Press Release
October 9, 2018

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On SSS bill

Drilon:We have improved with this version the charter of the Social Security System. the first important change is that we professionalize the membership of the SSS by requiring that the members of the board should be a lawyer or involved in management or banking, insurance, so that their qualifications will be fit to the requirements of the SSS. Remember that the SSS is a fund and you manage the fund for the future of our retirees or employees, so this is very important that the commission should be composed of professional members. Number two, the chair of the commission is the Secretary of Finance, ex-officio because, again, this is a payroll tax and therefore, the Secretary of Finance should be the ex-officio chair. Again, it will put professionalism in the commission. Then to remove the commission from political influence, the commission members have a term and they have the right to approve whatever increase in benefits. Also, the premium payments are fixed in the law because, again, this is a payroll tax and it should not be left to their discretion. Basically, the version of the Senate was adopted.

Q: Meron din unemployment insurance?

Drilon:Yes, meron din and pati OFWs, both land and sea-based.

Q: On Cha-cha

Drilon:We have not seen it. But let's be realistic. The first step is we pass the resolution of both Houses to constitute ourselves into constituent assembly. That in itself will generate a debate because the first issue is: should we amend the Constitution? We are still awaiting the report of the committee whether or not the recommendation is to amend the Constitution and if it is through a constitutional assembly, before we consider the substance of the proposal. There is simply no time. Kaya pagdating dito wala na kaming panahon in order to look at it and that 's why I said "dead on arrival" simply because we have no more time. Even looking at the merits, of which I have very serious reservations personal. I don't find the proposal logical. The Vice President is precisely there...let's put it bluntly, the Vice President is a spare tire depending of how the President would consider the OVP. Certainly at the very least, the rule of succession applies and therefore, the Vice President should take over. That is the role of the Vice President. I cannot support the proposal. Apart from the fact that there is no more time, the proposal itself does not merit my personal support.

Q: What do you see sa sinasabi na for stability raw, kaya hindi yung vice president kundi yung Senate President ang papalit?

Drilon:Precisely, the stability is the well-defined succession to the Office of the President. The Senate President is subject to election and change anytime by the 23 senators. I have always emphasized this. The Senate President is a gift of the 23 senators. Precisely if they want to achieve stability, the stability is to follow the rule of succession; otherwise there will be instability, because the Senate President can be replaced anytime.

Q: Are you going to oppose it kapag may nag-file?

Drilon:I'm opposing it because I do not find it meritorious, but the first thing is, there is no more time.

Q: After that, back to zero yun?

Drilon:Yes, any move to amend the Constitution can be revived after the mid-term elections.

Q: Yung Cha-cha is no longer a priority?

Drilon:Whether or not it's a priority, there is no more time. Even if you say it's a priority, hundred other bills are priority.

Q: Futile din yung efforts sa House?

Drilon:Yes, it's futile insofar as I am concerned.

Q: How about yung walang term limit?

Drilon:Again, I am opposed to that, as I have opposed it from the very start. But again, there is simply no more time. There are a lot of oppositions to amend the Constitution in all our hearings conducted. Assuming we amend the Constitution, the almost unanimous view is that we must form a constitutional convention because let's face it, the comfort level of the public for Congress to act as a constituent assembly is very low.

Q: Is your view shared by some of the majority senators?

Drilon:Well, yes, it is shared because that is the position taken by the Senate in a caucus. We have agreed on that. That's how we will treat this, particularly insofar as the allowing the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes to finish its work. We follow the committee system and we have agreed on caucus that all issues should be referred to the committee, not to the Senate as a whole, because that is that system that we follow. We'll await the report of the committee.

Q: Any update on the LP slate?

Drilon:I have no update.

Q: Yung sa Cha-cha, hindi ba parang suntok sa buwan? Why are they not giving up?

Drilon:I don't know. You ask them why. I'm sure they realized there is simply no time. It doesn't take rocket science to realize that.

Q: Are they wasting their time, Sir?

Drilon:It's a futile exercise.

Q: After the elections, can it be revived?

Drilon:That's a new Congress. I cannot speak for the new Congress.

Q: Has the House leadership tried to reach out to you?


Q: Do you see any motive?

Drilon:I don't want to cast any motive.

Q: Kahit lumusot sa House, wala na?

Drilon:It is obvious that there is no time. I keep on repeating, there is no time. That alone will kill the measure

Q: It's dead in the water?

Drilon:It's dead on arrival.

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