Press Release
June 30, 2011

Excerpts from Kapihan sa Senado with Sen. Gringo Honasan

On Senator Honasan's Party Affiliation

Hanggang ngayon, wala pa naman akong partido dahil wala naman talagang party system sa bansa natin. Itong pulitika sa atin paramihan lang ng kaibigan at kamag-anak na matitibay. So, I continue to fall back on the support, trust and confidence of the Filipino electorate and the Filipino people.

On President Aquino's Performance during the past year

Maybe out of a scale of 10, I would give the president a 7. Very big mandate, very many votes, very high expectations and very high level of frustration and impatience. So, everything is normal. He has 5 years to put it all together.

On President Aquino's Cabinet

In the Executive Branch, there is only one office that has to be graded or evaluated. The cabinet is only a consequence of the rating of the presidency. Why do I give a 7? There's much room for improvement, so many painful lessons learned all in relation to what constitutes public interest which we will discuss later on when we move to other issues.

His stand on the Spratlys issue as the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on National Defense and Security

Ang sagot ko dyan sa Spratlys issue, 'Ano ba talaga ang gusto natin?' What constitutes national interest? Do we want ownership? Or do we want use? Ito nga lang Malampaya, nasa loob na ng teritoryo natin hindi pa natin alam kung magkano kinikita yun pang Spratlys. Pinaimbestigahan ni Senate President, if I recall a few years back, the revenues generated by the Malampaya project. No less than the chairman of the Energy Committee of the Senate, Senator Serge Osmeña said, 'Finally, nagsumite na rin ng report as to the status ng pondo nung revenues.' That is the story that we would like to share with you this morning. Sa Spratlys, ang normal trajectory dyan is joint exploration and joint use, unless we are prepared to fight. If we are not, and I know we are not, then let's follow the trajectory of diplomacy , the ASEAN and the ASEAN plus configuration, the expressions of support by the United States based on the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement. Dun lahat magsisimula yun, and this will drive our foreign policy, this will drive our national security policy. Hangga't hindi natin nade-define yung national interest natin, kung ano yung ilalaban natin through diplomacy or ilalaban natin ng patayan, lahat ito adhoc. Mapansin ninyo bawat administrasyon iba, di ba? Nung panahon ni President GMA, merong joint mineral and seismic undertaking. Ang komentaryo nun, pinayagan natin ang China pati dun sa mga areas na hindi kini-claim natin na manghimasok in exchange for what? So babalik tayo sa national interest. Paano ito pakikinabangan ng mamamayang Pilipino? Dapat klaro ito sa frontliners natin sa DFA at saka sa Department of National Defense, yung mga sundalo na isasabak natin dyan kung kinakailangan. So we begin with a very clear definition on what constitutes our national interest, which has not happened in the present dispensation and in previous administrations.

On the Mutual Defense Treaty

This posturing, the Chinese aircraft carrier is very modern, well-equipped and well-armed then we send ours which is too vintage. This is normal, this posturing; this girian is normal so that we can prepare to leverage more effectively when we go into the realm of diplomacy, whether it's the United Nations or directly with the Chinese Government. But I have to share this also with you that the Minister of Defense of China was in the United States recently. I'm sure they have discussed this. Hindi lang siguro sini-share sa atin pero these two super powers know what they are doing in the area. Ang problema lang tayo. Hindi pa natin natutukoy kung ano talaga ang interes natin dyan. Gusto ba natin ibigay yung titulo sa atin? There are 750 islands there. 45 are occupied. Ilan dito sa islands na ito ang gusto natin angkinin? At pag binigay na sa atin, assuming this is resolved within our lifetime, what do we do with it? Katulad ng Malampaya, according to the 1973 Constitution, pwede 'yung service contract. Sa 1987 Constitution, tinanggal. Sabi naman ng Korte Suprema pwede na rin yan, so ano ba talaga? Ano ang gagawin natin for the sake of argument, that it's given to us. Resolved through the UN, with direct representation to China, what do we do with this? How many islands do we want out of the 750? Ito yung mga bagay na kailangan himayin natin para malinaw, hindi lamang sa DFA, hindi lamang sa DND kundi sa sambayanang Pilipino kung ano talaga ang gagawin natin dyan. Papaano uunlad ang buhay natin lahat?

