Pangulong Aquino, hindi pwedeng ma-impeach dahil sa breakfast meeting kay Revilla — Drilon

admin   •   January 21, 2014   •   4663

FILE PHOTO: (L-R)  President Benigno Aquino III and Senator Ramon 'Bong' Revilla Jr.  (Malacanang Photo Bureau & UNTV News)

FILE PHOTO: (L-R) President Benigno Aquino III and Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. (Malacanang Photo Bureau & UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Ipinahayag ni Senate President Franklin Drilon na hindi maaring ma-impeach si Pangulong Benigno Aquino III ng dahil lamang sa pakikipag-usap nito kay Senator Bong Revilla Junior sa kasagsagan ng impeachment trial ni dating chief justice Renato Corona.

Ayon sa senador, ang pakikipagkita ni Aquino kay Revilla noong 2012 ay hindi isang impeachable offense.

“Of course not. It is not impeachable. It is all part of politics, those statements.”

Sinabi pa ng Vice Chairman ng Liberal Party (LP) na hindi malinaw para sa kanya ang mga detalye ng breakfast meeting nina Aquino at Revilla.

“I do not know the circumstances as far as the… is concerned. There is a claim by Sec. Mar Roxas that Sen. Revilla wanted to discuss the cityhood of Bacoor. On the other hand, Sen. Revilla said he went to the President because of the impeachment. So there are two versions.”

Sumang-ayon naman ang ilang senador dito.

Ayon kay Senador Tito Sotto, “Well, I don’t know if there is a legal impediment. I don’t think so. Yun talaga ang tawag dun eh. It’s a political exercise. Hindi ko sinasabing tama, hindi ko rin sinasabing mali. Ang sinasabi ko, there is no legal impediment.”

“There’s no reason for us not to talk about many things. There’s nothing irregular. It’s not a ground for impeachment,” saad naman ni Senador Ralph Recto.

Samantala, tumanggi namang magbigay ng komento hinggil sa isyu ang ilang senador.

Ayon kay Senator Lito Lapid, “Yung kay Bong at tsaka kay President labas nako dun. Ayoko nang sagutin yun dahil wala naman akong alam dun.”

“Bingi ako sa mga tanong na hindi related sa aking adbokasya,” paiwas na pahayag ni Senadora Loren Legarda.

Ayon naman ni Enrile, “I don’t think so. I do not know what they discussed. I will not deal with this, my dear.”

Sa kanyang privilege speech nitong Lunes, sinabi ni Revilla na kinausap ito noon ni Pangulong Aquino upang bumoto sa pag-impeach kay Corona na isa umanong paglabag sa kalayaan ng lehislatura.

Agad naman itong sinagot ng Malacañang at kinumpirma ang pag-usap, ngunit itinanggi na hiniling ng Pangulo na bumoto pabor sa conviction ng dating chief justice.

Nilinaw kanina ni Revilla na hindi nito hangad na ma-impeach si Pangulong Aquino.

Aniya, “Yung sakin lang ay yung pangamba, na kung nagawa niya yun kay Corona ay maaaring magawa nya rin to sa amin, na makialan siya sa Ombudsman, sa Sandiganbayan. Yun lang ang aking pangamba,” anang senador. (Bianca Dava / Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

Drilon on Duterte tirade: I was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asserted that he was defending the freedom of the press and not the Lopezes after President Rodrigo Duterte accused him of defending the owners of the closed down media network ABS-CBN.

“I was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes. The closure of the ABS-CBN sent a chilling effect,” Drilon said in a statement issued shortly after Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa on July 27.

In the first five minutes of his SONA, Duterte lambasted Drilon over his “arrogant” statements on oligarchs and accused the senator of defending the Lopezes as he slammed “those who take advantage of a preoccupied government” amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“One of them is Senator Frank Drilon. In an interview, he arrogantly mentioned, among others, that oligarchs need not be rich. Then he linked the anti-dynasty system with oligarchy and the topic was my daughter and son,” he said.

“This happened after the Committee on Franchise voted 70-11 to deny the grant of a franchise to ABS-CBN. Obviously, he was defending the Lopezes that they are not oligarchs,” he added.

In a forum last July 15, Drilon called on the president to push for the passage of a law prohibiting political dynasties in order to dismantle oligarchy in the country. He also said in the same forum that being rich does not equate to being an oligarch.

Drilon made the remark after Duterte said in a speech during his visit to Jolo on July 14 that he had dismantled oligarchy in the country without declaring martial law.

“As I said before, for democracy to thrive we need free press and to allow journalists to exercise complete freedom to do their mandate of reporting facts without fear,” Drilon said.

The lawmaker said he was also defending the 11,000 ABS-CBN employees who would lose jobs amid the pandemic.

