Press Release
February 22, 2011

Transcript of interview with Senator Santiago

On the CBCP suspending its talks with the Palace on the RH Bill

It only means that the CBCP considers that it has already done all it can to defeat the RH bill and it has seen what the limits of the powers of the president are because the president of course does not dictate to a co-equal branch of government. It also indicates that CBCP is very committed against the RH bill so we shall see whether here religion will be a factor in the passage of a bill considered urgent for the ultimate development of the country. The problem is that this bill not only involves the constitutional right to privacy, it also includes the constitutional right to a progressive economy. So we shall see in this development whether the political branches of government will be sufficiently aware of potential voting power of the CBCP. In other words, it might be a test case. We'll see if the politicians will be so wary of confronting the Catholic church in the light of the next elections or their own reelections that they will step backwards and completely ignore the prodding of the advocates of the RH bill. Therefore, we will in effect gauge the political power of the Catholic church in this country

On Taiwan asking for an apology from the Philippine government

Maybe they do want an apology, but I also support the stance of the Philippine government not to issue the apology because once we do that China will demand an explanation from us, and then well lurch from one crisis to another in diplomatic relations. What we are saying is that we do not intend any act of discourtesy to the sovereignty of Taiwan which we always recognized as a province of China under the One China policy. We do not mean to imply that we are casting a slur on its status of statehood, but we are being consistent with the One China policy. Our policy is that there is only one China, and that Taiwan is only a province of China. Taiwan has always insisted that it is a completely different and independent state. I think that that is why it is very touchy on this matter. So we just have to explain to them we are not interfering with the internal affairs of China. We are only pursuing our duties under international law. On that matter we do not make a clear decision on who is right. We are simply being consistent with a policy we have announced long ago. There is no need to rehash the whole thing over and over.

On the House impeachment hearing against Ombudsman Gutierrez

It would be much better if they wait for the ruling of the Supreme Court to become final and executory. Suppose that a motion for reconsideration is filed and supposed that it is resolved in favor of the official being impeached, then the House of Representatives would have to cycle backwards very quickly. So to avoid embarrassment--since it will not prejudice the actual case of impeachment--why don't we wait for it to be executory? There is no need to rush this.

On Sen. Marcos's comment earlier today

I think [the comment] is being done in hindsight. I don’t think so. Singapore is an authoritarian system just like ours [then], but the thing is that the aspect of corruption is notably absent. So the people became convinced that the limitation on their civil liberties was justified. In this case, until now we have not settled the issue of corruption during the dictatorship, so we cannot draw a parallel. I don’t think they are congruent to each other.

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