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    Interview with Vice President Leni Robredo at the Senate Committee on Finance hearing for OVP’s 2019 Budget

    Senate Committee on Finance hearing for OVP’s 2019 Budget

    Senate of the Philippines

    REPORTER 1: Ang bilis po ng approval ng budget niyo. What can you say about that?

    VP LENI: Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa Committee on Finance. Actually po, malaking ginhawa sa amin, lalo na last year—binigyan po nila kami ng additional budget for our programs, kahit hindi namin hiningi. When we presented to them po our budget last year, tinatanong nila saan namin kinukuha iyong pera, sabi namin private sector support. Iyong mga senador po, talagang binigyan kami ng dagdag.

    Ngayong taon po, nawala siya sa DBM recommendation, pero nag-promise po si Senator Legarda na ibabalik iyon.

    REPORTER 1: Magkano iyon?

    VP LENI: 100 million [pesos] po iyong nawala sa amin.

    REPORTER 1: Ang total requested budget niyo is?

    VP LENI: Total requested budget…

    USEC. BOYET DY: Ang total requested budget natin, Ma’am, is 549 [million pesos].

    VP LENI: 549 [million pesos]. Ang nabigay po this year sa DBM is 400-plus [million pesos]. So iyong hinihingi—447 [million pesos] po iyong naibigay, so iyong hinihingi lang naman po namin, reinstatement noong 100 [million pesos] na nawala.

    REPORTER 2: Ma’am, iyong Makati Regional Trial Court has already released the arrest warrant for Senator Trillanes. What can you say about that?

    VP LENI: Hindi ko pa po nakikita. Hindi ko pa nakikita iyong sinasabing ini-issue na warrant of arrest, pero medyo nagugulat lang tayo doon—nagugulat tayo kasi ang alam natin, iyong kaso for rebellion has already been dismissed with the granting of the amnesty. So gusto nating makita iyong order ng Regional Trial Court, kasi titingnan natin iyong basis. Pero iyong pagkaalam natin, dapat sana wala nang basis for issuing a warrant kasi with the granting of the amnesty, na-dismiss na dapat iyong kaso. Pero hihintayin po natin. I am sure… I am sure si Senator Trillanes susunod naman sa proseso na nakasaad sa batas. Iyong krimen naman po for which he was charged for before is bailable. I would assume na ang gagawin niya kapag… ang gagawin niya this afternoon, magpo-post siya ng bail, para makapaghanda siya sa kaniyang depensa.

    OVP: Okay? Thank you, thank you!

    REPORTER 3: Ma’am, you see any crackdown po sa opposition because Senator Trillanes is the second opposition senator to be arrested, Ma’am?

    VP LENI: Iyong sa akin, sana hindi. Pero iyong nakita natin with Senator Trillanes, with Chief Justice Sereno, with Senator Leila, parang an attempt to silence dissent. Nakakalungkot ito, kasi pakiramdam natin napakahalaga ng dissent sa isang healthy na democracy, na dapat sana binibigyan ng lugar iyong mga dissenting voices para mas mabuti iyong pamumuno. Hindi naman gustong sabihin na kapag may kumokontra, may masamang gustong mangyari. Pero kung wala kasing kumokontra, ito iyong pinagmumulan ng awtoritaryanismo. Ito iyong pinagmumulan ng pang-aabuso. Dapat sana parating may lugar iyong dissenting voices para nandoon iyong parating—kami, kami na mga public officials, parati kaming on our toes.

    REPORTER 3: Live po tayo sa One News. Ano po ang balak ng oposisyon ngayon? Mapoprotektahan niyo po ba? Paano niyo po ba matutulungan si Senator Trillanes?

    VP LENI: Hindi pa kami nag-uusap-usap kasi nalaman namin iyong—nalaman ko—nalaman ko iyong issuance ng warrant of arrest, nandito na ako. Nandito ako sa Senado para i-defend iyong budget ng Office of the Vice President. Pero ako, I would assume na si Senator Trillanes naman, susundin iyong proseso. Siguro magfa-file siya… magpo-post siya ng bail para makapaghanda siya sa kaniyang depensa. Iyong sa amin lang, mas pagkagulat, dahil ang alam namin dismissed na iyong charges of rebellion mula noong ginrant iyong amnesty, so hindi natin alam kung ano iyong naging basehan noong issuance ng warrant of arrest. Mahirap na i-second guess kasi hindi naman natin nakita.

    OVP: Okay?

    REPORTER 3: Thank you po!

    VP LENI: Salamat!

    REPORTER 4: Dinagdagan po iyong budget para sa inyong program. Initiative niya po talaga iyon?

    VP LENI: Actually last year, even without us asking, talagang dinagdagan nila noong nalaman nila na iyong pera namin for programs, halos lahat galing sa private sector support. Dahil alam naman natin na iyong budget ng OVP, ‘di ba, one of the smallest in the bureaucracy. Talagang halos walang pera for programs. Pero maraming nagagawa under our Angat Buhay program. Naisipan ng Senado na dagdagan.

    Ngayon, nawala ulit iyon. We were requesting na ma-retain lang. Wala naman kaming nire-request na more; ni-request lang namin na ma-retain lang. Pero doon sa DBM recommendation, nakaltasan kami ng 100 million [pesos]. So iyong promise sa atin during the committee hearing, ibabalik lang iyon. So nagpapasalamat tayo.

    OVP: Okay? Thank you!

    REPORTER 4: Thank you!

    – 30 –

    Posted in Transcripts on Sep 24, 2018