“In the face of a pandemic, we need more access to information,” he said.

“I aired my support for the renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN because undeniably the network complements other stations in providing timely and accurate reportage even in the farthest locality unreachable to others, even to the government,” he added.

In a separate interview with UNTV on Tuesday, Drilon also said he owed nothing to the Lopezes.

“‘Yung mga Lopezes po, wala po akong utang na loob sa kanila. Kung ako po ay tumayo para sa ABS-CBN, yan po ay dahilan sa aking paningin na ang kalayaan ng pamamahayag o freedom of the press, malaking bagay po at importante sa ating demokrasya,” he reiterated.

He also denied Duterte’s allegation about his involvement when his former law firm drafted water concession agreements that allegedly contained provisions that are onerous and disadvantageous to the government.

“Hindi ko nga nakita kung ano ‘yung itsura nung agreement na ‘yun. Wala po akong kinalaman diyan… Wala po ako diyan. Hindi ko po alam. Hindi ko nakikita ‘yang kontratang ‘yan hanggang ngayon,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Drilon opposes Philhealth bid to delay implementation of Universal Health Care Law

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has opposed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (Philhealth) appeal to postpone the full implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law even amid the slump in collections this year due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Drilon said the UHC law is “critical” in the fight against COVID-19, and delaying its implementation is wrong.

“To halt the implementation of a law that would promote access to affordable care, strengthen our primary health care and make our people healthy to fight the virus is a step in the wrong direction,” he said.

“If COVID-19 taught us one thing, it is that we need to keep people healthy and we have to prepare for the next pandemic. UHC is the key,” he added.

While Drilon recognized the need to address Philihealth’s precarious position for it to be able to sustain its funding, he said it should not be at the expense of the people who are relying on the UHC for their health needs.

He added that the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the weaknesses and inequity in the current healthcare system, which the law seeks to address.

The Senate Minority Leader also expressed his concern that postponing the full implementation of the UHC could “discourage poor people from seeking hospital treatments or primary health care even if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.”

Drilon said the implementation of UHC is sourced from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, premium contribution of members, annual appropriation of DOH under the General Appropriations Act, and National Government subsidy to Philhealth.

Drilon said he has already called on the Department of Budget and Management to increase funding for the health sector in the National Expenditure Program for 2021.

“If we learned anything about the onset of the pandemic, it is that the health sector must get a big part of the budgetary pie,” he said.

The health of the people is the State’s responsibility,” he added.

Recto asks gov’t to ease transport restrictions, provide more options for workers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has urged the government to relax its restrictions on public transportation to serve commuters during the community quarantine.

“You want to restart the economy? Then let PUVs (public utility vehicles) restart their engines,” he said in a statement on Monday.

“There are three important T’s today: tests, trabaho, transportasyon. Screening for coronavirus is no longer a requisite for returning to work. But without a ride, there is no work. And no work, no pay,” he added.

Recto issued the statement a week after a general community quarantine (GCQ) took effect in Metro Manila which allowed more businesses to reopen and more employees to return to their work.

Public transportation operations were also allowed but only with limited routes and capacity to observe physical distancing and other health measures.

“Allowing workplaces to open without providing the people with the means to go there is like telling the President he can now cross the Pasig River from his residence to his office for as long he does not ride any boats,” he said.

“That, today, is the sink-or-swim situation for the nation’s breadwinners,” he added.

Recto appealed to the government to ease the “brutal” lack of transportation by allowing  husband-and-wife to ride a motorcycle in tandem.

“If they share the same bed at night, why can’t they ride a bike together during the day?” he asked.

He also believes that jeepney and UV drivers should be allowed to ply the roads again, subject to health conditions, and called on the government to partly subsidize the seats they are compelled to keep vacant since they are only allowed to operate under reduced capacity.

“And more buses, please, for they are the tickets out of temporary unemployment,” he said.

Recto also said that the establishment of safe bike lanes and mass distribution of bicycles to workers should also be accelerated.

“The Senate-approved bill reauthorizing the Bayanihan Act earmarks P17 billion for bike lanes, sidewalks, bicycles and other things which form the foundation of a national bicycle infrastructure. That amount includes test runs for a “service contracting scheme” for PUVs,” he said.

Other senators have also called on the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to open more bus routes to alleviate the travel woes of commuters.

The DOTr earlier said it has opened 15 rationalized bus routes in Metro Manila and nearby areas. This is half of the 31 routes that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board planned to open amid the quarantine from the previous 96 routes covering 4,600 buses.

The DOTr also appealed for public understanding as it plans to resume public transport gradually and in two phases to prevent the possible second wave of COVID-19 infections.

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