Press Release
September 17, 2008

Transcript of interview with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

Q: Biktima ba sir o bida?

SJPE: I am not a protagonist. I am just a bystander.

Q: Sir, with regards to several insertions, Sen. Lacson have mentioned earlier, how can you trace it kung hindi mga illegal insertions?

SJPE: There are no illegal insertions. Every insertion is legal. In fact, you cannot spend any money in the budget unless you comply with the procurement law on public biddings needed. Even in that 200 million, how can you spend that money, even for the same project. Assuming, that those two items there on the same project, it will be discovered because there is no public bidding. And the amount of the project per item is 200 million. It will be discovered.

Q: What was he talking about the irregularities mentioned yesterday?

SJPE: I don't know. If there was any irregularity, that is why I want a public hearing.

Q: So far as you are concerned, this is a non-issue, sir?

SJPE: Yeah. Because how can you spend that 200 million, assuming that those 2 items there on the same project... Once you have bidded the 1st 200, you cannot bid another for the same project.

Q: So why there is need for a hearing?

SJPE: Well, I want to satisfy the public. I want to satisfy the desire of the opposition that they want a public hearing. I want to clarify the matter because the mind of the public has been poisoned. The impression is that there is something illegal sinister, malicious and covetous in all of these things. We have to clarify that.

Q: Sir, what they are saying is the mere intention...

SJPE: I would have known that there in intent to defraud the government. Assuming, it to be a double insertion, for the same project, which it is not, as far I am concerned. I have the requested amendments. How can you descend that from the act?

Q: You are saying sir, that, even if there was indeed a double entry, there must be no diversion?

SJPE: There will be no possibility of fraud.

Q: So, how will the process go, they will jump the second tranche, proposed 200 million?

SJPE: Well, it will probably not be spent at all.

Q: Where will it go?

SJPE: It will go to savings. They will not release the money. They will not re-fund it. In fact, they will not fund the second item. You see, all of these things that are written in the budget are mere authorizations to disburse money for that project, so allotted. If there is duplication, it will be silly for the executive officer or executive body to fund a project twice.

Q: So it stays in the national treasury?

SJPE: They will not fund it. They will not charge any money from the treasury.

Q: If it's just additional allocation, bakit hindi po i-release?

SJPE: Hindi na i-release dahil napondohan na yung proyekto. Meron ng 200. Kung 200 lang talaga ang kailangan, paano mo ma-ju-justify na pondohan mo ulit ng 200? That means, that the 200 will not be funded.

Q: What can you say sa tension erupted yesterday?

SJPE: Well, that is always the case. There are tensions always in the Senate. After that, we laugh it off.

Q: You just laugh it off after?

SJPE: It's nothing. We were kidding each yesterday after.

Q: So sir, there will be another showdown this afternoon?

SJPE: I don't know.

Q: You don't see this leading to a shake up in the Senate leadership?

SJPE: Who is going to replace Manny?

Q: (Inaudible question)

SJPE: Me? No! Nobody can force me to be anything in this world except myself. I am not interested.

Q: Considering Sen. Ping naging part ng Bicam panel...

SJPE: Unless, somebody will say "I will relinquish the job to you." If I like the job. What I like is the top job. I am just kidding. To be an emperor.

Q: Pero numbers game 'yan, makakakuha ba sila ng bilang, yung grupo nila?

SJPE: I don't know. They tried before. I was approached before, I said.

Q: Pero merong bang mga senator from the majority na possible nilang ma-convince to join?

SJPE: As far as I know, there is none.

Q: Considering yung number of alleged irregularities and insertions, does that mean na talagang na-overlook nila ang ganung kadami insertions?

SJPE: Ano yung 4 billion na sinasabi?

Q: Oo sir, di nila nakita?

SJPE: OO, nakita yun. Everybody was required to submit there amendments. That is the way we handle the budget. We do not go line by line or otherwise we will not be able to finish the budget.

Q: So, how come ngayon lang lumalabas?

SJPE: Ewan ko. Di suguro nila nabasa yung budget document. Ang laki, ang haba nun, ang kapal.

Q: So, sir, pwede, eventually, sila yung mapahiya sa bandang huli?

SJPE: Di ko alam. Kung mapapahiya sila o hindi. Antayin natin ang susunod na kabanata.

Q: Sen. Santiago said yesterday, it's possible na baka sa printing nagkaroon ng insertions?

SJPE: Walang insertions. We went to the budget. We accepted the amendments. And then we discussed these amendments in the bicameral conference committee.

Q: Kapag false accusations, pwedeng ma-ethics committee yung ganun?

SJPE: Saka na lang natin pag-usapan iyan pagakatapos ng hearing. Kaya natin pinadidinig, para malaman ng taong bayan kung totoo ba na merong mga nagpapanggap na magnakaw ng pondo ng gobyerno. Yung ang kanilang complaint. Yung mga insertion, ninanakaw.O di, imbestigahin natin. Tingnan natin kung may nagnanakaw.

Q: With respect to the hearing na yun, bubuksan lahat ng insertions...

SJPE: Ako, I'm ready to present my research on that way. I have researched on this.

Q: Sir, si Sen. Lacson ba may insertions din?

SJPE: Meron.

Q: Ilan po?

SJPE: Tanungin niyo sa kanya. To be fair to him, it was a proper insertion. DOST ang kanya.

Q: Sir, based dun sa privilege speech, may nakikita po kayo na ma-anomalya sa mga nabanggit ni Sen. Lacson?

SJPE: Bakit ka ba naghahanap ng anomalya? Pinag-uusapan natin dito, ano ba 'to totoo o hindi totoo. Ano ba? Ano ba ang gagawin natin?

Q: Sir, ang accusation nga kase ay may anomaly. May evidence ba prinisent? Double insertion, sir?

SJPE: Yan na nga ang sinasabi ko, pagpalagay na natin na may double insertion, although, I know that is an additional amount. Ngayon kung may double insertion, yung 1st 200, ibi-bid 'yun. Bakit ka magbi-bidding pa kung napondohan na yung project na yun. So hindi na popondohan ng gobyerno 'yun, yung 200.

Q: So, hindi pwede magkaroon ng collaboration among those...

SJPE: Imposible naman na mag-co-collude ng budget office lahat para magnakaw ng 200 million.

Q: Sir, anong committee yung mag-i-investigate?

SJPE: Ewan ko. Bahala na. Gusto ko Senado.

Q: Yung Committee of the Whole?

SJPE: Oo. Para masaya.

Q: When will it start?

SJPE: I don't know. Ire-refer nila mamaya.

Q: Pero sabi ni Sen. Pangilinan, na-refer na daw sa Finance Committee yung isang resolution na for Committee of the Whole?

SJPE: Wala pa. Yung motion ko? May motion ako kahapon. That is separate.

News Latest News Feed