Press Release
September 29, 2008

Transcript of Interview with Sen. Pia S. Cayetano (excerpts)

Senate Plenary

Q: Ma'am willing po ba kayo imbestigahan ang sinomang senador?

A: Of course, trabaho ng Ethics Committee to receive any complaint that is filed in the committee. Just like any other committee, hangga't kaya naming imbestigahan at tignan ang issues na 'yon, I'm duty-bound as chairman to look into whatever complaint is filed

Q: Even if it's the Senate President?

A: There's no difference, there are procedures to be followed, so long as it goes through the process. Yun nga ang sensitivity of the work of the Ethics Committee, it's like looking into the propriety of the actions of your colleague. It's a difficult task, but that's what it is.

Q: But considering the gravity of the controversy, dragging the Senate President, do you think it's about time that the ethics committee investigate?

A: A complaint has to be filed, right now resolutions have been filed in other committees, the committees on Finance and Public Works, and then there's a separate privilege speech and resolution filed in the Blue Ribbon. There is none pending in the Ethics Committee. Definitely there will be issues that are similar in all these committees, and as a lawyer, maingat din ako na hindi naman kami magkakaroon ng conflicting findings. But we'll take it one step at a time. In the first place, wala pa namang naka-file sa committee ko.

Q: Can you initiate filing a resolution?

A: No. I will wait if there will be one filed. Because as it is, meron nang naka-pending sa iba't ibang committee. Like most senators, I have my hands full in my other committees. If there is one filed, we'll look into it. But until one is filed, I won't go out of my way to make up my own hearing.

Q: Ma'am but you would want him to appear personally before the...

A: I haven't even crossed that bridge yet. I take things one step at a time. I haven't even bothered to look into how we are going to conduct this. When it comes, I will tackle it. That assurance I can give everyone.

Q: If ever, would this be the first time?

A: Wala pa kaming nahe-hear. May mga pending, pero hindi pa nahe-hearing ang mga 'yon. So we haven't even thought of having a hearing in the ethics committee yet.

Q: Would this be a priority?

A: I can't say for sure if this issue is heavier than the other complaints filed and those previous complaints were in a way resolved outside the committee. So if it's possible (to resolve the issue) in the ongoing hearing, then we could consider that. I just attended the three-hour hearing of the committee on Finance and Public Works. And to my mind, it doesn't seem that there's overwhelming evidence of impropriety. But that is just my opinion as a sitting member. Iba siguro kapag chairman, so we take it one step at a time.

Q: So far there's no overwhelming evidence?

A: I did not see any. I sat there and I speak as a citizen who would be concerned as to the proper allocation of government funds. I speak as a concerned senator who also made insertions that were not even given the light of day. I am a resident of [Southern Manila] that would benefit immensely from that project [C5 extension]. I honestly have to say I did not see anything improper with that insertion. Walang pupuntahan 'yon kundi mabuti as far as the DPWH is concerned, and as far that you can assume how things will run.

Q: So does it follow also na medyo questionable 'yung conflict of interest, that (inaudible) of funds?

A: No, I made it clear. Before I made the statement, I'm sitting there as a member of the committee of Finance. If you recall in the hearing, parang may sinabi ang Chair na this hearing will not be about the conflict of interest ni Sen. Villar. So I'm saying, on the insertion itself, wala akong nakita. If may ibang evidence na ipapakita, which I suppose meron, I am duty bound to look at it. And as a lawyer, I will do my best. The records will bear me out that I do my best to be as unbiased as possible when I conduct my hearings.

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