek itong mga ano na to, mga drug pusher na to. Dapat ito death penalty. Ganun yung mentality ko. I filed the bill, reimposing the death penalty. in 1992 after the Constitution, there was no death penalty. I filed the bill reimposing the death penalty for drug trafficking. Drug trafficking na in total hindi yung high-level lang katulad ng iniisip niyo ngayon. At and then, Boy Herrera and other Sen. Maceda, included other crimes plunder ganyan ganyan so we were able to pass the death penalty naibalik ano, so it was reimposed. The debate took years. Sen. Orly Mercado who was Majority Leader then, always called it, pag tatawagin na niya, Mr. President I call on Senate Bill blank blank blank, walang kamatayang death penalty kasi walang kamatayan ang debate namin.

Q: Just to summarize, what made you change your mind today (unclear)?

SP Sotto: Ito nga, because of those debates, and the debates thereafter until they removed it (unclear), pinakikinggan ko naman both side eh. At napapakinggan ko maraming rin tamas a sinasabi nila eh, sa ayaw. Marami ring tama sinasabing in favor. But later on, I upgraded to high level drug trafficking lang. Because the other crimes you know, murderer ka, pag nakulong ka, sino pa bang mumurderin mo don, edi kayo kayo na lang mag murder doon. You can change. Tsaka wala ka nang mapapatay doon. Rapist ka, nakulong ka, baka ikaw ang ma-rape doon. Okay na. Itong drug trafficking, ang problema etong mga drug lord, pag nakulong, nagooperate pa. That was my thinking. They should evaporate from the phase of the Earth. Ganun yung thinking ko. But later on, I came up with a bill, I was able to formulate a bill that will remove them from the National Bilibid prisons. The Senate passed it already. It's now in the House of Representatives. It's a bill that establishes a national penitentiary for high level drug traffickers and heinous criminals. Para na ring death penalty yun, it's a win-win situation. It's a win-win bill. It's a win-win law. And also incorporated in that, a creation of a regional National Bilibid prisons. Regional Bilibid prisons. Unlike what's happening right now, lahat nakatambak sa Muntinlupa, ang laki laki ng property ng gobyerno doon. (unclear) Nasasayang.

Q: So, Tito Sen I think the bigger picture actually is you said you were thinking like Mayor Duterte of course, you were coming from Local Government but also when President Duterte came into office, you supported President Duterte in many of his programs to the point you were criticized as an enabler and yet you have recently called his drug war a failure. So that's a big shift from supporting the drug war of President to now saying it's a failure.

SP Sotto: Now... I never used the word failure. Perhaps other people said that. I never said it was a failure. What I said, it is not complete. You should do a holistic approach. I even told the President, I told him that, we talked about it. Remember he was joking me. Itong si Sotto ho-holy holy to. But he's a good man, yun yung habol niya. Remember? Because before that we were talking about the holistic approach. You know, the government, to solve the problem of illegal drugs and drug abuse, we have to solve the problem of drug abuse. It cannot be just illegal drugs. And the current administration concentrated on the problem of illegal drugs which is supply reduction, which is enforcement and prosecution. There is much to be desired as (unclear) as prosecution is concerned. Ba't enforcement ba't hindi ginawa? May mga bintang tuloy ng EJK. I never said it was a failure as far as that is concerned. I think what it lacks is the complete drug abuse demand reduction strategy which I have, which is prevention and rehabilitation. That's what I said.

Q: But do you find it ironic considering the drug war is the President's landmark, I mean it's essentially a pillar in his administration, the recent drug raid was a beach party in Davao, his hometown.

SP Sotto: Yes, I've heard of that. That's precisely what I'm saying. Why does it continue? The government is strong on enforcement and prosecution perhaps. But why does it continue? Why there is smuggling, why there is shabu laboratories, why are there groups like that. Because we are not addressing the problem on drug abuse. You know the day we stop buying is the day they stop selling. I keep on repeating that. You have to address the problem on drug abuse. If there are no drug dependents. There will be no pushers.

Q: This is like a chicken and egg situation. We are gonna talk about other issues. We are gonna take a quick break Senate President Tito Sotto.

SP Sotto: Hindi ko lang mapapalampas ah, when you said chicken and egg situation, I don't think so, I solved the problem of chicken and egg. What came first. I solved that already and ask me, it depends on what you're having, if it's breakfast or dinner.

Q: Senate President, clearly... or Malacañang doesn't want to release the President's Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or his SALN and the Ombudsman is also rejecting requests to release President Duterte's SALN. Is this against the law?

SP Sotto: I'd like to answer it by saying, as far as we're concerned, we have released our SALN. I think the people should know and we really have to pass the Freedom of Information Bill. We've asked it in the senate, a couple of times already. If you will recall, Senator Grace Poe was the proponent. We passed it twice. Siguro with that, baka the next congress will be able to tackle it para puwede nang... There is a process eh, I think for the Ombudsman, I don't know about the Office of the President, but the Ombudsman is following the path what the Supreme Court is doing. Parang they have their own rules. That's the problem, Karen. Basta as far as we're concerned, as Senate President, I have formulated a rule, and we have allowed anybody asking. You just write the Senate Secretariat and we will give you the copy of the SALNs of... (unclear) we gave it to the media.

Q: I don't want to talk about the Ombudsman's request because that will take a whole other show but do you believe President Duterte should release his SALN already based on just the present laws?

SP Sotto: Yes, I think so. He is the president. The people expect transparency in their leaders.

