Press Release
November 22, 2006

Transcript of interview with Sen. Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On non-appearance of Cabinet members in budget plenary debates

SFMD: We are totally disappointed with the attitude shown by the members of the Cabinet, the members of the Development Budget Coordinating Committee, in not appearing this morning at this period of interpellation. We worked hard on this budget. We worked on this for three months in morning, afternoon and evening sessions. We studied the budget very well. We thought that it was a good budget that we presented before the Chamber yesterday. Secretary Andaya complimented us and said, pinag-aralan ninyo nang husto ang budget, at least, nakikita natin ang direksyon ng budget sa ginawa ng committee ninyo. This morning, we are about to start. We have scheduled the debate on general principles this morning, the budget of the Department of Education this afternoon. We have a schedule, which indicated that we could finish the budget by December 4 of this year. All the senators cooperated in the caucus, they said, 'yes let us finish this on time.' And yet, when we start the debates, we don't see a single member of the Cabinet present. This is an attitude, which does not speak well of the way they look at this most important piece of legislation.

Q: Sinu-sino ang wala na dapat nandito?

SFMD: Secretary Andaya, Secretary Teves, Secretary Neri and Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo.

Q: Nagpaalam ba sila?

SFMD: No, there was absolutely no information relayed to us that they cannot attend this morning's hearing. Wala pong sinabi sa amin na hindi sila makakadalo.

Q: Hindi kaya delaying tactics ito?

SFMD: Kung idedelay nila, sino ang mapeperwisyo? Ang taong-bayan ang mapeperwisyo kung ide-delay nila. Kung idedelay nila ito, wala tayong budget. Siguro ganoon nga ang gusto nila na maluwag ang kanilang paggalaw sa pera ng bayan.

Q: Kung hindi sila dumating ng 2 pm?

SFMD: Ide-defer natin uli.

Q: On SC decision on people's initiative

SFMD: In other words, the Supreme Court said that the law is sufficient. But the amendments they presented are not a proper subject of an amendment through a people's initiative because it was a revision. In substance, therefore, a revision is not allowed to be done through a people's initiative. Number two, the manner in which they solicited the signature was highly questionable according to the court. So even if the law is sufficient, they could not utilize the law for the purpose of shifting the system of government to a parliamentary system as they suggested.

Kahit po sapat ang batas ay hindi pa rin puwedeng gamitin ang people's initiative para rebisahin ang ating Saligang Batas. Dahil ang sabi ng Korte Suprema, sang-ayon sa ating konstitusyon, mga simpleng pagbabago lamang, hindi iyong papalitan mo ang sistema ng pamahalaan sa pamamagitang ng people's initiative. Iyan po ay bawal sa ating Saligang Batas. Hindi po pinapayagan sa ating Saligang Batas na palitan mo ang sistema ng ating pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng people's initiative. Iyong puwede lamang sa people's initiative ay mga simpleng pagbabago o tinatawag nating amendment.

Q: If there's another effort and this time they have the proper procedure

SFMD: Even if there is a proper effort, they cannot revise the form of government to a parliamentary system through a people's initiative because that is a revision not an amendment. The Constitution only allows an amendment through a people's initiative.

Q: The SC ruling practically did not give them enough room?

SFMD: Yes, that's correct. The Supreme Court sustained and upheld the Constitution that you cannot revise the Constitution through a people's initiative. You can propose amendments to the Constitution through a people's initiative because the law is sufficient.

Q: Ang ipu-push na lang nila ay Con-Ass?

SFMD: That's the only option available to them. But as I said, let's move forward insofar as our political exercises are concerned. (end)

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