Press Release
September 11, 2019

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III

On what can be expected in tomorrow's Blue Ribbon hearing.

SP Sotto: I am told that there are a number of witnesses that will be presented tomorrow. In fact if I remember right, I signed seven subpoenas which include subpoenas deuces tecum. There were personalities that will be presented tomorrow. As we speak one of the persons that has been issued a subpoena is on his way here and we will keep him overnight until tomorrow.

Q: Ano ang personality profile nila?

SP Sotto: Puro may mga experiences and involvement sa Bureau of Corrections. Merong dating inmate, merong mga dating BuCor officials.

Q: Ano ang ineexpect natin na sasabihin nila?

SP Sotto: We expect them to be able to tell everything that has happened in the Bureau of Corrections before up to the present and how we will be able to stop it, and how we will be able to build a better penitentiary in the future so that these events will no longer happen. These incidents will no longer happen in the bureau.

Q: GCTA tapos (unclear)?

SP Sotto: Konektado pa rin doon. It will be the foundation of the hearings, because ang nakacenter ang GCTA, good conduct time allowance releases. Marami lang branches na problema. Katulad ng mga lagayan, pero lahat ito lumitaw dahil sa skandalo sa GCTA.

Q: So tomorrow (unclear) for GCTA?

SP Sotto: Well, I hope so, so that a committee report will be able to hurdle the plenary already. Pero in case there is a need for another hearing, the Blue Ribbon has moto propio powers to convene anytime.

Q: Ilan yung personality? Ilan yung magtetestify?

SP Sotto: Alam ko doon sa magtetestify, I think about four.

Q: Tapos lahat yun GCTA or kasama na yung hospital pass for sale?

SP Sotto: Labo-labo na. Magkakasama na lahat yung problema.

Q: May update na sa phone numbers?

SP Sotto: We already have a copy. Yung identification na lang yung problema, which brings me back to the issue of (unclear) SIM card, pre-paid SIM card, saan naka-register? Hindi kami mahihirapan na ma-trace. Pero DICT was able to give Senator Lacson a copy already. I was furnished a copy. We already submitted it to the committee of Senator Gordon.

Q: Kanino po yun?

SP Sotto: Ang trace nila, galing sa loob. It was a text from an inmate. As a matter of fact, hindi lang text, parang hindi accurate yung sinabi ni Mrs. Sanchez, isang tawag.

Q: Sa BuCor officials, meron na ring update?

SP Sotto: Wala pa as of now, perhaps tomorrow.

Q: Paano pag napatunayan na nagsinungaling si Sanchez?

SP Sotto: We leave it up to the committee. I would rather not say an opinion about it.

Q: Pero may commitment po ang DOCT na ibibigay yung text at tawag?

SP Sotto: Oo, very cooperative naman daw yung mga telcos. Kanina, Senator Honasan, binibigyan na kami ng brief ni Secretary Honasan kanina, sabi niya very cooperative naman daw yung mga telcos. Kaya lang medyo may kahirapan talaga dahil sa dami nung sa area, tapos yung iba unidentified yung mga prepaid cards...

Q: Walang issue yung data privacy kung may consent sila?

SP Sotto: Wala, the Blue Ribbon committee has the power to do that, to subpoena that.

Q: Ilang witnesses all in all yung isasalang?

SP Sotto: Bukas? You better ask Senator Gordon, pero sa klase ng mga subpoena na pinirmahan ko, I'd say about four or five.

Q: New witnesses yung apat?

SP Sotto: Alam ko new witness yung apat. May former inmate I think.

Q: (Unclear)

SP Sotto: Meron yata. Hindi ko masabi, baka dalawa.

On the SOGIE Bill

Q: May update po?

SP Sotto: Wala. I am told by ES Medialdea and Senator Bong Go that the President was misquoted. He is supporting an anti-discrimination bill pretty much like the ordinance in Davao which is encompassing. You should not discriminate upon the elderly, upon the PWD, upon gender, or whatever. It's not like the SOGIE na nakatuon sa mga gays.

Q: May chance ba yan?

SP Sotto: An anti-discrimination bill? Yes. Of course it is just like putting together all the other bills na nagbabawal nun. Mas may pag-asa yun. Mas maganda ang pag-asa noon kesa nakacenter sa LGBT. It becomes class legislation, automatically pagka nakacenter lang sa isa.

Q: Anti-discrimination bill is more superior than the SOGIE bill?

SP Sotto: Well yes, depende on how you look at it, because as I said, class legislation yung SOGIE. Ito, talagang the entire population should benefit from being not discriminated upon for whatever reason.

Q: So (unclear) discrimination, yung LGBT?

