Transcript of Kapihan sa Senado with Sen. Noynoy Aquino and former Senate President Franklin Drilon

June 15, 2009

Press Release
June 11, 2009

Q: What is the party going to do with Kiko Pangilinan?

Drilon: We will continue to reach out to Senator Kiko. We value his membership in the party. Patuloy po namin siyang kakausapin tungkol sa pagka-bise presidente. Mayroon pong isang komite na binuo si Sen. Mar Roxas para talakayin kung sino ang magiging running mate ni Mar. That committee is headed by our secretary general, Cong. Jun Abaya of Cavite. So, we will continue to reach out to Senator Kiko and as they say in politics, never say never. So as we said, we hope that this matter is settled within the party machinery. We will respect the decisions of Senator Pangilinan. Political decisions are always personal and whatever he decides to do, we will respect that decision.

Q: Can the LP mount its own complete line up for 2010?

The reality is we will enter into coalitions but not with the administration. We will find difficulty filling up 12 senatorial slots and therefore, we will enter into coalitions with other parties in so far as the Senate slate is concerned. So long as our party platform will be the one that prevails, we will be open to coalitions.

Q: I think it is safe to say that this coalition will never include the Nacionalista Party.
Drilon: In so far as the Nacionalista Party is concerned, let me just say that there are no efforts to go into a coalition with them.

Q: Sir, aside from Kiko Pangilinan, sinu-sino pa po ang mga pinagpipilian maging vice?

Drilon: I am not aware kung sino ang pinagpipilian. But as I said, the committee is working on it. There are a number of names being considered. For example, Grace Padaca is being mentioned but at this point we have not really discussed it thoroughly within the party. It’s just a preparatory committee that’s looking into it. The reason why this matter of the vice presidency was not given much attention was that until the last survey, Sen. Mar Roxas was not fairing very well. That’s admitted. So, it was very premature to discuss the vice presidential tandem when in fact your first problem is how to make the candidacy of our standard bearer viable. But now that there is practically a tie for the first place for the choice of presidency at least according to the surveys, then it is time that we start seriously look into the matter. We’ll have the announcement at the appropriate time and I estimate that will be done in November of this year.
Q: Final na ba na it’s Mar Roxas ang presidential candidate ng LP? Paano kung ang kanyang ratings sa mga survey…

Drilon: It’s final that Mar Roxas is the presidential candidate of the LP.

Q: Do you consider Senator Lacson considering na nag-withdraw siya sa presidential race?

We have not discussed Senator Lacson. Certainly, Senator Lacson has his following and his statement of support or possible support for Senator Roxas is most welcome.
Q: How about Senator Noynoy for VP?
Aquino: I have no plans for running for vice president.

Q: On Con-Ass again, what is the timeline or is it physically possible with or without the Senate to do it? Must it be done before the November filing of the certificate of candidacy? Can anything happen after the end of November on Con-Ass?

Drilon: It is possible because the November 30 is only a deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy. If they proceed to convene the Constituent Assembly sometime in July or before the State of the Nation Address and pass it in one day, presumably it will go to the Supreme Court. It’s difficult to say that the Supreme Court will not decide before November 30. So, nothing is impossible given the drive of Malacañang. Wala pong imposible ditto sa ating sitwasyon at sa palagay ko, meron pang panahon para palitan ang ating sistema ng pamamahala sa isang parliamentary system of government. They will do everything within their power to change this Constitution.

Q: Is there still time for plebiscite?

Drilon: Yes, there will be legal hurdles along the way but given the determination of President Arroyo to stay in power beyond 2010, I do not discount that they will make things possible.

Q: Is the Senate prone to question this thing before the Supreme Court? Do you see a disadvantage na nauna na naman si Oliver Lozano?

Aquino: Unlike with the impeachment complaint that has been endorsed by one of your colleagues in the House, in the Supreme Court we are not limited to just Lozano’s petition. Secondly, there is no justiciable controversy at this point in time. If they convene as a Constituent Assembly, then that would be the appropriate time to question it before the Supreme Court. But at the present time, we are cautioned that we might be laughed at if we file a petition that is premature.

Q: Sir, what is the worst case scenario that you are looking at if they push through with Con-Ass?

Kung ituloy talaga nila ang Con-Ass, sa aking tingin, ang taong-bayan ay lalabas sa lansangan at ipahayag ang kanilang matinding pagtutol dito sa Con-Ass. That is the scenario that I see. You will have people in the streets massing in expressing their opposition to this immoral and illegal move to amend our Constitution.

Q: Yesterday, the admin allies were belittling the turnout ng crowd kahapon.

Drilon: I warned the administration, do not underestimate people’s anger. The silent majority may be silent at this point but the fact that there were rallies in key cities all-over the Philippines yesterday should not be taken for granted. Ang pagkakamali po ng administrasyon kung ito ay balewalain nila, balewalain nila ang damdamin ng taong-bayan, diyan po sila magkakamali.

Q: But according to Avelino Cruz sa pagiging desperado ng Palasyo, gumamit sila ng Martial Law para lang mai-push yung Cha-Cha.
Yung Martial Law kasi napakaraming restrictions under the Constitution.

