Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

Q: ON the tax reform, bakit may okay na flat rate na lang?

SFMD: For easier tax administration, because a system where there is a graduated rate depending on the income of the professional usually results in a very tedious examination of whether or not a deduction is allowed, because you try to reduce your taxable income. Wherein if it is just a flat rate, then your deduction is immaterial because your basis is your gross income. It is easier for purposes of tax administration. That is easier tax administration and better collection.

Q: Yung sa martial law, may sinabi ni Sec. Panelo na pwedeng mag-re-declare na lang sila if Congress does not give an extension.

SFMD: To me, the power to extend martial law rests in Congress. That is clear from the Constitution. The Constitution says that upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may extend the martial law. The power is with Congress to extend upon the initiative of the President. This is because when you look back at the history, the framers of the constitution did not want an indefinite period of martial. The framers limited it initially to 60 days. The President is given the prerogative whether or not a martial law is necessary subject to the review of the Supreme Court. Now, beyond 60 days, it is now the joint responsibility of the president and congress to determine whether the martial will be extended. It is the initiative of the president, but it is Congress that will now extend. Maliwanag po iyan sa ating Saligant Batas. If I may read it, "upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it."

I underscore that it is congress that may extend such proclamation. It is the president who initiates that there must be an extension and it behooves congress to approve it. My suggestion is that the president, before July 22, which is the last day of the president's proclamation, informs Congress that he intends to extend martial before the expiry on July 22, which is a Saturday. To avoid any question, the President should advise Congress that it is his intention to extend martial law. Now, on July 24 - remember that on July 24 Congress will be in joint session for the SONA. My suggestion that instead of adjourning after the SONA, we continue the joint session in order to work on the request of the president for an extension of martial law, for Congress to decide on it.

Q: Magka-come up na kayo ng decision to approve?

SFMD: After the SONA. In other words, we do not adjourn the joint session, ipagpatuloy natin para pakinggan ang mga argumento kung bakit ipagpapatuloy ang martial. That needs the decision of the president to request Congress to extend. That request, if I may suggest, be sent in before July 22.

Q: Ano ang mangyayari doon sa gap? SFMD: That's only Sunday. Theoretically wala na. that's only one day. For all practical purposes, we will be requesting that if martial law goes beyond July 22, that's an extension.

Q: Is there a necessity na before yung July 22, mabigyan kayo ng update?

SFMD: It's not an update. It should now be the joint session of Congress, because the Constitution requires the join session of Congress to approve. The wording is "in the same manner," meaning joint session.

Q: Ang option lang ni Pres. Duterte is to extend and not the issuance of a new proclamation?

SFMD: To me, to avoid any constitutional issues - this is a case of first impression, as it has never happened before. I think the President will lose nothing if before July 22 he sends a notice to Congress that he wants to extend martial law for whatever reason; and when we convene on July 24 - two days after that - my suggestion to both the leadership of Congress is that we do not adjourn after we hear the President's SONA but continue for Congress to approve the extension of the martial law.

Q: If the President seeks an extension, pwede bang i-limit ng Congress, for example, to Lanal del Sur?

SFMD: The Congress has that authority. The Constitution is clear: "upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it." It is within the authority of Congress, because it is the one that approves it. According to one of our constitutional experts this is now the joint responsibility of the President and Congress, according to Father Bernas.

Q: Ang sabi ni Sec. Panelo hindi lang naman isang lang pwedeng mag-proclaim ng martial law ang pangulo kaya kung hindi raw i-approve ng Congress, pwedeng mag-re-declare?

SFMD: That is a view that I believe is not supported by the reading of the constitution and by the circumstances under which such a proclamation or extension will bge decided. I repeat, the present proclamation will end 60 days on July 22, which is a Saturday, 23 is a Sunday, 24 is Monday when we will have our joint session. I said this is a noble issue and to avoid any constitutional issue, sabihin na ni President nab ago mag-July 22 ay kaniyang hinahagad na pahabain ang martial law, at tungkulin ng kongreso na i-approve or disapprove itong extension ng martial law.

Kailanga

That is a matter precisely the Congress will determine.

Q: If it's gonna be tackled after the SONA, can we expect a voting?

SFMD: I proposed that we continue the session after the SONA and maybe the following day, not on the same afternoon; in other words you maintain that situation where Congress is in a joint session. By practice we have a joint session only to hear the president's SONA - that's the wording of the resolution. What I'm saying is the joint session is to hear the president's SONA and to tackle the proposed extension of martial law.

Q: Do you need a reso for that?

SFMD: A resolution is usually passed for SONA.

Q: Habang hinihintay ng military yung extension, ano yung hindi nila dapat gawin?

SFMD: Sunday lang naman ang walang session. Those are theoretical questions.

Q: Pwede bang i-limit yung scope bukod sa period?

SFMD: To me, that is within the plenary authority of congress, because congress approves. It's a joint approval between the president and congress. The president initiates, congress approves.

Q: Pwedeng i-limit lang sa Marawi?

SFMD: Yes, to me it can be limited.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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