Press Release
January 16, 2017

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III

Q: Ano pong tingin niyo dun sa sinasabi ni President Duterte about Martial Law?

SP Pimentel: I have read the declaration. He is legally correct that the power belongs to the President. But of course, we have a constitution. Everything that the President does conform to the requirements of the Constitution. Anyway, we are discussing a hypothetical situation. If the question is 'Can the President declare Martial Law on his own?', then the answer is yes.

Q: Sir, walk us through dun sa process. Saan papasok yung Senate?

SP: Its found in the Constitution. There will be a written report to be submitted to Congress within 48 hours. Congress will have to review. It will recommend the extension or shortening of the declaration. Andun naman lahat but this will be proper for law school discussion because it is all theory and it is found in the Constitution. Don't be too alarmed about a lawyer president discussing his power which is clear also under the Constitution. What is so alarming about that?

Q: Pero hindi na acceptable sa public yung Martial Law based dun sa survey

SP: That's a political decision naman. Sinabi lang naman niya na he has the power to declare it. Tama po yun.

Q: Sir, enough safeguard po ba yun na upon the review of Congress?

SP: Don't worry. The statement that the President has the power on his own to declare Martial Law is found in the Constitution and all other safeguards are also found in the Constitution. Susunod lang po tayo sa ating Constitution. Don't worry too much about that legally correct statement of the President.

Q: Sir, yun po bang drug problem enough basis ba yun?

SP: Saka na po 'yan. Saka na tayo pupunta sa basis. Wala pa naman declaration so okay lang yun.

Q: Last na po on death penalty, sa House daw ipapasa na on third reading. Dito ba sa Senate ano ba yung tinitignan niyong timeline?

SP: Sa ngayon, a couple of bills have been filed relating to the death penalty and the Justice committee has started hearing at least one of those bills. Its also moving here in the Senate but there is no timetable for the death penalty. I think that is realistic. The House target of June is realistic. That should be sufficient time for the Senate to have its own recommendation whether to approve or not to approve.

Q: Kasama ba yun sa priority ng Senate?

SP: We have 41 session days. I think that's good enough time for us to discuss the death penalty and also come up with a decision by June. I think that's a realistic timetable.

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