Press Release
October 19, 2016

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin M. Drilon

Q: Sir, comment ninyo sa sinabi na the President is issuing statements without consulting his cabinet?

Drilon: Well, maybe he feels he does not need to consult the Cabinet, and that is his prerogative, but maybe I would suggest that more consultations be done. Precisely you appoint your cabinet as your advisory group, because no one can know everything. That is why you have experts in the various fields of governance and your Cabinet is supposed to provide you advice.

Q: Was he able to respond clearly doon sa question na kung hihiwalay ba talaga tayo sa US?

Drilon: Apparently he is not yet prepared, because he is to submit his recommendation to the President and to the Cabinet come November. That is why he even asked for postponement of his meeting with his US counterparts.

Q: Sir, yung inter-operability raw ay magkakaproblema, so he admits na may problema talaga yung pag-shift?

Drilon: That is one of the areas of serious concern: the inter-operability and that is admitted by the secretary, except in the small arms, when he said that they can live with it, but he did qualify that only in that area where the issue of inter-operability need not be addressed.

Q: Yung sinabi ni Lorenzana that a decision would be made whether to terminate yung agreements sa November na, tama po ba iyon na sila-sila lang yung mag-uusap?

Drilon: There are provisions in the agreement that provide for a giving of notice, and again, this is a matter for the President to decide. Of course, since he is the principal architect of our foreign policy and the commander-in-chief of our armed forces, these are political decision that he will make. Legally, it does not require any concurrence on the part of the Senate. We can make a political issue out of it but from the legal standpoint, the notice of termination can be issued by the President.

Q: Yung tendency ng pangulo ng mag-issue ng statements without consulting his cabinet, is it harming our relationships with other countries? Drilon: Mas mabuti siguro na magkaroon ng consultation.

Q: On Atty. James Lao, was he not prepared or...?

Drilon: The problem is more than preparation, because he knew that he was going to face the Commission, and the President just came from a state visit in Brunei, he does not even know what happened there, he does now know what agreements where signed, he does not have a clear picture of what he will do in Brunei in terms of programs. I am disappointment at the responses of Atty. Lao.

Q: Ma-defer siya ng CA?

Drilon: His appointment has already been deferred.

Q: Will he be replaced?

Drilon: He should be bypassed. Whether or not the President will reappoint him during the recess is a decision on the part of the President.

Q: On the PHL-US relations, will it be (unclear; healthy) for us to rescind our relationship with the US?

Drilon: Will it be healthy for us? Personally and this is a personal opinion, I don't think so. I think it is to our national interest that we should maintain our relationship with our long-time ally. There is no question - and I support that proposition that we should have an independent foreign policy - but, to my mind, we can pursue that without terminating our relationship with our ally.

Q: And we can even pursue our relationship with like China or Russia, without sacrificing our (relationship with the US)?

Drilon: Yes, that's correct. We can pursue our relationship with China and Russia without sacrificing our relationship with our long-time ally.

Q: Sir, yung mga nag-testify against Senator De Lima ay mayroon daw pending requests for executive clemency?

Drilon: I don't know what is the basis of the application: is this in the regular course, or is it something out of the ordinary? I want to know the circumstances, because the Board of Pardon and Parole would process applications where it is done in regular course. If it is done out of the ordinary, I would raise the issue. But I do not know what the circumstances are.

Q: Sir, is that an indication na mayroong kapalit?

Drilon: For example - the reason I cannot comment immediately is because baka naman yung application ay noon pa or two years ago.

Q: Sir, iyon ang pinapalabas na matagal na.

Drilon: That can be checked.

Q: It's still pending?

Drilon: It's still pending. You cannot avoid ascribing motive in their testimony, but, to be fair, I want to see the entire picture.

Q: Dapat po ba ay na-disclosed nila?

Drilon: Firstly, there are certain rules before one can even be considered. Were these the sole consideration for the recommendation of pardon, or is this out of the ordinary. I want to see first.

Q: Sir, di ba justice secretary yung nag-recommend?

Drilon: No, it is based on the record of the national penitentiary and they submit recommendations to the Board of Pardon and Parole, which, in turn, will review this and make a recommendation to the President. Iyon ang proseso.

Q: Sir, si Atty. Lao ba yung unang na-bypassed?

Drilon: Good point, yes.

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