Press Release
August 13, 2015

Transcript of Ambush Interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon

Q: You wanted Secretary Abad to specify items in the special purpose funds?

SPFMD: Yes, to answer all of these unfounded allegations of a lump sum, I asked him to specify the areas where it is logical to specify. Number one, the main calamity fund. You cannot specify that because you would not know how many calamities would visit us. In so far as the Yolanda Rehabilitation is concerned, you can specify that. Dahil matagal na itong Yolanda, yung rehabilitation fund should be disaggregated and sasabihin kung saan napunta. Hindi lang yung sasabihin natin, school building, saan mapunta yung school building? Hindi natin pwedeng sabihing housing, saan mapupunta yung housing? Kaya nila yun, kasi may mga plano na.

Now, yung sa calamity fund, hindi talaga pwede. May lump sum sa death benefits, eh kung gusto nilang i-specify, sabihin na kung sino ang mamamatay para aming ma-disaggregate, kasi lump sum yun. Kung sasabihin nila na ito ay bawal, pwede naming i-disaggregate, pero sila ang magbigay ng pangalan kung sino ang entitled sa death benefits. You can't push this to its illogical conclusions, so let us be rational about this. You keep on saying lump sum, alin yung lump sum? As I said, you cannot disaggregate death benefits unless you are going to tell us who are going to die.

You cannot disaggregate calamity, unless you tell us how many are coming. Yung iba, dapat i-specify. Yung sinasabing entitlement ng local government units on certain laws, that can be specified and they have agreed to disaggregate it. For example, the share of a local government on a mining company insofar as excise taxes is concerned. You cannot immediately specify because hindi mo naman alam kung magkano ang ibabayad ng mining company in terms of the excise tax from which the LGU will share.

What will you do? Ok, I was suggesting to them, you make an approximation of what this LGU is entitled to, subject to the condition that these are just estimates and the final figure will come when the treasurer now certifies as to how much is the taxes paid. Mga ganoon na mga instances. It is easy to shout lump sum but if you look at the specifics, you will realize that you can only do so to a certain extent.

Q: Under SC ruling, hindi po completely pinagbabawal yung lump sum?

SPFMD: Ang pinagbabawal ng Korte Suprema is the post-budget participation of the legislators. Yun ang pinagbawal at wala sa budget. Yung lump sum pinag-uusapan natin. The Supreme Court never intended that all the lump sum should be disaggregated because they realized it is impractical to do so.

Q: Hahaba yung budget sir?

SPFMD: Hindi lang yun, hindi mo ma-predict kung sino ang mamamatay, di ba? So sa lump sum on the death benefits, merong nakalagay. Death benefits of barangay officials. They say this is a lump sum. Eh di sabihin natin kung sino ang mamamatay.

Q: Pareho lang ba yung lump sum appropriations sa 2016? Meron din sa 2015 budget?

SPFMD: Pareho lang. I am explaining to you what the lump sum is all about.

Q: So yung issue na finile sa Korte Suprema, confident kayo na mababasura lang yun?


Q: What did Justice Carpio want to discuss with the Senate yesterday?

SPFMD: He briefed us on the need to pay particular attention and to unite everybody in the position taken by the Executive Branch particularly on the arbitration because we have no capacity to contest China economically or militarily. Therefore, our remedy is to enforce the Code of Conduct in international law. That is why we have the arbitration.

It is the hope of Justice Carpio that once the decision is rendered, hopefully in our favour, we should avail of all avenues to enforce it, including particularly the United Nations. But, the principal purpose of the lecture is to brief the senators and to make sure that we are all united insofar as the course of action taken is concerned. What he in fact is saying is what the government need is hope. Because right now, the Chinese government has about seven reclamations over the South China Sea.

Q: No discussion about the SET?

SPFMD: No, in fact nobody asked. That was the request, that was upon the initiative of Justice Carpio, that we have this briefing.

Q: So challenge po ito sa next presidency?

SPFMD: Yes, this is a challenge for the next administration to pursue these claims that we have, because Justice Carpio does not expect a decision until about middle of next year.

Q: On the BBL sessions in the Senate, you said that it will take about 11 sessions to wrap up the debates.

SPFMD: I do not want to impose any deadlines, because these can be twisted. We will see to what extent are the debates.

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