Press Release
September 5, 2011

Transcript of interview of Sen. Franklin Drilon

In view of the numerous questions on the budget and the need for a number of documents the Committee on Finance is not able to approve the budget of the PNP at this hearing and we have decided to conduct another hearing on September 27. The P95 billion budget of the DILG and its attached agencies would have to be reviewed carefully, particularly in the area of the PS budget. The personnel services budget is about P65 billion of which P49 billion is for the 139,000 present manpower and another P16 billion is for the 61,000 pensioners.

I repeat, out of this P95 billion DILG budget P65 billion would be for the PNP salary and pension payments consisting of P49 billion for the 139,000 warm bodies and the other P16 billion for the 61,000 pensioners.

Part of the P49 billion budget for 2012 for personnel salaries would be 3,000 new police officers being hired budgeted at P309 million to cover one quarter of 2012. However there is also in the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund (MPBF) which is the item where budgets for unfilled position are placed an amount of P4.897 billion and we assume this is for the unfilled PNP positions.

The average amount spent per PNP hire is about P260,000 per year so that if you are just going to compute this there are in this manner, meaning P4.897 billion under the miscellaneous personnel benefit fund for the PNP, you divide that budget for unfilled position by P260,000 which is the cost per hire, you come up with about 18,834 unfilled position. Plus 3,000 under the current 2011 budget, plus another 3,000 in 2012, you are looking at 25,000 positions in the PNP. They are saying that this is not accurate. There is a explanation for this. We will await this explanation because unless properly explained it would appear to me to be a bloated budget for personnel as we cannot possibly imagine the PNP being able to hire 25,000 for the next 18 months ending December, or for the next 16 months ending December 2012. Something is erroneous with this figure because if this is correct, then the budget has been bloated for the last several years. This is one area that we will be looking at again. Also we have requested that the P1.5 billion new allocation for potable water supply which is placed in the budget of DILG be explained and justified. Our information is that this was a few years back implemented by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). Suddenly it went to DOH and now it has migrated to the DILG. We are not in favor of such lump sum appropriation, it could become a pork barrel in the hands of a less well meaning DILG secretary. We have confidence in Sec. Jesse Robredo but we talk here about the institution, we have P1.5 billion new project for potable water supply allegedly to provide infrastructure and capability building for selected waterless municipalities so we want to see and review this very carefully because as we said we do not want this to become a pork barrel in the hands of a naughty and malicious and DILG secretary. I can understand the reluctance in having this in the allocation for LWUA because of the previous experience with the chair of the LWUA on the way they treated public funds, but we should be making decisions not on the basis of personalities but in terms of what should be the proper way of doing things. Let us prosecute those who in disregard of their duty would abuse their authority but that should not be the reason for us to keep on changing the decisions when in fact the expertise for example in the water supply, would be in LWUA rather than in the local governments.

We are also requiring a complete report on the repair of the armored personnel carriers there were over 28 units in 2007 of APCs, we are requiring a full report as to how this happened preparatory to a possible Senate committee hearing on this issue.

And finally we wanted to inquire into the implementation of the collection of the Fire Code Fees which is used for the purchase of fire trucks in 2010. The collection amounted to P582 million. We understand exactly one fire truck was purchased, or is about to be purchased. Again here, apparently the absorptive capacity of the bureaucracy is raised in issue because in 2010 as we said, P582 million was collected for Fire Code Fees, but may be not a single unit of fire truck was purchased. In 2011, there is a budget of P950 million again under this item. We are not aware of any fire truck having been purchased and in 2012, another P800 million is being allocated. We want a full report on this. At bottom therefore, we would have to continue the hearings of the DILG and PNP budgets on September 27. For that reason, we could not yet submit the budget of the PNP and the DILG for plenary debates.


Drilon: Humingi ako ng kopya nung report na finile ng PNP sa Ombudsman. Amin pong titingnan kung ito ba ay may pagkukulang, and we retain the prerogative of filing our own complaint as a result of the Blue Ribbon investigation. We do not want to come up with any definite conclusion until we have a copy of the complaint. I have asked DILG Sec. Robredo to furnish us a copy of the complaint.

