Press Release
August 25, 2009

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

Committee of the Whole Hearing

Q: Sir, what do you make of doon sa lumabas kanina na sa hearing na 'yung isang employee raw ni Senator Villar 'yung gumawa ng amendment sa C-5?

SP: I cannot make any comments on the facts because whatever you may say, if we say anything, they might say that we have already concluded anything. So, it's best that we leave the matter at that and then let the facts be gathered. Then, we will submit the committee report.

Q: Pero sir, kung 'yung consultant na nakikipag-usap sa Senate official ng LBRMO, may proprietor and proprietee ba doon?

SP: Hindi ko na sasagutin 'yon.

Q: Pero sa ganoon po ba sir, sino po ba dapat ang gumagawa ng amendments? The senator himself?

SP: Sa akin, ang gumagawa ako mismo kung meron akong gustong project na tutulungan or I will make the listing myself.

Q: Hindi niyo po pinapaubaya sa executive assistant?

SP: No. Ako, ako.

Q: Sir, so 'yun po ang normal thing to do for a senator - that they themselves should be the one?

SP: Because you have to know who are the people who are going to receive the project and to handle it.

Q: Sir, may mali po ba doon?

SP: 'Wag na ninyo ako tanungin diyan because we are hearing the case.

Q: Sir, naging forthcoming po ba yung comment ni Engr. Tayao ?

SP: Hindi naman. The connection is very difficult to handle unless you have a photographic memory.

Q: Sir, may caucus ba mamaya?

SP: May caucus kami mamaya yata because we have to discuss that and we have to take a position.

Q: Sir, are you ready to go back to the Supreme Court?

SP: If necessary, then we will have to study whether we will have to bring it back to the Supreme Court for a final definition of the extent of the powers of the Senate to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation where we would need the assistance of members of the Executive. Because you see, under the Constitution, members of the Executive especially Cabinet members, they may appear on their own before us. That's one situation. Or we may call them to help us in dealing with certain issues that would come before the Congress in order that we can proceed and work on certain legislative measures that would be needed.

Q: Pero mali po ba yung interpretation ng Palasyo?

SP: Hindi ko masasabi 'yon whether mali or not, but I'm just quoting to you the Constitution. Now, of course, we respect the prerogative of the other departments of government like the Executive and Judiciary in their respective areas of concern. You see, we are a tripartite government system. You have the Executive, the Legislative enacts the law. It is implemented by the Executive and interpreted by the Courts. So, essentially, you start with the lawmaker because the lawmaker issues the rules to be followed in governance. Ngayon, the Constitution recognizes this and it says that the members of the Cabinet may appear at their own volition before the Congress or they may be called upon to appear before Congress. Now, to what extent can they withhold their appearance when they are asked by Congress or either the Senate or the House of Congress so that they could enlighten these bodies in the performance of their function as lawmakers.

Q: Comment lang sir sa sinabi ng Palace na Erap is dividing the opposition?

SP: Any candidate for a public office like the presidency would of course divide the votes. Always. Any withdrawal from the race will consolidate votes for some people.

Q: Kaya sir nag-iikot si former President Erap, kinakausap niya 'yung mga presidentiables, encouraging them para mag VP na lang sa kanya.

SP: Hindi naman. Well, natural lang 'yon kung papayag sila na to take the second position which I doubt. Okay lang. That's a part of the political practice of the country.

Q: Sir, ang Senate ba mag-rereopen ng inquiry sa ZTE? Si JDV may letter kay Senator Gordon.

SP: I have not heard about it. This is the first time I heard about that.

Q: Pero pwede pa 'yun i-reopen sir? 'Yung investigation ng ZTE?

SP: Matagal na siyang nagsasabi na gusto niya umattend dito. Hindi naman siya umaattend. Pumunta na lang dito at magdiskurso.

Q: Sir, so a letter won't suffice?

SP: We are not a part of the House so we make our own judgment here.

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