Is this Mutual Defense Treaty giving us false hopes?

Dito sa Mutual Defense Treaty which is the mother treaty even of the Visiting Forces Agreement, nakalagay sa Section 1 yata, peaceful means meaning diplomacy. Pero in subsequent sections, pag nagkaroon ng armed confrontation, we are supposed to help each other but have we tested these provisions historically. So pag sinabi ng Estados Unidos, 'We will help you. we support you.' Abay linawin natin. Paano kayo tutulong? Ano ang itutulong niyo? Magkano ba talaga at kelan niyo ibibigay? 'Yung Pakistan na kumupkop kay Bin Laden, binibigyan ninyo ng $50 billion. Tayo, strategic, coalition of the willing, World War II, Vietnam War, 9-11 yung impormasyon hindi nila pinansin. Dapat naiwasan 'yun. What are we getting for it? $20 million. Visiting forces, sampung taon na silang visiting, pwede rin ba tayong magpadala ng isang batalyon sa west coast? Pag-aralan din 'yung coastal defense. Ganun ang usapan ng magkakaibigang bansa na may repseto sa isa't isa. These are the questions that we have to ask para wala tayong false expectations. Tutulungan ba tayo ng US? Parehas naman sila ng China na permanent members ng UN Security Council. Nag-uusap din naman sila. Ito 'yung mga bagay na kailangan himayin para matukoy na natin once and for all sa tinatawag nating national interest. Hangga't hindi natin natutukoy 'yun, walang mangyayari sa atin puro adhoc na lang.

Who will push the talks?

Siyempre initiative natin 'yan. Tayo nag-uusap e. Pero kailangang kausapin din natin 'yung ASEAN at 'yung ASEAN plus dahil kung tayo lang baka hindi tayo pansinin ng China. Kung maaalala ninyo, ilang taon na ang nakakalipas, may confrontation yung China at 'yung Vietnam, isa o dalawang barko ng Vietnam ang napalubog kaya napansin ninyo maingay na naman 'yung Vietnam na 'China, wag kang manakot.' 'Yun ang dapat nating gamitin, 'yung ASEAN configuration, pati 'yung ASEAN plus. Next, itanong natin sa US, very public naman kayo from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to some senators and congressmen, they will help us. How will you help us? Where will you help us? To what amount will you help us? When will you give this help para hindi naman kami umaasa sa wala. Ang initiative is sa atin pa rin pero kailangan malinaw sa atin kung ano ang game plan natin. Hindi 'yung pag si President PNoy ang Presidente ganito 'yung game plan, pag si President GMA ganito 'yung game plan. Pag sinabi mong national interest medyo long term 'yan. Hindi yan nakasalalay sa electoral cycle. We have the ASEAN configuration first so that we can jointly put this on the table before China. China has said they don't want a confrontation. Ayaw din nila ng away dahil alam nila baka hindi nila mabasa kung ano ang gagawin ng US. Gamitin natin ito pero dapat malinaw din ito.

Kailangan magkaintindihan muna tayong mga Pilipino. Kung sa ASEAN iba-iba ang sinasabi, hindi 'yan Philippine team. We have to speak with one voice very clearly para our frontline troops, our people, will understand and be guided. Kung in the extreme talagang full blown confrontation, kailangan malaman nating lahat kung ano ang ilalaban ng patayan which is of course not the preferred option.

We are waiting for the second LEDAC so we can define 'yung National Order of Priorities. Bago natin busisiin 'yung VFA, i-establish muna natin kung ano ang priority. Kung sinabi na ang priority ay Spratlys' issue, doon tayo tututok lahat. Yung mga kumentaryo, "nobody's home, dinededma," those are totally unnecessary. It has no bearing on the problem confronting us. This requires the highest level of statesmanship. If you want to involve all the previous presidents because of the lessons they had learned, good or bad, then you have to be a statesman. Siyempre ikaw mag-iimbita, ikaw mag dedefine ng agenda. So we propose a ceasefire muna sa mga walang kalatuy-latoy na issue, para Philippine team tayo. 'Yun, sana, pero sino naman tayo para magbibigay ng unsolicited advice?

