Press Release
April 26, 2006

Transcript of Press Conference of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On the Supreme Court ruling on EO 464 and the CPR

SPFMD: The Supreme Court has reminded Malacañang that we are a government of laws and not of men; that their actions will always be tested against the Constitutional boundaries and therefore any excesses will be struck down. This was evident in striking down EO 464 and in the CPR policy where the Supreme Court very clearly struck down excessive abuse of executive power. The Supreme Court should be congratulated for upholding our Constitution.

Q: Any prediction on Proclamation 1017?

SPFMD: I am confident that given the way 1017 was implemented, particularly on the warrantless arrests, the unlawful occupation and raid on certain media outlets, the Supreme Court will decide in favor of upholding once more the rights guaranteed under our Constitution. General Order No. 5 has no basis in law and therefore will be struck down as an undue interference of our freedom of speech and of the press.

Q: With the decision on CPR, ibig bang sabihin lumakas na yung kaso nung group nina Guingona na mag-file ng case against the police?

SPFMD: The use of excessive force certainly provides a course of action for Vice President Guingona and his group. The use of water cannons is totally uncalled for especially considering that this was a peaceful rally conducted by personalities who are known to be law-abiding.

Q: Palace is suggesting that Congress will make excesses of its own given the SC decisions?

SPFMD: We are not responsible to Malacañang , we are responsible to the people. The senators are mature enough to know the bounds of the law. Unlike Malacañang which simply disregards the bounds of the Constitution and our laws.

Q: Ano ang masasabi ninyo sa magkakasunod na desisyon ng Korte Suprema?

SPFMD: Nagkataon lamang na ang mga polisiya na pinaiiral ng Malacañang ay labag sa ating Saligang Batas. At nagkataon na ito ay dinala sa Korte Suprema. Pinapakita lamang na ang Korte Suprema ang kapakanan ng ating batas at ang kapakanan ng taong-bayan ang kanilang pinapairal dito sa dalawang desisyong ito.

Q: Pagdating po sa trust and confidence ng tao sa Korte Suprema, ito po ba ay maibabalik?

SPFMD: The Supreme Court is involved in interpretation of our Constitution and our laws. They should interpret the Constitution and our laws in accordance with legal precepts not with what is popular with the people. That is the difference between the judiciary and the political branches of government. The Supreme Court will decide as they have decided on the basis of their interpretation of the Constitution. Not on the basis of the popularity of the decision.

Q: On latest SWS survey saying the opposition should stop being obstructionist nagsasayang lang daw ang Senado at Kongreso sa pag-iimbestiga ng Hello Garci scandal

SPFMD: The matter of the Garci tapes are matters that arose because of questions on election cheating. Certainly, it is a legitimate inquiry on the part of the legislature for purposes of finding out how this episode can be remedied in terms of legislation. The matter of wire-tapping the President is a serious national security breach. The use of the ISAFP, apparently ISAFP in this case is for political purposes, is something that must be looked into. The legislature cannot just leave this matter the way they were. Because it involved the elections, it involved a democratic process, it involved a national security matter. Therefore, this is a valid inquiry that was conducted.

Q: You don't agree that what happened in the past should be left behind?

SPFMD: I don't buy that kind of principle.

Q: How was your China trip?

SPFMD: Very good.

Q: On northrail

SPFMD: Yes, I met with them and I told them that we want to make sure that the Northrail project does not turn out to be another white elephant as the NAIA 3 is turning out to be.

Q: Will you resume the North Rail investigation?

SPFMD: We have already made a statement on that. We said that we will look into this once the decision has become final.

Q: DOJ is asking NBI to investigate the student who said patalsikin si Gloria

SPFMD: Ako po ay nalulungkot na iyong mga ganoong klaseng mga pangyayari ay binibigyan ng pansin ng dating Kalihim ng Kagawaran ng Katarungan. Maliit na bagay iyan, mas maraming mga bagay na dapat nilang bigyan-pansin. Iyan naman ay isang estudyante at karapatan po ng sinomang mamamayan na magpahayag ng kanyang damdamin.

Q: Two points na vs Gloria, sa tingin ninyo mabigat na dahilan na ito para magbitiw si Gloria?

SPFMD: Ang mga kasong ito ay nasa Korte Suprema. These are reminders to the President that she should stay within the bounds of the Constitution and the law. Because the Supreme Court will not tolerate excesses in the use of executive power.

Q: What about the people who gave the bad advice?

SPFMD: She should review the performance of her legal advisers.

Q: On Tatad's statement re Davide

SPFMD: This is not the first time that the issue of the age of a political appointee to the foreign service is brought up to the Commission on Appointments. In the case of Vice President Tito Guingona, the same issue was raised. The CA voted nevertheless to confirm the appointment and made its own interpretation of the provision. I believe that this is a legal issue, an interpretation of the Foreign Service Act of 1991, which would be best resolved by the courts. I urge Senator Tatad to bring this legal issue before our courts of law where a decision can be made. The CA as I said, previously passed on the same issue. It made its own interpretation as a collegial body. Therefore, the best way to resolve this is to bring the matter before the courts so that it can finally be decided. This is an interpretation of a provision of the Foreign Service Act.

Q: You will refer it first to the confirmation proceedings?

SPFMD: We will refer the letter of Senator Tatad to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the CA chaired by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago. As we said, this is an interpretation of the Foreign Service Act which I would think is best to be resolved by the courts.

Q: The courts?

SPFMD: By the judiciary in general. Ultimately by the Supreme Court.

Q: Where should Sen. Tatad lodge this?

SPFMD: He has lodged a petition before the regional trial court in the case of former Vice President Guingona. It has become academic because VP Guingona has withdrawn. I don't think that that will progress. I don't really know where the case is at this point.

Q: Does this require a civil service opinion?

SPFMD: No, this is not within the jurisdiction of the civil service. Because if I recall correctly, this is an exempt position. This is not covered by civil service rules.

Q: On the abolition of death penalty?

SPFMD: I have not received any presidential certification.

Q: Sen. Pimentel is asking the Senate leadership to prioritize the bill seeking abolition of the death penalty.

SPFMD: The moment it is certified as a measure, that will be referred to the Committee on Rules. Yes, ordinarily it is given priority.

Q: Are you in favor of the abolition of the death penalty?

SPFMD: I signed a bill before together with Senator Pimentel on the abolition of the death penalty.

Q: According to the Chief Justice unconstitutional ang death penalty?

SPFMD: That is a personal opinion of the Chief Justice. We would like to think that it is the Supreme Court which will ultimately rule on this if it is brought squarely before it.

Q: In terms of opposing cha-cha, what have we achieved so far?

SPFMD: We have expressed our sentiments. We believe as the Senate passed a resolution, expressing the sense of the Senate that the people's initiative is illegal. And not based on any law. (end)

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