Q: But it is a fellow LP who called the troops to join the rally namely Senator Biazon. Aquino: I don’t think Senator Biazon called for the troops to participate but he was warning that in time, it this persists, then there is a possibility. They have also been sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution which is their duty otherwise.

Drilon: The Emergency Rule creates an environment and an atmosphere of fear. And that is what they will take advantage of because an Emergency Rule, technically, does not add additional powers to the president and that has been ruled by the Supreme Court. The Emergency Rule will create an atmosphere of fear among the populace like a Democles sword on our heads and the government will take advantage of that. As Senator Noynoy correctly said, marami pong restrictions and Martial Law sa ating Saligang Batas. Kaya kung mag-declare sila ng Martial Law, the most effective way of doing it assuming may suporta sila ng taong-bayan at ng militar ay ibasura na ang Saligang Batas at mag-declare ng Martial Law. That is assuming that they have the support of the people and the military. What they would do is declare Martial Law, throw out the Constitution and rule by decree. Because even if you declare Martial Law, under our present Constitution, Congress continues to operate, the Judiciary continues to operate, the Bill of Rights continues to operate. So, it’s almost an ineffective Martial Law given all these restrictions. The Supreme Court can inquire into the basis of declaring Martial Law. All these restrictions were placed because of our experience during the Martial Law years. So our Constitutional Commission deemed it necessary to place all these restrictions. If the President declares Martial Law under this Constitution with the support of the military and the people, she can just tear out the Constitution. Ibasura na lang ang Saligang Batas dahil hindi magiging epektibo ang Martial Law sa ilalim ng ating kasalukuyang Saligang Batas.

Q: Sir, if the elections in 2009 pushes thru, it will be an election for a Parliamentary form of government.
Drilon: Matagal ko na po nahalata na sinasabi ng administrasyon na may election sa 2010. Ngunit kailanman hindi nila sinasabi na ang halalan ay Presidential system of government. They always said that there will be an election. And this is part of their deception. Because a Parliamentary election is an election. But a Parliamentary election would allow President Arroyo to run as a member of the Parliament and become a Prime Miinister. In fact, no less than his most partisan former Secretary of Justice said so that he thinks, I quote him, ” I think President Arroyo will run again.”

 Q: Matagal napo naming sinasabi ito. Si Secretary Gonzales na mismo ang nagsasabi na pwedeng tumakbo ang Pangulong Arroyo bilang member ng parliament. Kaya may halalan sa 2010. Pero hindi sinasabi ang magiging halalan, king masusunod ang Malacanang, ay halalan para sa parliyamentaryo. Magiging Prime Minister ang Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo pagdating ng Hulyo2010.

Drilon: Six months ago I said, Malacañang will amend the Constitution. I was like a lone voice in the wilderness. Now six months after, it’s here. I believe that we have all the time. And talking about Raul Gonzales, you know he was the most partisan secretary of justice. Yet, mukhang hindi niya alam kung ano ang nangyari sa kanya. Hindi siya napagsabihan. Hindi siya nakausap. If I were Raul Gonzales, I’ll quit given the shabby treatment to him by Malacañang, given his loyalty to the President and given the fact that he was the attack dog. He was the first secretary of justice who I knew to be the attack dog of Malacañang. Wala po akong nakitang secretary of justice who acted as an attack dog of Malacañang except Secretary Gonzales and yet he was treated in a manner as if he was dirt. If I were him, I’ll quit. He doesn’t deserve this kind of a treatment.

Q: We know that one side of the argument is that the constitution does specifically used the word voting separately, but when you read the debates of 1986 Con-Con, is there any clue about why they want to use it?
Drilon: There is no clue. But it’s very clear that the intention was, given in the debate, the original wording was premise on a unicameral legislature. And on the record, the sponsors were saying, if the bicameral nature prevails, then this will be amended to reflect separate voting. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the change was not effected. But the debates do indicate that when this provision was crafted, the assumption was, it was a unicameral system. And that it will be changed if there is a bicameral legislature that is finally decided. That’s very expressive in the debates.

Q: Are all of the debates in any way persuasive in the same court hearing?

Yes, the rule of statutory construction is that you always look at the intention of the framers of the law or the constitution to find the real meaning. That is an accepted principle.

Q: Senator Mar Roxas is now five or number four, is it based in that ranking the… to enter the 1st- three places?

Drilon: The survey is a statistically tie for the 1st place because it is plus or minus 3 percent. So while indeed in the order, Senator Mar Roxas is number 5 , but look at the difference , it’s just one point. Therefore it is within the margin of error. The posters indicated that it is almost a five-race for the 1st place. It is a statistical tie because the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent and theoretically, number five can be plus three or minus three.

Q: Former President Estrada is saying that he wants a unification with the opposition. Do other opposition leaders see any concrete move from Estrada to put this into reality? Or have the opposition leaders abandoned the plan?

 Sen. Noynoy Aquino: I don’t think it has been abandoned. Yesterday we have a lot of grounds for common cause and that has been demonstrated yesterday. It’s still perhaps not yet mature for the fields to be narrowed down and therefore make the unifying process much easier. As you know, there has been some movements and those have already renounce their ambitions next year. So that makes the job of unifying the remainder not much easier. Of course it’s not uncertainty but we are working towards that.