Press Release
December 8, 2011

Transcript of ambush interview with Sen. Franklin Drilon

On the hearing of Joint Resolution No. 13.

Q: Sir, bakit ang liit ng GAA nila (NAPOCOR) and then they're asking twice as much now?

Drilon: The original proposal was to reduce in 2010 for various reasons, very technical.

Q: Reduce by whom?

Drilon: By DBM then by Congress. When the 2011 budget was debated upon and was approved in 2010, there were reductions which made it necessary for a supplemental budget. But this supplemental budget would be sourced, almost 50%, from funds generated by NPC and half by a national subsidy of P3 billion.

Q: This year? Pero tapos na 'yung taon?

Drilon: Yes, but there are deficit spending that must be covered.

Q: What is the recommendation from the Finance Committee?

Drilon: We will concur with the recommendation of the House to a supplemental budget of P6.3 or something billion.

On the Executive-Judiciary row

Q: Sir, a ceasefire between the Executive and the judiciary is not needed anymore considering they are open for dialogue?

Drilon: The President has indicated that he is open for dialogue. The difficulty in the situation is that the Supreme Court insists that its decisions are in accordance with the law. So if I am the mediator, I do not know where I will start.

Remember, we are not talking here about political bodies where certain compromises can be achieved. You are talking here about decisions of the Supreme Court which President Noynoy has perceived to be very partial and influenced by the ties of the Chief Justice with former President Macapagal-Arroyo. As I have said, if I am the mediator, I would find it extremely difficult where to start because these are not differences where a middle ground can be crafted or proposed. It's a basic question of differences in interpretation, and unfortunately, the President does not believe that the interpretation of the Supreme Court of the Constitution is based purely on unbiased and impartial reading of the law. So, tell me where would you start if you are the mediator?

Q: So, malabo magtagumpay kung ganon man ang Supreme Court na tama ang mga kanilang decisions?

Drilon: Yes, because the Supreme Court will never admit that its decisions are biased. It will insist that its decisions are based on law. The President has very clearly articulated what are in the minds of many people, that this is an Arroyo Court, which will always be in favor of the former President . So, I do not know where to start if I am the mediator, that 's all I am saying.

On that premise, it is extremely difficult to look for a middle ground. This is not a case of two political bodies. This is a case of the Supreme Court which is tasked to rule on disputes, to arbitrate on cases with impartiality. Unfortunately, there were circumstances that the impartiality is put to doubt because of the circumstances that attends the composition of the Court, the appointment of the chief justice, etc.

Unfortunately, the perception and position of the President is that the Supreme Court has become a bias arbiter of disputes involving the Constitution. The Supreme Court in this case, will always insist that its decisions are in accordance with the reading of the Constitution. So, where do you begin as a mediator? I don't really see how you can mediate this dispute. I welcome the offer of the bishops but I do not really know if they can succeed. The dispute does not arise from a difference in policy where you can mediate. The differences arose from the perception that the Supreme Court is not up to its task of being an impartial arbiter of disputes. I cannot see how you can mediate this dispute between the Supreme Court and Malacanang.

Even if somebody mediates, assuming I am a bishop, where do I start because it is not a question of policy? It is a question of the Court saying " this is our decision in accordance with the law and the Constitution" and the President saying, "No, you're bais, in favor of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo." It's not a question of policy where you can find a middle ground.

Q: Sir, anong gagawin kung wala trust?

Drilon: Let us see how it unfolds. We have not seen a similar episode in the past which we can set as an example. This is the first time.

Q: Hindi ba pwede ma-impeach?

Drilon: I don't want to comment because we might sit as an impeachment Court.

Q: There are arguments that the Chief Justice is just one vote and he can't really influence the entire Supreme Court?

Drilon: That might be the theory but the decisions do not confirm that theoretical premise.

Q: Sir, ano ang option kung ma-impeach man si Corona?

Drilon: An impeachment is a Constitutional remedy.

Q: Aside from an impeachment, what will be the best option to solve the conflict?

Drilon: I do not know. You are asking me and I am expressing my views on how difficult it is to mediate.

The offer of the bishops is very welcome. But just from how I see the situation, if I were a bishop, how I will start?

Q: Is the administration gathering support for such a move?

Drilon: What "such a move"? You are assuming there's a move. There is no such decision to impeach that I know of.

Q: There is someone from the Palace consulting you on the matter?

Drilon: I am not from the Palace. I am not being consulted.

On the impeachment of Justice Castillo

Q: Sir, mayroon na ba sa history 'yung kay Justice Castillo na-impeach na over plagiarism?

Drilon: I cannot answer that. I do not know. The House, assuming that they had already impeached Castillo, will have to prove the plagiarism before the Impeachment Court .

On the death penalty of the drug mule in China

Q: Sir, may bibitayin ngayong Pinoy sa China so wala ba natin magagawa?

Drilon: We are saddened by this event. We wish we could do something but the reality is, each country has their own laws and while we are not in favor of the death penalty, unfortunately, China believes that death penalty is a correct way of enforcing their own laws. We have to recognize that and it is quite unfortunate. We will do everything but at the end of the day, China's decision would be the one to be followed because it is a sovereign country, they have their own laws, a crime was committed in their jurisdiction.

Q: But this is not the first time, may kulang ba sa government?

Drilon: Why do you always blame the government? There are 95 million of us and those who travel to other countries, violate their laws. Even in our jurisdiction, drug trafficking is a crime. It's just a question of a difference of penalties. If it had happened here, he would have been punished. The difference is the penalty. So, why are you blaming the government?

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