Press Release
March 2, 2015

Transcript of ANC Interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: Both Houses of Congress have agreed to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before Congress ends sessions in June. Does that deadline give enough time for both the Senate and the House to resolve the differences in their versions of the BBL?

SPFMD: Yes I think so. There is enough time to reconcile the disagreeing provisions. In fact, at this pont, we still do not know to what extent will the disagreement between the two versions will be, as we have not yet have the opportunity to pass our respective versions of the BBL.

Q: But in the bicam, we will actually see those disagreeing provisions already.

SPFMD: That's correct. We will see them in the bicameral meetings.

Q: At this point since the Senate has already concluded its investigations in the Mamasapano incident, and the public is already waiting for the release of the committee report, does that somehow you think affect what the leaders of the Senate and the House will take as an approach in crafting the final version of the BBL?

SPFMD: I don't think so. The Mamasapano incident is dealt with separately. Of course, emotions have run high and this has affected our timetable. But the standards that we have used in the BBl will be basically the Constitution. The proposed BBL must strictly adhere and be consistent with the Constitution. Otherwise, we don't see how it will pass with unconstitutional provisions.

That is the standard we will use. It is different from the Mamasapano incident, which calls for a review of certain policies - who is at fault at what has transpired.

Q: During the course of several hearings at the Senate it seemed that one question in particularly was raised was that whether authorities - either the PNP or the AFP- trusted the MILF or still considered them as enemies of the state. Does that still somehow lend any complications as to how the MILF will be treated, in terms of creating a Bangsamoro entity for them?

SPFMD: Well inevitably, it is difficult to deny that that kind of mistrust will creep into the debate, but certainly I would like to think that we should go beyond that and do what is best for the region and the whole country in terms of this basic law.

Q: Having gone from the different annexes for the proposed BBL, in terms of granting resource-sharing, the decommissioning of weapons and the powers to be given to the Bangsamoro political entity, what do you think will cause the most tricky question in relation to the Constitution, to the constitutionality of the law?

SPFMD: Well for one to my view, the constitutional bodies should retain their authority over the activities that would pertain to these constitutional bodies. For example, the auditing of public funds must be done by COA. Second, civil service must be governed by the Civil Service Commission. The Philippine National Police must be national in scope - we must maintain that, unless we amend the supervision of the National Police Commission. All of these are in the Constitution and they must be adhered to.

Q: And if the MILF will insist in maintaining a regional police force comprised of MILF integrees, is that something that will ran counter to the constitutional nature of the PNP?

SPFMD: The constitutional nature of the PNP is that it must be national in scope, and that its command and control must be with the National Police Commission. As long as those are followed, the details can be a matter of discussion.

Q: I have to be honest, because I don't know if the proposed BBL has those provisions that the MILF will insist that the regional police force will come from MILF members.

SPFMD: The regional force must conform to the provision that it must be a part of the Philippine National Police and must follow the command structure. The regional police official structure now is that each region will have a regional director of the PNP. That same structure will be followed in the BBL.

Q: In terms of maintaining the constitutional authority of the bodies that have been established by the national government, will Sharia courts still be necessarily under the purview of the Supreme Court?

SPFMD: Yes, because that is on the constitution.

Q: Will they not insist otherwise, that Sharia courts be distinct?

SPFMD: That's precisely what I'm saying, we must maintain the sanctity of the Supreme Court. The Sharia courts under the present system are under the supervision of the Supreme Court and therefore this concept must be followed.

Q: In the worst case scenario, do you think that you don't get to reconcile the two versions of the House and the Senate versions of the bill, does that give you still time after June of 2015 to pass the BBL before the President ends his term?

SPFMD: I don't want to speculate at this point.

Q: You're still hoping for the best, while not expecting the worst?

SPFMD: I am hoping for the best. I have an open mind, but I'm curious: To those who have been very critical of the BBL, I have an open mind, but please show us some options to provide for the peace we are all looking for in Mindanao.

Q: Even if the Senate and the House come up with a reconciled version, some sectors might still feel that this is unconstitutional and infringe upon the rights of the individuals. The Supreme Court might come into play.

SPFMD: Well yes, that is a possibility that we have to face. The Supreme Court after all will be the final arbiter the laws that we pass are consistent with the Constitution. We just have to give it our best shot, and review everything in the manner we see best, and the matter of whether we were correct or not in passing the BBL due to a provision that is not consistent with the Constitution, that will be determined by the Supreme Court at the end of the day.

Q: Are you also expecting that if it were to be brought to the Supreme Court, you'll be there to defend the BBL in the High Tribunal?

SPFMD: Yes, we'll be there to defend it.

Q: On the resolution giving the President powers to address the energy shortages which you have authored, of course the resolution in itself is not binding, how will it help the President?

SPFMD: We just passed on third reading the joint resolution. It will be legally binding. It has the force and effect of the law.

Q: In effect, it will grant President the powers to issue orders to address the power shortage?

SPFMD: The proposed measure contains provisions which are crafted to address the imbalance in the supply.

Q: With this vote, does the President get to immediately take steps to address the shortage or is there an intervening period before he gets to do that?

SPFMD: No, the law is effective immediately upon publication.

Q: Are any of the President's decisions related to the use of the special power subject to review?

SPMFD: No. It is not. These are matters that will not be subject to review by Congress.

Q: There is no oversight to be done?


Q: Meaning to say, the President can do anything?

SPFMD: The measure is quite detailed in what is supposed to be done.

Q: And what he cannot do? He cannot overstep any of the powers?


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