January 9, 2017
Excerpts of Media Interviews with SP Pimentel at the meeting between members of the Philippine Senate and visiting members of the France Southeast Asia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group Conference
Q: On possible shift in Senate leadership
SPKP: The Senate is a collegial body. I don't think that there will be 100% happiness with each member. Ok na yun. Even in a grade school class of 40, everybody doesn't get 100 with each report card. Ganoon na man iyon eh. It's a petty matter that is not of account. Basta ako I look at the non-petty and important things.
The leadership of the Senate must have the support of 13 senators at any given time. If there is a new senator who will have the support of at least 13 senators, then he should lead the Senate. Ok lang po yun.
Q: On rumors of 'pork barrel' returning in 2017 budget
SPKP: I've been reading the press releases made to the public by Senator Panfilo Lacson as reported by the media. I think we have disagreements as to the technical definition of what is 'pork barrel' which has been declared unconstitutional as a practice by the Supreme Court. The essence, the non-bending part of the Supreme Court is that the act, which is unconstitutional, is the involvement of legislators in implementing the budget, in making the budget complete after the budget law has been enacted.
In this particular case, the legislator helps in the budget process, but it can be implemented after the enactment of the budget law without the legislator's intervention, then that is no more and no longer the act declared unconstitutional. So we have perhaps a basic difference in our description or definition of what constitutes a 'return' to the pork barrel system.
Q: On reported complaints by senators mentioned by Senator JV Ejercito
SPKP: I have seen the interview and he said some, if not most of the grumblings are petty matters, so if these are petty let us not talk about them. If the word 'petty' is used we should not pursue it.
Q: Are you not concerned?
SPKP: Basta the important principle in the Senate is that whoever has the support of at least 13 senators should lead the Senate.
Q: Wala pa po bang nagexpress sa inyo na unhappy sila?
SPKP: Wala, as far as I know, nobody is unhappy.
Q: Sir sa latest Pulse Asia survey isa pa rin kayo sa mataas ang trust rating.
SPKP: Ako po ay nagpapasalamat, ako po ay natutuwa, even if wala po akong conscious efforts to promote myself, the Filipino people are still appreciative of what I have done in the Senate. We will just continue to do what I believe that we have to do. Wala nang artificially boosting your popularity. We just do the right things. I am confident that you do the right things in behalf of the people, they will appreciate it and this will be seen in the surveys.
Q: So as far as you are concerned, there is no pork barrel?
SPKP: Yes. The law can be implemented without waiting for inputs, communication, letters, prompts from lawmakers. It is a self-executing law. Hindi kino-control ng lawmakers. Yun yung masama doon, you pass a law and yet you somehow enjoy an indirect influence in the implementation of the law by preventing the implementation of some parts of the law without your consent. Bawal po yun kasi lawmakers kami. Once the law leaves our hands, it should be self-executing already.
Q: On the Leni-leaks.
SPKP: Actually it has not bothered me to the point that I have not even read the reports about Leni-leaks. Nababasa ko lang yung headlines.
Q: But tama lang na i-investigate ng Palasyo kung totoo?
SPKP: Siguro ganoon din ang attitude ng Executive and once in the Executive maybe we can agree with it na all reports, all rumors about destabilization or threats to the administration should be investigated and seriously treated pero that is their attitude so I will not blame them for that, I will not criticize them for that.
Q: On the Paris Agreement
SPKP: Ganito kasi yan. Before the President himself ratifies the treaty, he consults several departments affected by the treaty. I think they number 23 agencies and departments for their certificate of concurrence. The report I have received is that 22 already submitted agreeing to the Paris Agreement.
Only one is being awaited, so once that agency submits, it will now be up to the President himself to ratify and he will now submit it for concurrency to ratify. Ang pakiramdam namin sa Senado, we need 16 votes to concur, and I think we have the sixteen.
Q: There is information that the President went to China for cancer treatment. Should the President reveal his medical condition to the public?
SPKP: Not reveal because of this article, I have not even read the article, but I think the President has revealed in fact people make fun of him now because he even revealed the medication that he takes. He has been very honest about his physical condition, he is 71 years old, sabi niya, talk to your relative who is 71 years old, interview that relative, ano yung aches and pains nung taong yun, ganun din ang aches and pains niya.
Plus the fact that he has met a motorcycle accident which affected a nerve on his neck, so situation po yun ng ating Presidente. Let us not revive the issue of his health just because somebody writes about it.
Q: Totoo po ba yun?
SPKP: Hindi. Alam mo kung totoo yun, sinabi na ng Presidente yun. Si President, walang tinatago lalo na sa kanyang katawan at sa kanyang state of health, bakit niya ikahihiya yun? Let us believe the President when he says that he has the aches and pains of an ordinary 71 year old Filipino male, plus the fact that there is something wrong with a nerve on his neck because of the motorcycle accident.
On whether there will be a caucus on legislative matters.
SPKP: On Wednesday.
Q: When will the Senate ratify the Paris Agreement?
SPKP: The projected timetable is by middle of this year, it will be submitted to the Senate for concurrence. That is the information received by the delegation from the executive branch. Give us six months, we'll have that ratified.
Thursday, January 19
Wednesday, January 18