On the President's approval rating

We should not ask politicians about the approval ratings kasi kung sa opposition siya, siyempre masama. Pag tinanong mo ay ka-alyado, siyempre ok. So tanungin natin ang tanong bayan. And the only logical mechanism for that, for better or worst, is the survey. Unless we have a better idea. Of course, Congressman Lagman will say that because he belongs to the opposition. Now, if you ask somebody aligned with the President, he will say something nice.

So to be more objective about it, we ask the ultimate beneficiaries and the unwitting victims of these broken or unfilled dreams. Personally, I already gave the President a rate of seven dahil para mag improve sa mga areas na dapat ma-improve at panindigan niya 'yung pangako at pag-asa na binigay niya sa sambayanan.

The objective is very clear: national development, economic development, national security, foreign policy, poverty alleviation and jobs. I think these are the areas that need improvement. Let the surveys indicate that to the government. The high incidence of Filipinos getting hungry, the high incidence of unemployment, these will tell the government. This is the natural feedback mechanism that has to be translated into more responsive and more pro-active delivery of basic services. There has to be communication to the intended beneficiaries.

I think the President responded but then again, it takes more than a response from the President to set the reforms in motion. Let's take the hostage crisis as an example. I think the failure was in the crisis management. But having said that, I'm just surprised why it took a lot of prodding for people to accept responsibility. There are not good signs that will raise the level of confidence of the people for their government.

On Lagman's comment that President was elected by mistake

Nag salita na ang sambayanan. How can I, even one senator, question 15 million Filipinos?

On firing cabinet members

If your cabinet and your staff does not give you headaches, you should be suspicious because it means that everybody is a "yes" man. That's normal in a democracy. I thought we have a selection committee when President Noynoy assumed office. If the cabinet members are non-performing assets based on standards that put them there in the first place, the President has the prerogative to remove them. Otherwise, it will move to another area which is the Commission on Appointments, if they are not yet confirmed. So we have many mechanisms, legal and constitutional, to address this normal organizational problems and headaches.

On AFP modernization

When you talk of modernization, mayroon tayo stereo-type, mayroon tayo mind set. May paradigm hang-up tayo, when we think of modernization, iniisip natin, bagong eroplano. The first thing we should modernize is our way of thinking. We have been talking about modernization for the last generation. But where are we now? Umasa tayo ng umasa, eh 'yong ibang pondo, wala na. So pag umasa tayo and not rely on our own imaginative capabilities, we always end up holding up an empty hat.

Let's look at the fundamentals first. How can we modernize when we don't even have an approved table of organization and equipment? We don't know how many generals to promote or to appoint. What can the AFP do or not do? Why can it not accomplish its mission? Before we can even think about modernization, is our armed forces designed to respond to our internal and external security problems? I remember my father, because he was also a soldier, he told me that the concept of Philippine defense 50 years ago, was to make it difficult for an external aggression to occupy us. In other words, guerilla warfare, kaya may ROTC. Pag may pumasok dito, takbo tayo sa bundok and then hit and run. It is still a viable option until we are able to modernize and come up with a blue water navy and a respectable air force which will last more than two hours in the sea and air against a foreign aggression. Pero we have to start with the basics. We have to design our armed forces to respond to the present and future problems. We have our ideas but is this planned? Communicated to the DFA, police, to citizenry? On whether priority should be given first to air force or navy

Kung ako tatanungin n'yo, transport capability. Transport aircraft, short take-off and landing. Small navy, small patrol craft that will carry our navy from island to island. Ilang araw inabot 'yong Rajah Humabon bagong dumating sa Spratlys'? I think a little less than a week. Can you imagine if that is our response? So nandoon na 'yong ibang claimants, tayo wala pa. We have to address this factor.

On bumping with US ambassador

I will ask him very basic questions. Your excellency, Mr. Ambassador, you have already expressed support, how, where, when, how much?

