Press Release
September 13, 2017

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On the CHR budget

Drilon: Sinabi po ni Sen. Lacson na ibabalik ng komite niya sa senado ang budget ng CHR. Sinusuportahan po ng minorya sa senado itong panukala ni Sen. Lacson. The CHR's budget will be maintained by the committee of Sen. Lacson, who is in-charge of this, and we will support the proposal of Senator Lacson and the restoration of the budget of the CHR.

Q: There is no pre-condition here as compared to the House na dapat mag-resign muna si chairman?

Drilon: That is not proper. We should not use the budget for things like this. We look at the budget and if there's anything wrong in the budget, let's do something, but I don't think the resignation is part of the CHR's budget.

Q: Ano yung implication noon?

Drilon: Ang CHR is a constitutional body. By approving P1,000, in effect you are abolishing the CHR by removing any power to operate the agency. In effect you are abolishing the CHR and that can be constitutionally questioned because the CHR is a constitutional body and it is provided for in the constitution; it has fiscal autonomy. In effect you will be abolishing the CHR by giving P1,000 budget, which, in effect, will render it incapable performing any of its function.

Q: Will there be any violation? Some groups are planning to donate to CHR?

Drilon: I don't think that's necessary. We will return the budget in the senate. We will take the position that if the house will not agree to restore the budget of the CHR, then so be it, we will have a re-enacted budget. The Senate, I would like to think, will not stand for the abolition of the CHR, through giving it a P1,000 budget. If the house will insist on that, then there will be a deadlock for 2018 general appropriations act.

Q: That means sa bicam kung ipipilit nila, that's your stand na?

Drilon: Yes, kung ipipilit njila, the Senate, I would like to think, may take a unanimous position here that we should maintain the CHR budget. The minority at least will support the position of Senator Lacson that the CHR budget should be maintained. If in the bicam the house insists and the Senate, which bica conferees, which is supposed to stand by the senate-approved budget including the CHR budget, it may result in a deadlock. Then it will be a re-enacted budget for 2018.

Q: Last night the President said that after the Marawi, he will address insurgency, will this be helpful considering that we are still trying to achieve a peaceful environment?

Q: It's an executive decision...that's a matter for the president to decide.

Q: How do you see the performance of CHR, ang sabi ang CHR ay politicized?

Drilon: The CHR is performing its function in accordance with its mandate in the constitution.

Q: May nagsasabi na dilawan lang daw yung pinagsisilbihan ng CHR?

Drilon: Let the public judge and respond.

Q: Can you abolish a constitutional commission?

Drilon: You cannot abolish a constitutional commission especially by not giving it a budget. By not giving it a budget, you, in effect, abolish. It is even doubtful if you can pass a law abolishing CHR and I don't think you can because it is a constitutional body. But for you to in effect abolish not by passing a law but by not giving it a budget is certainly inconsistent with the constitution and can be questioned on constitutional ground.

The refusal to give a budget to a constitutional body could be unconstitutional. For example, if the supreme court is given a P1 budget, if the Comelec is given a P1,000 budget, if the COA is given a P1,000 budget, will that be in effect abolishing these constitutional bodies? The CHR is similarly situated. It is an agency provided for in the constitution. You in effect abolish a constitutional body by giving it a P1,000 budget. I will repeat, if the same is a valid action against the CHR, there is a very dangerous precedent, because you can abolish the supreme court by giving it a P1,000 budget, you can abolish the COA, the Comelec.

Q: Hindi naman ito crackdown doon sa mga constitutional bodies - the one conducting checks and balances?

Drilon: Checks and balances is valid but abolishing the constitutional body by not giving it a budget is invalid.

Q: Pinagbawal na daw sa PNP yung pagbibigay ng spot reports sa media?

Drilon: Senator Lacson, on several occasions, has requested and asked the PNP to submit these spot reports. In fact in the last hearing, Gen. Dela Rosa said he was willing to submit sport report for about 200 cases.

Q: Hindi na raw ibibigay sa media?

Drilon: We will bring this up to Sen. Lacson' committee.

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