Press Release
April 28, 2009

Press statements of Senator Zubiri

On Senate as Committee of the Whole

I cautioned our friends in our media that the vote of allowing the committee on whole to proceed is not a vote against Sen. Manny Villar. We're not judging him. I am not judging him as guilty or as innocent. I'm just giving him a chance to be able to have a forum to defend himself and go through due process since they don't want to participate in the Ethics Committee.

I believe that as much as I wanted to give them more time, and I would have voted in favour of their motion to extend the debate a little longer, but the motion on the floor was to proceed to the committee on the whole and therefore I voted in the affirmative on that because I really would like to see Sen. Villar have his forum to be able to defend himself from this issue.

Convening the committee of the whole would cool off some heads?

No. Convening the committee on the whole would unduly add more pressure to senators who are not member of the ethics committee because now they're involved. Now every senator is involve in this process and every senator must decide on this issue which I know not all senators want to take part in. But I guess it's a necessary step to show that the Chamber is first of all transparent, and its dealings with its members on any charges of wrong doing. That way the media will see that were acting upon these issues.

It's unfortunate that there's political color put into it, but it's not the only issue at hand. There are three other ethics cases filed by three other members on several other senators. So, I think the transparency here is utmost importance but at the same time, I hope it does not paralyze proceedings at the Senate.

I truly hope that we can still continue with our legislative agenda and that the minority will not take this as personal because if they do take this as personal then, it would be sad for the country, for the nation as a whole if we'll not be able to pass necessary legislation that will benefit our people in the long run. So, we'll take it one issue at a time, and while the committee on the whole cited the constituted to tackle the issue of Sen. Villar let's pass as many important measures as we can for the country.

On Swine flu virus

I am urging the public and all the other sectors concern to exercise restraint and care in dealing with the issue of Swine flu virus to avoid unnecessary panic or alarm. I ask the people that instead of panic they could pay close attention to the most recent health warnings and take individual precautions.

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