On Wish List

Siyempre kung wish list, parang shopping list 'yan. Humingi ka apat na barko, tatlong eroplano, limang tanke. San mo na ide-deploy 'yon kung hindi na redesign 'yong AFP? Now there's another angle which I brought out in the Commission on Appointments. Kaya siguro kampante 'yung U.S. na no choice tayo dahil, eh kung kausapin kaya tayo 'yong China? Sabihin natin na: "China pwede pa tayo mag Visiting Forces Agreement din, mas malapit kayo sa atin? Kausapin tayo ang Vietnam. Sinabi ko ito kay General Oban 'yong confirmation niya, "General Oban, subukan n'yo nga ibargain ito." Kasi that is the way a chief of staff must think. Kausapin kaya natin, ipaalam natin sa U.S. na kinakausap natin 'yong China o mag Visiting Forces Agreement natin. Upuan natin lahat ang Spratlys', prepare the way for joint exploration. Ano kaya ang gagawin 'yong U.S? Anyway, naguusap naman 'yong US and China. The biggest creditor of US is China. Ang punto ko lang dito, malinaw sa mga ibang bansa 'yung interest nila. Kaya tayo nagiging paboritong laboratory for their low intensity, economic and security gains because we may not have gotten our acts together. It is not the fault of the present or of the immediate past administration. This is the cumulative defect of lack of forward planning, visioning and long-term policy making.

On the rise of criminality in the Philippines

Of course, it is the primary concern of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Your Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs continues to receive regular reports, but it's also a question of giving the PNP and the attached agencies the wherewithal to accomplish their mission. I'm talking about institutional reforms like redress mechanisms that will respond to the morale problems, pay and allowances, equipment and basics like mobility and communications. These are the things that we have to attend to. This has to be situated very clearly in our national order of priorities.

On grumblings of the young officers in the military

Well, if these are grumblings, we have to validate these. How do you respond to grumblings if they are true? In other words, may pinanggagalingan. Huwag tayong patulog-tulog baka magulat na naman tayo. So, these are things that we have to look into seriously. We have to look at the morale and support system within the AFP but it takes more than grumblings to initiate something that has happened before in the past. How do you fight an idea for extra-Constitutional methodologies? You fight it with a better idea. In EDSA 86, you give our people, soldiers and policemen good government and you will remove the reason for the grumblings that can translate into action. Mabuti na lang at naririnig natin 'yung grumblings. Napakahirap kung wala tayong naririnig tapos biglang may mangyayari na lang. Expose of Colonel Rabusa

The expose of Colonel Rabusa resulted in three important legislative interventions. One is the Whistleblowers Act. Second is what we are working on as chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Media, 'yung Freedom of Information Act. I hope we can also put into the agenda a revisiting of the Auditing Code of the Philippines. Tragically, it has resulted in the death of former Sec. Angelo Reyes which is not the desired resolution to this but I have to add that the expose of Colonel Rabusa does not reflect the state of affairs of the current administration. He was talking about something that happened historically. I am surprised why the Armed Forces of the Philippines, because of the Rabusa expose, landed on top of the 10 most corrupt. I think this is unusual. Number two 'yung Philippine National Police. Is this rating warranted or accurate, considering that in an Armed Forces of 135,000 men, you have Generals Garcia and Ligot and Rabusa? I don't think they constitute the rule. They constitute the exception.

On the call of the bishops for a change in leadership

I suggest that the bishops address the issue of the Pajero 7 first before they call for the resignation of any sitting President. Let's do first things first. I can understand the agitation among the bishops but I think they should clean up their house first para they will have the credibility and the moral ascendancy to call for this. Whether it is a bishop or a pope calling for a shortcut to our democratic process, depende 'yan kung ilang Pilipino ang maniniwala or susunod. It's again a threshold issue. I suggest we do the best with the situation that is given to us. I do not know if that call will resonate among the young officers. I do not know if there is any mechanism that allows bishops and soldiers to meet clandestinely and conspire. Tama 'yung sinabi ng ibang bishops. 'Yung mga nababanggit na pangalan sa allegations ng PCSO na tumanggap ng vehicles and some other favor, I suggest they come clean para may effective application ng principles of transparency.

On the allegations of PCSO on bishops receiving favors

Actually, hindi pa natin alam kung, unang-una, totoo ang sinabi. Pangalawa, kung saan ginamit dahil ang claim ng mga nagsasalita na ay sa kawang-gawa. I'm sure in the CBCP internal rules, they have provisions for this para malaman nila ang katotohanan.

News Latest News Feed