Q: Na-preempt po ba nila yung plano ninyo na magfile din ng kaso sa Ombudsman?

Drilon: Yung preempt, if you are saying na hindi na kami pwede magfile dahil prineempt nila, sabi ko nga, may kapangyarihan kaming magfile ng sarili naming kaso.

Q: Paano po ito nakakaapekto sa ongoing hearing?

Drilon: Ang sinasabi ko lang na pag magkaroon pa ng panibagong hearing, syempre sasabihin nung mga nasampahan ng kaso na ayaw naming sumagot sa mga tanong ng Blue Ribbon dahil baka magamit yung aming sagot doon sa kaso na isinampa sa Ombudsman. Ibig sabihin, pwede pong sabihin nila na we invoke the right against self-incrimination, in questions that can be raised to them in relation to this helicopter scandal.

Q: Mas mahihirapan ba kayo to ferret out details ngayong may kaso na?

Drilon: Kung ako ay tatanungin ninyo, lahat na punto na ibig kong patunayan ay nandoon na sa record. I cannot speak for the chairman of the committee and the committee itself. If there are still other areas of inquiry, that could be prejudiced by the filing of the case before the Ombudsman. I cannot express an opinion on that.

Q: As of now, pina-finalize na po ba yung kaso na ipa-file laban kay FG?

Drilon: Ang pagkaalam ko finile na nila.

Q: Yung sa Senate Blue Ribbon po?

Drilon: Hindi ko alam. Ang pagkaalam ko finile na sa PNP. I would not know kung hinahanda na yung report ni Sen. Guingona. I cannot speak for him.

Q: Hindi po ba you were supposed to ask Napolcom kung bakit wala silang ginawang imbestigasyon sa administrative liabilities?

Drilon: Yes but I ran out of time. Maybe we can answer that afterwards. I started the hearing at 9AM, at 12:15PM there were still so many questions being raised. We ran out of time on that.

Q: Ano po yung mangyayari kina Archibald Po na granted ng immunity pero kasama sa mga kinasuhan?

Drilon: Sa Witness Protection Act, the admission into the program of a witness will result in the witness being excluded from the complaint. Under the Witness Protection Program, the Senate is authorized to accept witnesses under the program. With the approval of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Archibald Po and De Vera were admitted to the program and under the Witness Protection Act, they will be excluded from any information filed, provided of course that they testify in court as prosecution witnesses.

Q: Kung mawawala sila sa mga kinasuhan ng PNP dapat tanggalin sila sa Senate?

Drilon: Well, the PNP's position on this point is that it is the Ombudsman which will give effect to this legal consequence and that is correct because the Secretary of Justice is the one which is authorized to exclude from the information possible witnesses under the Witness Protection Act.


Q: Do you think the Performance Challenge Fund is beneficial? Sabi po ni Sen. Marcos na it is counter-productive.

Drilon: Well, yes. I am glad you asked that question because again, this is one of the areas where we will have further inquiry because the Performance Challenge Fund for the Local Government Units amounts to P753.7 million. This is a subsidy for 516 provinces, cities and municipalities, in the implementation of local government projects. We will examine this very closely and continue asking questions on this. In the same vein, we also want to look very closely at the Pamana Program which is P968.9 million, almost a billion. This is for 165 municipalities and cities in 30 conflict areas. The total for this Pamana funds would be over nearly P2 billion, P1.9 billion, spread out in various agencies. This is quite a sizeable sum of money. We would like to examine how realistic it is to have a more detailed budgeting for these amounts of money rather than a lump sum because lump sum appropriation would always give so much leeway to the implementers.


Q: Technically po ba, tamang kasuhan si FG before the Ombudsman kahit hindi siya official ng government?

Drilon: Yes technically he can be charged before the Ombudsman because conspiracy is alleged. In other words, the First Gentleman, in conspiracy with public officials, caused the purchase of second hand helicopters passed on as brand new. He is within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. What we have agreed is really, there is a basis to charge FG on the basis of what we have gathered.

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