Press Release
August 8, 2006

Transcript of interview with
Liberal Party President Sen. Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On the automation of elections

SFMD: There was a spirited discussion of the concept of automation. The general sentiment is that we must ensure that the amount of public funds that we will invest in automation, which will be substantial, should really result in a clean, honest, and orderly election. There were issues as to whether or not it should be at the precinct level, meaning the election returns, or the certificates of canvass in the municipal level. There were a number of proposals made. The agreement was to facilitate the passage of the measure, which was considered as a priority. Senator Gordon and Sen. Osmea, together with Senator Roxas, would sit down and craft an acceptable provision on the automation.

Q: Si Sen. Osmea ba hanggang ngayon hardline ang position

SFMD: Sen. Osmea has certain concerns and concepts, which he has introduced with the end in view of making sure that the automation bill achieves the purpose for which it is being crafted. And that is to have a credible election.

Q: Pero ang sentiment ngayon is to really push for it?

SFMD: That's correct.

Q: And the minor issues will be resolved?

SFMD: These are both minor and major issues. Yes, it will be resolved.

Q: Do we have a timeline?

SFMD: It is supposed to be among the priorities. Within the next two weeks, we are supposed to prioritize the debate on the floor and the passage of the measure on the floor. We are now in the period of amendments. Hopefully, within the next two weeks we should be able to pass the measure.

Q: Iyong budget na gugugulin sa automation kasama na sa P44.6 billion na supplemental budget?

SFMD: There is a P1.2 billion supplemental budget for automation, counting machines. I assume that once we pass this supplemental budget, funds will be available for this automation. That is contemplated in the Gordon bill.

Q: Hindi na po kayo magpu-push for the inventory of Comelec?

SFMD: That is out of the hands of the Senate. The Supreme Court has already ruled on that.

Q: So this will be new machines?

SFMD: Effectively, yes.

Q: Is Secretary Andaya's briefing tomorrow counted as a hearing? Hindi niya puwedeng i-invoke ang EO 464?

SFMD: It doesn't matter to me. The briefing tomorrow is because we cannot technically conduct a hearing, since the appropriation measure is still in the House. Secretary Andaya specifically said that he would like to brief the senators on the merits and urgency of the supplemental budget. That is why we are conducting this briefing tomorrow so that he will have the opportunity to explain the P44.6 billion budget to the senators. If he doesn't appear and invokes 464, that is their own lookout because they are the ones requesting for this budget. But in fairness to Secretary Andaya, he said in writing that he would like to brief the senators.

Q: The obstacle there is if he will receive an instruction not to come

SFMD: The obstruction is from them, not from us. Sila po ang humiling na magbigay ng briefing sa mga senador. Ito naman ay supplemental budget na hiningi ng Malacañang . Kung sakaling hindi sila sumipot, hindi po namin problema iyan dahil sila naman ang humihingi ng budget para sa mga ilang departamento sa ehikutibo. Kung hindi sila sisipot, hindi po magkakaroon ng pagtaas ng sahod ang ating mga pulis, ang ating mga firemen. Hindi po magkakaroon ng additional share and ating local governments doon po sa IRA. Siguro naman, hindi nila ilalagay sa alanganin ang mga hinihiling nilang appropriation.

Q: Wala pa sa P44.6 billion iyung para sa mga evacuees?

SFMD: May separate appropriations measure. Humihingi rin sila ng P500 milyon na standby fund para sa evacuation ng ating mga manggagawa sa Lebanon. Ang kanilang paliwanag sa dalawang supplemental budget ang aming papakinggan bukas. (end)

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