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    Interview with News to Go – Part 1

    2 February 2017

    Question: Nag-meeting po recently ang LEDAC and I suppose nandoon ang Pangulo. This is the first time na nagkita kayo after your resignation. Kumusta po? VP Leni: Very cordial. Walang tension. Ano naman iyon trabaho. Ang kabutihan naman pagdating sa trabaho walang sinasamang personal na animosity kung mayroon man. The entire time very cordial kami ng Pangulo. Wala kaming personal na pinagdiskusyunan. If at all maraming mga bagay na iba ang pananaw namin pero hindi ibig sabihin na walag chance na hindi kami magtrabaho together. Iyong mga bagay na pareho kami ng pananaw puwede kaming magkaisa. Kahit noong bahagi ako ng Gabinete I have been very vocal about the things I feel strongly about halimbawa iyong death penalty, extrajudicial killings kahit na noong bahagi ako ng Cabinet very vocal ako doon.

    Question: Doon po tayo sa mga areas na hindi nagkakasundo? VP LENI: Iyong pagkakasundo, unang una, ang pinaka obvious, iyong issue ng Marcos Burial, iyong reimposition of Death Penalty, sang-ayon ang Pangulo doon, ako hindi. Iyong lowering of age of criminal liability, sang-ayon ang pangulo, ako hindi. Iyong extrajudicial killings, I’ve always been very vocal about it, iyong pagbibigay ng pulis ng parang blanket authority na patungkol sa drug war. From the very start, hindi ako kumportable doon, at from the very start, nakikita iyong anxieties natin noong umpisa, parang totoo.

    Q: Ito po, kamakailan lamang nagkaroon ng hearing sa Senado. Naging isyu na itong tokhang for ransom kung saan naapektuhan na mga dayuhan, mga koreano. Ano po iyong reaksyon ninyo noong nabalitaan niyo ito, iyong after the hearing? VP LENI: If I remember right, siguro a week, a week before nagkaroon ng Senate hearing, I already made a statement about this tokhang for ransom. Sinabi ko na noon na marami nang reports na nakarating sa amin, na in fact, last month, I had a group of Filipino-Chinese businessmen who came over to the office to report that many of their members have been victims of the tokhang for ransom already. And when I spoke about it-

    Q: Ah, so hindi lang po Koreano? VP LENI: When I spoke about it, the Filipino-Chinese men in Binondo, nagiging biktima na talaga sila ng tokhang for ransom at noong nag-submit sila ng ebidensya sa pulis, including CCTV footage, hindi kami pinapansin. Kasi iyong gumagawa ay iyong pulis. And I talked about it in one of the media interviews, at medyo napuna pa ako na walang basis. And a few days after, pumutok na itong balitang ito. Pero iyong punto ko dito kasi, ito iyong danger if you give blanket authority to an organization like the PNP na alam natin na kailangan pang ayusin at marami pang puwedeng gawin para linisin iyong organisasyon. Pag binigyan natin sila ng blanket authority, sasabihin natin wala kayong magiging problema, sasabihin natin na sagot ko kayo, parang it encourages them eh.

    Q: So parang you saw this coming? VP LENI: Yes, yes. And I think so many people did. We have seen so many newspaper articles, commentaries on TV and radio na nag-express na talaga ng anxiety over such a policy. Ako, I am all with the President in his war against drugs but hindi ako okay with tokhang, hindi ako okay with extrajudicial killings, I think there has to be some other way of doing this. We have seen countries who tried the same route and have not been successful. Parati kong sinasabi dati na bakit hindi natin pag-aralan iyong mga bansa na naging successful in their war on drugs and derive lessons from their experiences?

    Q: Inanunsyo ng Pangulo na magiging, pag-iisipan niya na kumbaga imbis ng PNP magiging Philippine Constabulary, kumbaga iyong PC na alam naman natin na ginamit dati noong panahon ni Marcos? What are your views on this? VP LENI: Ako kasi, iyong sa akin kasi, kailangan balikan in the first place bakit inalis.

    Question: VP Leni: Kailangan balikan natin kung bakit inalis iyong Philippine Constabulary alam natin that in the past naging very abusive ang karamihan sa kanila kaya ito ang dahilan kung bakit na-dissolve at naging Philippine National Police na. Siguro huwag tayong maging padalos-dalos sa pagdedesisyon kung sino ba iyong mag-iimplement na nito na inalis na sa PNP ang obligasyon na mag-implement. Iyong una kung itutuloy ang programa, sino ang mag-iimplement? It is one thing to say na ililipat lang ang tanong natin ang paglilipatan ba ng assignment baka instead na sinosolve niya, lalo lang lalaki. Number two, ito ba talaga ang gusto nating gawin sa pagsugpo sa problema ng illegal drugs. Kasi it has been six months and hanggang ngayon may nahuhuli pang laboratory na malaki. So ibig sabihin in the past six months with all the killings hindi naman deterrent siya kasi patuloy pa rin ang drug trade kahit sa loob ng Bilibid sabi ng authorities dati madali lang itong isolve. Pero ang dami ng ginawa para halughugin hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin nangyayari. Hindi natin sinasabi na… ang purpose nito hindi natin parang sabihin na tapos na ang deadline pero baka dahil six months na at wala pang nangyayari baka kailangan nating i-rethink what are we doing wrong kasi kung six months na di pa din nasusugpo baka may ginagawa tayong mali. Hindi lang iyong ililipat from police to another institution pero pag-aralan kung ito ba talaga ang dapat gawin.

