Press Release
June 1, 2015

Transcript of Ambush Interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: Sir, yung Economic Chacha, you'll take it up after the Houses passes it?

SPFMD: Once the House passes it, then we will see it and we will refer it to first reading to the Committee on Constitutional Amendment and Revision of Codes, and the committee will start the process of recommending to the plenary the appropriate amendments or actions to be taken.

That is my agreement with Speaker Belmonte. And the first issue is to be resolved is whether or not we can act as a constituent assembly without physically meeting as one body. Because the process followed by the House is that they can meet separately as a constituency. I subscribed to the belief that we need not assemble as one body but we meet separately - we'll follow the process of legislation but the votes required will not be the same as that of the ordinary bills.

The differences will be threshed out in the different bicameral conference committee hearing and whatever the result will be subjected to a plebiscite. As I said, that's the first issue to be tackled in the committee, the matter of whether or not the process complies with the Constitution and I repeat, my view is that it does.

Whether or not that view is shared by the committee is something that I cannot predict at this point. If the majority of the senators will follow the same procedure, I cannot predict at this point.

The second issue is that the amendment itself, by adding the phrase, "unless, otherwise, provided by law." Again, I endorse that proposal, because it provides flexibility insofar as the policies set forth in the Constitution are concerned. You know that in the fast changing world that we live in, we must have some flexibility, and the Constitution at it is presently worded does not provide that kind of flexibility. So, I am in favor of the proposal.

Q: Yung BBL, ganun din po ba?

SPFMD: The questions on the BBL will be tackled in the debates on the BBL. In other words, as the Constitution stands now, the BBL must follow.

Q: Provided maaprove yung "otherwise provided by law," yung mga ilang unconstitutional provisions ng BBL posibleng bang macover, kasi "provided by law" na eh?

SPFMD: Technically well, if involving the economic provisions then yes. But I don't think that we will ever get into that since we will have to tackle and vote on the BBL before the constitutional amendments will be on the floor. So necessarily, we will have to vote on the BBL on the basis of the Constitution as presently worded.

Q: Nakaleave po si Senator Miriam, chair ng Committee on Constitutional Amendment and Revision of Codes.

SPFMD: Well again, that again, we will see what will happen. Maybe she will be well enough to preside over some committee hearings, which she has done before, or maybe she can designate one of the vice-chairmen. I do not know yet.

Q: On the call of ex-Chief Justice Puno to form Cha-cha for BBL

SPFMD: Pag-aralan natin.

Q: The amendments to the Constitution will just focus on the economic provisions, right?

SPFMD: Yes, it will just focus on the economic provisions of the Constitution and it does not contemplate any substantial amendment, but the procedure changing the policy of the Constitution through legislation, because you now added the phrase, "unless otherwise provided by law."

So it is not as if you have amended, for example, land ownership. It is not as if you have said that foreigners may now own lands. We will maintain the present provision and insert the phrase, "unless otherwise provided by law." So hindi naman na agad-agad amyendahin mo ang Saligang Batas, kungdi lalagyan lang ng paraan para ito ay pagdebatehan muna.

Q: So foreign ownership is part of that economic provision?

SPFMD: I haven't seen how it will finally come out of the House. Again, I would emphasize, the amendment will be in the manner in which you change the policy, rather than changing the policy outright.

Q: Yung 2nd deadline ng passing ng BBL, mostly by October na?

SPFMD: You know, the reality is that at this stage, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have it approved by June 11. Senator Marcos has not yet terminated the hearings, there will be one tomorrow, and one the day after tomorrow. I am very pessimistic whether or not a committee report can be filed by June 11.

The reality being that, we are looking now at October of 2015, because of the deadline for the certificates of candidacy. If the BBL is not passed, then one of the things we must look at is that in October, the old structure will remain. Certificates of candidacy will be filed based on the basis of the old structure.

Q: So by October kailangan approved na ang BBL?

SPFMD: Yes, we have to work on that.

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