Press Release
December 8, 2016

Transcript of Interview with Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On the alleged plot against the president

SFMD: The Liberal Party denies as totally unfounded the allegations that we are planning to oust the President. Wala pong katotohanan iyan. We respect the mandate of our people. But certainly we would state our positions on various positions na baka naman hindi sang-ayon doon sa position ng pangulo. Halimbawa po doon sa paglibing kay dating pangulong Marcos na hindi dapat ilibing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, ganundin po ang posisyon ng pangulo ng Senado. So these are views that we expressed as a party and they have nothing to do with any plan allegedly to oust the president. We deny that categorically.

Q: Even with that, you stay in the majority?

SFMD: In the Senate, we voted for Pimentel. As the PDP laban, there is no formal coalition in the Senate. In fact, in the Senate, what has evolved is we decide on an issue-to-issue basis. For example, yung issue on Marcos' burial, the LP and its allies took the position that Marcos should not be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and the President of the Senate joined us there. Sa ibang issues, hindi po kami magkasalama ng pangulo ng senado. Ganon po ang dynamics sa senado. Because of the weakness of our political system, there's no party stand taken and the senators decide on their own. But there are no formal alliances in the Senate.

Q: After hearing the inputs, sure na ba kung Con-con o Con-ass?

SFMD: That is just the initial hearing. Mayroon pong apat na issue kaming iniharap sa ating mga resource persons. Unang-una, kailangan bang baguhin ang ating Saligang Batas at ano ang dapat baguhin? Ano ang pamamaraan - Constitutional convention o Constitutional assembly. Kung con-ass, dapat ba ang pagboto ng kongreso ay hiwalay? These are some of the issues that we have raised. The discussions on the substance of the amendments were only brought up to emphasize the need to amend the constitution. More detailed discussion will be held once we decided to amend the constitution. We will have more hearings, in Manila sometime in January, and at least three hearings outside of Metro Manila - Baguio, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro. But the committee is open to conduct more hearings outside of Manila.

Q: Doon sa EO, hihintayin ba ng Senate yung review ng constitutional consultative...

SFMD: Sa pagkakaintindi ko, ang gagawin doon ay pag-aaralan ang mga provisions sa Saligang Batas na kailangan baguhin...We do not have to wait and I don't think Malacanang expects us to wait for it which will be on the substances of the amendments. The position of Malacanang is that there is a need to amend the Constitution, and that is the first step to pass a resolution of both houses either calling for a con-con, or a con-ass.

Q: Generally, ang opinion ng resource persons is kung con-ass, dapat voting separately?

SFMD: Yes. If it is a constituent assembly as a mode, the Congress should vote separately. That's the consensus. And the President during the last National Security Council meeting also agreed with the proposition that the Congress should vote separately.

Q: On the death penalty

SFMD: I have not seen the House version.

Q: Iba-block din ba ng LP yun?

SFMD: The LPs' in the Senate will not vote in favor of the re-imposition of death penalty. We are against the re-imposition of death penalty.

Q: Bukod sa LP, may iba pa bang sumasama sa inyo?

SFMD: Meron pa but I'm not at the liberty to tell.

Q: On why LP is against the re-imposition of death penalty?

SFMD: Our less than ideal justice system can result in someone being executed when he was in fact innocent. The judicial process is something that is argued against the re-imposition of death penalty. Kapag nagkamali ka, hindi mo na pwedeng bawiin. Pangalawa, we are not convinced the re-imposition of death penalty is a deterrence to crime, especially that a punishment is effective is if the punishment can be said that dahilan sa may ginawa kang kasalanan ay kailangan kang parusahan. Subalit sa ating nakikita ngayon, taon ang lumalagpas bago makasuhan o mahatulan ang isang nasampahan ng kaso. By that time the people have already forgotten that the crime was committed and therefore, the desire deterrence when you impose a penalty becomes no longer effective. That goes back to our position that there must be reforms in our justice system before we even consider the re-imposition of death penalty because of the possibility of errors being committed, and you cannot correct the error once it is committed.

Q: Yung tanong na may need bang baguhin ang Constitution, nasagot ba iyon kanina or may opposition?

SFMD: I think the consensus is there is a need, after 30 years, to review the Constitution. Some quarters are saying we should review its provisions; others are saying we should review the form of government; and others are on the economic provision.

Q: On President Duterte's statement on the NBI findings

SFMD: As a former prosecutor, he knows that when a case is before a prosecutor, the prosecutor exercises quasi-judicial powers. Therefore, the prosecutor will decide the case without anyone controlling him. If a party is not satisfied with the prosecutor's decision, he should appeal with the Secretary of Justice. We therefore appeal to the President being a former prosecutor to allow the process to proceed. Ibig sabihin, hayaan mo na ang fiscal na suriin ang ebidensiya na ihaharap ng NBI. If the prosecutor, if the fiscal, decides, that decision is always appealable to the Justice Secretary. Therefor, we appeal to the president to allow the process to proceed. If after the trial in court, the police officers are found guilty, and the President is not satisfied with that finding, he can always pardon the accused. That is the process. But at this stage, I would appeal to the president to let the process proceed. And we do recall that his secretary of justice expressed the view that the killing of Mayor Espinosa is premeditated. Hindi ko ngayon alam ang gagawin ni Sec. Aguirre dahilan po na sinabi niya na premeditated ang pagpatay kay Mayor Espinosa. I would want to seek a clarification kung ano ba ang ibig sabihin ng pangulo.

Q: Sir, sinabi naman ng pangulo na hindi siya mag-intervene sa process, pero itong statements na seemingly absolving the police is considered an intervention na rin?

SFMD: I would limit my statement to let the process take its course. That is the best way to determine is guilty of the crime charged. Kaya may proseso tayo para malaman kung dapat parusahan o hindi. Dahilan sa ganitong proseso, lalabas ang katotohanan.

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