    Question: Iyong PC is a big factor sa Martial Law. Na-mention po ni pangulo ang possibility of martial law, your personal view on this? VP Leni: Tingin ko kailangan tayong maging vigilant. Kasi iyong lessons in history is enough warning sa atin na we cannot take the issue lightly kaya iyong ating Constitution iyong 1987 Constitution has been very explicit puwedeng magdeklara ng Martial Law but only in extreme circumstances and sinasabi ng Constitution natin kung ano ang extreme circumstances na iyon. Invasion, rebellion, lawlessness. Hindi siya isang bagay na kapag may hindi ka na-sosolve na sakit mag-dedeclare ka na ng Martial Law. Hindi iyon ang solusyon.

    Question: You will actively oppose it? VP Leni: Of course I will actively oppose it. I will be vigilant na bantayan na hindi ito mangyayari hanggang hindi ni-rerequire ng pagkakataon. Iyong pagsugpo… iyong problema brought about by the drug war, under the Constitution is not enough reason to declare Martial Law.

    Q: May destabilization plot daw po ang mga dilawan. Mayroon pa ba talagang dilawan? May destabilization plot ba? VP Leni: Ako, unang-una, noong lumabas ang mga iyon, iyong Liberal Party as a party has actually never met as a party. Nag-decide lang ang partido na mag-formalize na uli ng mga usapin towards the latter part of 2016. Nag-decide lang na mag-usap-usap na kung sino ang mamumuno nito ngayon. And napagdesisyonan nga na si Sen. Pangilinan would be the interim president. Pero hindi pa nagpapatawag ng general assembly kaya hindi pa makapag-formal na eleksyon. Parang malayo masyado ang destabilization ng partido kasi una, hindi pa naman nagmi-meet as a party. Pangalawa, kakaunti na lang ang tao na nandoon sa Liberal Party na parang hindi naman nga puwedeng pag-usapan ang destabilization in the sense na ang kakaunting natira are part of the super majority, not only in the House of Representatives but in the Senate. At that time na pinag-uusapan ang destabilization I was still part of the Cabinet. So I was part of the Presidential, parang Presidential Family. As a part of it, it was my obligation to be supportive of the President.

    Q: Naapektuhan ba at least ang direksyon ng Liberal Party now that they’re part of the super majority. VP Leni: Naapektuhan in the sense na maraming miyembro ang nalagas. Malaking bagay iyon kasi we started with, sa House of Representatives na lang, we started with about 100 plus members, ngayon 32 nalang yata ang Liberal Party so napakalaking bagay iyon. Sa Senado mayroong lima, sa local government officials marami pa iyon. Pero sa akin, naapektuhan siya in the sense na sa size ng numbers, pero sa paniniwala, hindi naman.

    Q: Noong nag-resign po kayo sa Cabinet, sinabi po ninyo na you want to be the voice of the opposition. Ano po exactly ang ibig sabihin nito na you want to be the voice of the opposition? Does this mean na kayo ang magiging, pamumunuan ninyo ang Liberal Party? Lalo pa’t the Liberal Party is now part of the super majority. So may plan of action ba kayo? VP Leni: Ang pagsabi ko noon na I will be the voice of the opposition, I wasn’t referring to opposition parties. I was referring to groups with opposing views. Iyong opposition na views. Magiging boses ako noon, I will be very vocal about it, as I have been very vocal in the past. Pero siguro mas with more vigor, lalo na kasi walang masyadong balancing act na gagawin kasi wala na ako sa Cabinet. Ang sa akin naman, I want to be the voice hindi lang ng mga parties pero mga taong very passionately against, parang very passionately opposing some of the views of the President. Pero sa akin naman ang mahalaga ang maayos naman na ginagawa suportahan.

    Q: Ano sa tingin ninyo naman ang magandang ginagawa ng Pangulo? VP Leni: Ako tingin ko ang peace process, we’re on the right track. In the sense na we’re opening the doors to listen to not only the Muslims in Mindanao but many others. Iyon sa akin, ang pag-retain ng magandang macro-economic policies which was started by the previous administration, okay iyon. Ang mga social protection na mga programa na pinagpapatuloy, okay iyon. Open tayong pakinggan ang ibang mga proposals na ginagawa ngayon, halimbawa ang tax reform package, tingin natin it is worth looking into.

    Posted in Transcripts on Feb 02, 2017