Q: ...And candidates? Should this be a requirement? Another candidate, it was Senator Chiz Escudero, Governor Chiz "candidates should even agree to waivers". Do you agree with that?

SP Sotto: Oo. Yes. As a matter of fact, baka hindi napansin ng iba, if you look at the SALN that we signed, the government officials signed, mayroong footnote doon sa ibaba. Yung footnote, hindi nababasa nung isa. You are giving a waiver to the ombudsman or to the authority, hindi ko lang mataandaan yung exact wording pero may waiver 'don. May waiver doon na halos wala kaming (unclear) bank secrecy. Now, the problem is, 'eto mahirap, Karen, if we will allow the particular provision (unclear) the Supreme Court will shoot it down. Because remember, in the Dangerous Drugs Republic Act 9165, I placed there in the provision, that all candidate must undergo under drug testing. The Supreme Court shot it down and said that it was unconstitutional because in the constitution, it only says, that you are to be a Filipino citizen and know how to read and write. Wala daw sinabi 'ron na ganon. So that will fall under that category. Kapag sinabi natin na lahat ng kandidato kailangan mag-file ng SALN, if somebody questions that to the Supreme Court, mayroon nang jurisprudence eh. The Supreme Court will call it unconstitutional. So it has to be voluntary, perhaps voluntary or perhaps it's up to the candidates. So yung mga candidate na ayaw mag-submit ng SALN, e alam natin na 'di dapat pagtiwalaan.

Q: You know that's quite interesting. Do you believe candidates should undergo drug test? There are suspicions of some candidates that are drug users. So do you believe that that should be a requirement?

SP Sotto: Yes. As I said, I am the principal author of the Dangerous Drugs Law of 2002 and I incorporated that in the provision. Nabaril nga lang ng Supreme Court. So what I do, from that time up, to now. Every election, every time that I file, during the campaign period, I always undergo a drug test on my own, voluntarily. Madalas sinasamahan ako ni Senator Honasan or ni Senator Lacson. Sabay sabay kaming tatlo. Minsan, we either go to either... In Cebu, we did it in the (unclear) Memorial Hospital. Here in Manila, we do it in the PDEA. Sa PDEA kami nagpapa-drug test

Q: Now, here's what's interesting. A little bit of history is you actually wrote the historic song "Magkaisa", which is recognizable. It was in 1986, recognizable as the EDSA People Power Revolution song which has been used in several other occasions when there are big moments in history that Filipinos want to remember. But this was essentially written after the Marcoses were kicked out by the Revolution...

SP Sotto: No, I started writing it in February 22. You know my recording studio (unclear)...

Q: Wait, let me finish the question just to get to the point because I only have a few minutes left.

SP Sotto: Sige, sige.

Q: ...And given that you played a role somewhat culturally in EDSA, you have Senator Bongbong Marcos leading the polls. Clearly you made a standby writing that song. Will you be able to work together if he does win?

SP Sotto: I have not, well... I can actually work with anyone but it has not crossed my mind. Up to now, I'm thinking that Senator Lacson and I will make a good team.

Q: Alright. We just have a few minutes to go. So, I'm gonna ask Malacañang is also claiming credit for the arrest of the Dargani siblings. Harry Roque said, at the end of the day, "the airport is under the Executive". Kung hindi dahil sa kanila, hindi rin... (unclear) nakalipad 'yon. What do you make of that?

SP Sotto: Well. Let him believe what he wants. Basta I know that the Sergeant-at-Arms, General Rene Samonte, used to be the head of the Air Force. So he knows how to go about it.

Q: One of the Acts you'll be remembered for, I'm presuming by you colleagues, as you leave the senate, is you actually are taking the President's EO to the Supreme Court. That's one of your, not final acts, but one of the, right? And this could be perceived by the President as an act against him. Do you believe that the president has gone overboard in ordering his Cabinet officials not to attend the Senate hearings, when even former President Arroyo did the same thing?

SP Sotto: Well, he was irritated. He disliked what was happening and as far as we're concerned, we passed a resolution to that effect and that is why I am representing the Senate, together with the officers of the Senate, we're representing them in filing a petition for the Supreme Court to give their opinion. That is the sense of the petition, to give their opinion of whether that is correct or not, whether that is constitutional or not. EO 464 before was, again, also declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. So, expect the same thing here.

Q: Well, I wanted to talk about the budget with you but we have to do that in another show. Just quickly, what would you consider the biggest achievement or failure of this administration? But you have to say it in one sentence.

SP Sotto: Wow! The biggest achievement, perhaps "Build Build Build"?

Q: Okay, the biggest failure of the Duterte Administration?

SP Sotto: The delay. The delay in addressing the problem of the pandemic, perhaps.

Q: Alright. On that note, Senate President Tito Sotto, thank you for joining me today. Much appreciated and we wish your family well, Sir. I mean we know you are in the hospital right now. Thank you

SP Sotto: Thank you. I'm glad you mentioned the family. It has always been my number one cause, the Filipino Family. Kaya kung minsan, if you will recall, if you could just give me a few seconds. When I was (unclear) because of their misunderstanding of my positions on the death penalty or the RH Bill or Same Sex Marriage, it is always because I support the religious positions of my family. My audience. I only have one audience, God.

Q: Alright. On that note, Senate President Tito Sotto, thank you and good luck on your campaign, Sir.

SP Sotto: Thank you, thank you. God bless. Mabuhay ka.

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