Press Release
October 5, 2006

Transcript of interview with Sen. Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On the anti-terror bill

SFMD: As Senator Enrile manifested, I had the most extensive interpellation. I just have one or two more points, not very major, and this is the role of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), which is not found in his bill. I wanted to ask what is now the role of the AMLC. Because under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), the AMLC can look into the books of the terrorist. It is not so provided in his version. It's not a very major issue. That is why I said, I could ask this during the period of amendments. And the other one is, what do you mean by the records being considered as classified information. So those are the only two points, which are not major. We have agreed on all the major items. In fact, in the course of my interpellation, he has accepted many proposals for amendments coming from me.

Q: What are your proposals?

SFMD: He agreed to delete proposals punishing the offense of proposal to commit terrorism because of the fact that it can be opened to abuse. He agreed to delete that, which I drew from him in the course of the interpellation. Iyong mga 'threaten to use,' mga ganoon. Because given the consequences of the crime, like opening of bank accounts, arrests without warrant, wiretapping of conversations, we should be very strict on crimes punished.

Q: Do you share the view of the opposition that this Anti-terror bill will be abused by this administration?

SFMD: If we are able to put enough safeguards, we should be able to do it. In other words, there must be a balance between the rights of the state to protect itself from terrorists and the civil liberties of citizens, which should be protected.

Q: Is that a yes?

SFMD: Unless we put safeguards, it can be abused. That is my theme in my interpellation. We should put safeguards. Like, I convinced the sponsor that we should delete the crime of proposal to commit terrorism because this may be abused. A witness may claim that Mr. X is about to propose to commit terrorism and this may subject Mr. X to arrest without warrant, allow law enforcement agents to listen to his conversation, open his bank account. These are the possible abuses that can happen if we do not introduce the appropriate amendments.

Q: Do you think there are enough safeguards in the bill now?

SFMD: We still have to see how the bill looks finally because I will vote only if those safeguards are there.

Q: But so far your amendments are there?

SFMD: We have not yet introduced any amendment. In the course of the interpellation, he has accepted many of the concepts. We will introduce these concepts in form of a specific amendment. We will see how it comes out.

Q: Will it be passed this month?

SFMD: I am not optimistic that it will be passed this October because of the amendments, marami iyan.

Q: Within the year?

SFMD: Certainly, within the year, yes. But given the fact that we have barely three days, and there is a lot in the calendar, I am not very optimistic that we can approve it this month.

Q: Is the schedule on budget hearings on track?

SFMD: We are on track insofar as the Committee on Finance is concerned. We wish we could have more time. But the rules will not allow us to have more time as we cannot hold committee hearings while the Senate is in session. But we are on track. We expect to present it to the floor in plenary about mid-November.

Q: Hindi naman naantala dahil sa on-going row on the Anti-terror bill?

SFMD: Last night, the committee hearing of the DSWD had to be cancelled because we had a session up to 10:30 pm. We could not do it. It was affected. And especially that we could not hold committee hearings according to the rules while the Senate is in session.

Q: You don't really expect any dramatic help from the DFA to bring back Bolante?

SFMD: I will say Alleluia if I see one. Praise the Lord if I see one.

Q: Who should initiate process of extradition?

SFMD: The DOJ, under the treaty that we negotiated when I was Secretary of Justice. The standard is that it is the DOJ, which starts the process.

Q: Pero hindi pa applicable ang extradition?

SFMD: Because the Ombudsman has not filed a case before the court.

Q: Government lang ba ang puwedeng mag-file ng case against Bolante, si Harry Roque puwede ba?

SFMD: You can only file the case before the Ombudsman. And only the Ombudsman can file the case before the court. The Ombudsman is not a court, it's a fiscal.

