May 16, 2006
Transcript of Interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon
On the LEDAC meeting
SPFMD: Contrary to the media spin that the Senate has softened up, I think what happened in the LEDAC meeting today is the opposite. In my view, the President has softened up on the people's initiative. The Palace must have realized that the Senate position is after all correctthat the people's initiative is patently illegal for lack of any enabling statute and the difficulty of complying with the constitutional requirement of 3% signatures per congressional district, 12 % nationwide and most importantly, that this is not an amendment but a revision which is not proper in a people's initiative. For these reasons, I could see the trend in the LEDAC meeting that the President is actually more in favor now of a Con-Ass rather than a people's initiative. It is quite obvious that if there is any softening up, it is on the part of the Palace that is now more inclined to favor the Con-Ass. This is also confirmed by the information I got two weeks ago from a close adviser of the President that the President has in fact been inclined to abandon the people's initiative train. Now, the question is those national and local officials who spent public funds for the people's initiative must now account for the funds that they have spent. Ano bang mangyayari dito sa nagamit na pondo para dito sa people's initiative. Ganoon ang sitwasyon.
Q: What made you say?
SPFMD: The fact is she encouraged the dialogue on the con-ass and there was no mention whatsoever of the people's initiative.
Q: Hindi kaya tactic lang iyon?
SPFMD: As I said, the people's initiative was never mentioned, not even once during the LEDAC.
Q: Open na kayo sa con-ass?
SPFMD: The matter is with the committee of Senator Gordon. We do not want to bypass our committee system. I will support the decision of the committee insofar as this issue is concerned. Senator Gordon will lead his committee in a dialogue with Cong. Jaraula and the House counterparts. This is not unusual. In the workings of the legislature, it is not unusual that informal meetings are held between committees on any pending matters in Congress.
Q: Uunahin daw iyong soft amendments?
SPFMD: That was just a suggestion as to how to proceed.
Q: It is not an agreement?
SPFMD: There is no agreement whatsoever. All that was agreed was that a dialogue be opened like any legislative matter that we take up between both houses of Congress, a dialogue takes place usually among the chairs of the two committees to facilitate the work.
Q: Ibig sabihin inaabandon na rin ng Senate iyong campaign against cha-cha?
SPFMD: We will abandon it when there is a clear declaration that the people's initiative train is finally derailed.
Q: What you actually opposed was the people's initiative ?
SPFMD: The resolution of the Senate says that the people's initiative is patently illegal. Insofar as the con-ass is concerned, the Senate resolution said we must vote separately.
SPFMD: I will support whatever the recommendation of the Gordon committee.
Q: How early?
SPFMD: I would not know that. It's too early to say anything. I don't even know what will happen in this dialogue between Senator Gordon and Cong. Jaraula.
Q: Can you say that there will be cha-cha?
SPFMD: I think that conclusion is premature. All we that we have agreed upon is to open a dialogue.
Q: No agreement to prioritize economic revisions and other so called soft provisions?
SPFMD: It is just a suggestion as to how to proceed with the dialogue.
Q: You just agreed to talk?
SPFMD: Agreed to talk. Period. (end)