Press Release
September 6, 2011

Transcript of Interview of Sen. Franklin Drilon

We will file a bill which will define the parameters of a hold-departure order or being included in the watch-list of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Right now there is no law which governs such authority of the government, so that there is need for legislation to be crafted, because of the issues raised by Mike Arroyo in the Supreme Court in relation to his inclusion in the watch-list order. The law will define who has the authority to issue a hold-departure order (HDO); to include your name in a watch-list order; what does it involve in terms of restriction on your right to travel. Under what circumstances would it be valid, and under what circumstances could it be lifted. This is a legislation which we will craft in close consultation with the DOJ and the other agencies of government.

As part of the police power of the State, certainly the State has the authority to monitor movements of individuals where national interests is involved, but beyond monitoring, when you talk about restrictions on the right to travel, this is a matter that must, in our view, be threshed out in the court system, not in the administrative system. As I said, we will define under what circumstances an HDO and an inclusion in the watch-list order can be issued.

Q: Yung hold order, isasama nyo rin yun?

Yes of course, that's what I was saying, yung HDO. There are two kinds of lists now covered by circulars of the DOJ. The hold-departure order, the inclusion in the watch-list order, and the circumstances one's name can be removed from either of this list. This is just a circular of the DOJ. I never exercised this power when I was Secretary of Justice. This was done by the previous DOJ secretary. I think it was started by Sec. Raul Gonzales. We will now define this by law.

Q: Ang HDO Korte lang ang nag-iissue?

Right now the reason why Mr. Arroyo went to the Supreme Court is that he alleges that the DOJ in effect issued the hold-departure order without any authority.

Q: Kinonsider nilang HDO yung pagpapalagay sa watch-list?

Yes, kinonsider na equivalent to an HDO.

We have also directed the DOJ to finally complete and implement a study on the regionalization of the Bureau of Corrections system, of the corrections, of the penal system and the transfer of the present National Bilibid Penitentiary from Muntinlupa to some other area. Again, this is an asset which can be better utilized. You have no less than 370 hectares in the National Bilibid Penitentiary in Muntinlupa which has a value of about P40 billion. This is an asset which is practically idle and so we have given the DOJ up to March 31 of 2012 to come up with the final plan to transfer the National Bilibid Penitentiary and have a better utility of this 370 hectares of national government property in Muntinlupa. According to the Secretary of Justice, this is valued conservatively at P40 billion.

Q: Saan po lilipat?

That is part of the plan that they will finalize because there are several options being studied but I have expressed my frustration that the study has been going on for years, up to now nobody has acted on it. We now have deadlines and by the end of the first quarter of next year, the study should be in place and we should be able to implement this by the end of next year.

Q: Kasama po ba sa option yung ibenta na lang?

That is an option.

Q: Ayala-Alabang?

No. Outside, that borders on Susana Heights and Ayala-Alabang. Again this is needed in order that we can utilize our assets for the national welfare. The BuCor plus the AFP golf courses, is easily P80 billion in idle assets which a little attention could be converted into a more useful asset for government.

Q: Paano yung cases conversion di ba asset din yun?

The bases conversion? I do not know what other assets are in their portfolio.

Q: Are you close to wrapping up the budget hearing?

We have schedules until the first week of October. I don't have the calendar with me but it should be on the Floor approximately... we will wrap up the hearings before we go on break and when we come back on the first week of November, we will be submitting the report and the same should be in Plenary, I would estimate, before November 15.

Q: Why wasn't the inaction of the DOJ over the Arroyos tackled?

I do not know. Senator Lacson did not bring up that issue. I do not know why.

Q: Were you surprised that Senator Lacson and Sec. De Lima were demure to each other?

They are professionals, they may have had their differences, but this is a budget hearing and I assume they just look at the work as part of their professional work. On the designation of Ramon Jimenez as DOT secretary during the 4 day holiday

Q: Hindi po pwedeng ad-interim?

I do not know. He is simply acting. I was just describing what I used to do to precisely allow this kind of setup. Si Albert del Rosario, ganun din yan. He was initially appointed as a presidential adviser on something, and then he was designated as acting.

Q: Sa kaso ni Jimenez, hindi naman po ganun?

Hindi ko alam kung ano ang circumstances sa kanya.

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