Q: Ang budget hearings daw po ay hindi dapat makain ang time ng plenary work

SFMD: Tama iyan. Dahil sa anumang committee ay hindi pupuwedeng mag-hearing habang may session ang Senado. Sang-ayon ako diyan at susundin natin. Ang sinasabi ko lang, medyo eksaherado naman kung sasabihin mo na ang buong plenary ay nakakain ng committee hearing namin. Gusto ko mang itigil in time for the plenary, paminsan-minsa, may mga kasamahan tayong mga senador na may itatanong pa. nahuhuli kami, mga 30 minutes at the most. Kadalasan, hindi naman nag-uumpisa ang session agad. Kagaya ngayon, itinigil ko ang hearing ng Department of Foreign Affairs ng alas-10 dahil ang sabi kagabi, alas-10 ang session. Dumating ako dito ng alas-10, kami lang nila Senator Flavier at Senator Angara ang nandito. Nag-umpisa ang session, alas-11:15. Kaya naghinayang ako dahil dapat ay may isang oras at kinse minutos pa na puwede naming talakayin ang budget ng DFA. Ngunit dahil sa may patakaran kami, sinusunod namin kaya nandito kami ng alas-10. Unfortunately, hindi naman natuloy ng alas-10. Kaya ako ay susunod sa aming patakaran sa Senado.

Q: You are questioning the quorum?

SFMD: I did not. I just asked whether or not there was a quorum.

Q: Ano ba ito, brought about by stress?

SFMD: Hindi ako humingi na suspindihin ang aming patakaran. Sa katunayan, si Senator Lacson ang humingi na suspindihin ang aming rules for the sake of finishing the budget. Iyon lang naman ang hiningi ni Senator Lacson. Ako naman ay sang-ayon na sundin dapat iyong patakaran sa Senado. Hindi kami maghi-hearing habang may plenary session.

Q: Hindi ba nasasayang ang oras ninyo?

SFMD: Nanghihinayang nga ako. Kagaya kagabi, dapat alas-7 mayroon akong committee hearing sa DSWD. Nandito na ang mga taga-DSWD, pati si Secretary Cabral. Aking pinauwi sila dahil may session. Ngayong umaga, dapat alas-10 ang session kaya aking tinerminate ang committee hearing ko sa DFA, para makadalo dito sa session. Hindi naman nagsimula ng alas-10, alas 11:15 na.

Q: Ano ang na-achieve ninyo ngayon?

SFMD: Walang na-achieve sa session. Sana may na-achieve ako sa committee hearing ko pero hindi ako puwedeng mag-committee hearing dahil sa may session.

Q: Because of that, hindi na kayo magse-set ng 7 pm hearing?

SFMD: Itutuloy ko pa rin dahil ang pagkaalam ko, ang session ay natatapos ng alas-6 o alas-6:30. Kailangan kong tapusin ang budget hearing by the first week of November, pagbalik namin.

Q: Sa Monday kaya ganito na naman? Napa-paralize na ang sesyon?

SFMD: Hindi nakaka-paralyze iyan. Sa akin, basta sundin natin ang patakaran, tatakbo ang Senado.

Q: Hindi ba sayang ang oras? Nagpuntahan kayo ngayon tapos wala namang na-achieve?

SFMD: Ako may na-achieve ako. Naghi-hearing ako. Alas-8:30 pa lang nandito na ako. Nauna pa ako sa inyo.

Q: Hindi kaya parang kanya-kanya na ng interpretation ng patakaran ngayon?

SFMD: Hindi. Wala akong problema. Alam ko ang patakaran. Hindi kami puwedeng mag-committee hearing kung mayroong sesyon kaya susundin ko iyan. Iyon din ang punto ni Senator Joker, dapat sundin ang patakaran. Susundin ko. Basta ala-3 ng hapon, ititigil ko ang committee hearing ko. After the session, hearing uli.

Q: Magiging metikuloso na kayo to be here on time to be sure na ang plenary work ay hindi maantala?

SFMD: Yes. I will be here on time. I will make sure that the committee hearings of the Committee on Finance will not get in the way of sessions.

Q: During the break maghe-hearing ka rin?

SFMD: Hindi na. I don't need to because I will finish it.

Q: When do you expect to wind up committee hearings?

SFMD: About the 10th of November. (end)

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