SP Sotto: Kasama na lahat but it will not be centered or focused. But then again, I am not saying that it is sure to pass. Yun yung sinasabi nila na baka iendorse ng Presidente, something like true anti-discrimination. If you will recall, and you know very well na matagal na kayo sa Senado, a certification of urgency by the President, does not mean that it will be passed. It's only to do away with the three day rule, from second to third reading. But the question is, will it pass on second reading? There were a number of bills that were certified as urgent by the President nung nakaraang Congress, maraming hindi nakapasa doon.

Q: Kung Kunyari nacertify as urgent, will it be within the 18th Congress? It will not be a priority of the Senate?

SP Sotto: No. Hindi rin.

Q: What will happen to your agenda, hindi ba siya kasama?

SP Sotto: Wala pa yung final LEDAC namin, pero in the last small LEDAC that we had, it was not included.

Q: Even the generic anti-discrimination?

SP Sotto: Yes.

Q: Pero doon sa comprehensive, okay sa inyo na ipasok doon yung provisions ng SOGIE?

SP Sotto: Malabo yun. Pag-aralan munang mabuti, tingnan natin kung ano yung anti-discrimination ng Davao ordinance. Tingnan muna natin yun.

Q: Hindi kayo aprubado na yung mga provisions na galing sa SOGIE equality bill ipapasok doon sa comprehensive?

SP Sotto: Mahirap yun. If you will be going to again transgress on religious freedom, academic freedom, women's rights, bakit ipapasok doon yun? Baka ma-smuggle pa yung same-sex marriage because based on the bill na naka-file dito sa Senate na SOGIE, you cannot discriminate on a person if he wants to get any kind of government license. Pati marriage license, so kung dalawa kayong lalaki, kukuha kayo ng marriage license, hindi kayo pwedeng hindi pagbigyan. Pag hindi kayo binigyan noong hinihingan ninyo, pwede siyang magfine ng P1 million, at saka makulong ng six months. Up to one million at saka six months imprisonment. Anong tawag doon?

Q: Yung witnesses, lahat noon, on GCTA o may on hospital pass?

SP Sotto: Palagay ko iba-iba.

On the traffic situation.

Q: Would the Senate leadership not interfere with the issue on emergency powers kasi nagsabi na ang Presidente na kung hindi masosolve ang traffic sa EDSA, let it rot? Because of the clash and hardline stance ni Senator Poe not to give emergency powers without a comprehensive traffic plan?

SP Sotto: In the Senate, the committee chair has power over his or her committee. Whatever comes out of the committee report, then we discuss it in plenary. At the moment, hindi kami well versed kung ano ang nangyayari sa hearing. We do not know what the committee report will be, or how it will look like, after Senator Poe is done with it. Ngayon I am told by Senator Bong Go that the President no longer wants the emergency powers, and then if you talk about EDSA, I sound like a broken record, there are many ways of solving it but they are not doing it. Trying to do something about it, tapos ang daming kumokontra. Ayaw subukan yung provincial busses. We are the only country in this part of the world that allow the provincial busses in the cities. Sa mga ibang bansa, hindi talaga. So isang problema yun, pero hindi natin pinapayagan, gusto natin, pasok, di ba? Tapos, sinabi na no parking, maraming are na tinatanggal nila yung parking, pero mas marami pa rin yung hindi nila matanggal. Kaya nga, ang daming solusyon na pwede, pero ang problema, hindi maideliver yung solusyon.

Q: Considering what the President said and the stand of the Senators, is it already dead? Yung emergency powers?

SP Sotto: I can't say that. Nothing is dead here. Anyone can bring it up on the floor anytime. Even through a privilege speech , not necessarily a committee report. Pwedeng ilabas ng kahit sino yan dito sa floor.

Q: Pero ano ang consensus?

SP Sotto: Pag nakalahad kung ano yung emergency powers, papasa yun.

Q: Kayo po, ano ang personal stand mo? Kasi you were saying na may alternative solutions.

SP Sotto: Depende kung anong klaseng emergency powers. Like kung emergency powers is to fortify the proposal that there should be no parking for the entire Metro Manila from 5AM to 10PM, ayan, susuportahan namin.

Q: So hindi klaro yung mga...?

SP Sotto: Hindi, hanggang ngayon sinasabi ko sample lang, yung Zobel Roxas, hindi nila malinis. Ang dami nating sinasabing kalsada, hindi nila magalaw. Manila, ang daming ginagawa sa Manila, solved nila yun. Best example.

Q: Sinasabi ni President he does not need it anymore.

SP Sotto: Well, if he does not need it, we will not push for it. Again, going back, I leave it to the committee. Then we discuss it in plenary.

Q: Clarify ko lang sa anti-discrimination, pwede ba pumasok doon yung separate CRs ng mga LGBT?

SP Sotto: Ewan ko. I cannot say yes, I cannot say no. Depende. Depende rin sa mga kasama namin.

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