Press Release
January 26, 2010

Transcript of interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

Q: Sir, kasi kanina medyo nagulat dun sa statement ninyo sa program ni Ted. I heard you on radio this morning, sabi ninyo na nagmeeting nga kayo sa, ilang beses kayong nag-usap ni Senator Villar.

SP: He came to my office several times. The first time he came was when he called the Senate a kangaroo court.

Q: Yes, that was my interview and then that night pumunta siya?

SP: He asked for a lunch with me, and I cancelled the lunch. And without an announcement, he came to the office and I talked to him. And he was pleading with me to help him, but I told him, "Manny," I said, I am the chairman of the committee, I cannot take sides. I'll have to preside over the hearing of your case, and I would suggest that you assign some of your lawyers to participate so that they can object to the presentation of evidence, if there are any objectionable evidence presented against you. And at the same time, you assemble your own evidence and present it to us in the committee so that we can take into account your evidence, when we prepare the report. Well, somehow I noticed that there was an effort to really convince me to go soft on him.

Q: Paano po ba yung pagkakasabi niya sa inyo?

SP: Yung body language lang niya. So I told him, Manny, don't worry, I said, I have no interest in putting you down. You have been Senate President and I was a member of your Majority. In fact I was very open to you, I have told you about moves against you by the members of the Majority in your time, and in fact I supported you all the way. But in this case, I said, this is an ethics case that was not my own doing, it was presented to me as head of the Senate to hear. So, I can assure you that I will be fair with you and that I'll see to it that your rights are protected and that there will be no fabrication of evidence. There will be no fishing expedition. So he left. Ganun lang. In the meantime, pupunta-punta sa amin yung mga tauhan niya. Si Alan, most of all ang kinakausap niya, si Atty. Reyes, my Chief-of-Staff. The same thing, we told them that they should participate and that if they want to present witnesses, they can go ahead. That was one of the reasons why Adriano appeared, in fact. He was accompanied by a lawyer, Gabby Enriquez. Wala naman nangyari sapagkat yang si Adriano ay nagkalat, hindi niya alam kung anu-ano ang mga sinasabi. Then I think there was an insinuation that they wanted to write a draft of a Committee Report for my consideration. Sabi daw ni Atty. Reyes, okay lang, we will look at it. Wala naman silang pinadala. Instead, they passed that resolution and gathered signatures. Before that resolution, and this was the last time I met Senator Villar regarding this case, he invited me for lunch and I said yes, sure, go ahead. You suggest the place. And then finally it was at Inagiku. So in that particular instance, I did not want to meet him alone. So I brought Atty. Reyes. You know, I am very careful in these kinds of things.

Q: Sir, do you remember kung anong month ito?

SP: I am not sure, I think this was after they filed that case sa Supreme Court.

Q: The resolution?

SP: I think so.

Q: The resolution filed by the Senators was November 17.

SP: A few months before that. Just before that, maybe around August, I cannot remember the exact date. I will try to find it from my records kung anong araw yun. Anyway, una sya eh. Dumating kami, nandun na siya. So nung nandoon na ako, after the amenities, sabi niya eh, Manong, baka naman ako makakatulong, kung meron kayong pangangailangan?

Q: Yun ang opening niya, Sir, nagaalok ng tulong?

SP: Something to that effect. I ignored the statement, then he repeated it. And in the course of our lunch, he kept repeating this. So sabi ko Manny, all I can say is, I assure you as I said before, that I will be fair to you. I will give you all the chance to present your case, and I suggest that you participate actively in the hearing of the presentation of your case. If you do not want to do it personally, do it through your lawyers I said, because it was necessary that we must have evidence that would present your side of the issue. Ganun. I felt uneasy because he kept repeating that pangangailangan. So I decided to, in fact I'm issuing a press release today, you can get the full gist of it because this was done through the reflection of Atty. Reyes and I left. I excused myself, I told him that I had another appointment, and Atty. Reyes stayed behind. And ang sinabi sa akin, maybe you can ask Atty. Reyes kung ano ang pinagusapan nila, dahil I understand he continued to repeat the same suggestion.

Q: Sinabi po ba niya kung anong klaseng pangangailangan, like siguro tutulungan ka sa kampanya?

SP: Hindi.

Q: So parang general terms lang?

SP: General terms.

Q: So anong dating po sa inyo?

SP: Ang dating sa akin eh, tulungan mo naman ako. Wag mo nang seryosohin yang kaso na yan, at ako naman ay marunong kumilala ng utang na loob. Para bang ganun? O kaya, makakatulong din naman ako sa iyo. This was Saturday August 29, 2009. You can check with the records of Shangri-La, I'm sure they would remember. It was a private room doon sa Inagiku. August 29.

Q: Ang sabi niya, siya naman marunong kumilala?

SP: Basta't natandaan ko yung sinabi niya na, baka naman makatulong ako kung meron kayong pangangailangan, something to that effect. Para bang binibili yung loyalty ko. Parang yung dating sa akin eh, sinusuhulan ako eh. Ayaw ko ng ganun but I was not brash enough to tell him na ano ba ito, ano? So I just ignored what he said.

Q: Sir, and then sasabihin nila ito, because kanina narinig ko na nga na yung mga spokesperson niya eh parang sinasabi nila na paninira?

SP: Hindi paninira ito eh. Sinasabi ko lang ang katotohanan. Ang katunayan niyan ay talagang hinihiling nila na tulungan ko sila. Sinabi ko sa kanila, tutulungan ko kayo, sa ilalim ng batas. Meaning, I have been a lawyer all my life, and I am not just a two-bit lawyer. I practised law extensively inside the courtroom. I know the decorum of a lawyer. I prosecuted people, and I sent them to jail, many of them, I defended also people, and many of them did not go to jail. One of them was the father in law of Megaworld, Bana Lim, the father of the wife of Andrew Tan. He was charged with murder regarding the brother of the Defense Secretary during the Garcia administration. I am not bragging, I have not lost a single case with thousands of cases that I handled during my career as a lawyer. So, ako, I know more or less the tendency of the people that talk to me. So I felt uncomfortable. So I ignored his protestations.

Q: Sasabihin nila Sir, bakit ngayon ninyo lang nilalabas ito?

SP: Because nga, pinalalabas niya na wala siyang kasalanan, he's clean. E mga daang tao dito na nakikita na nagpupunta dito para humingi ng tulong ko tungkol sa kaso na yan eh, dito sa opisina.

Q: Sa tingin ninyo ba, magiiba yung tono ng resulta ng imbestigasyon kung nagparticipate siya?

SP: At least he could have presented his side, and we would have considered his evidence. But I can understand why he did not participate. As a lawyer, I will tell you I would understand the reason why all of them did not want to participate.

Q: Bakit sir?

SP: Yung mga ebidensya kontra sa kanya ay mahirap talaga sagutin eh. Mahirap itago, mahirap iwasan. If he is seating as a witness in a courtroom, I don't think he will be able to sit calmly and quietly on the witness chair if he is handled by a skillful examiner.

Q: Sa tingin ninyo ba, yan din ang dahilan kung bakit he is avoiding?

SP: Ayaw n'yang pumasok dito dahil alam niyang hindi niya masasagot yung mga issue. Ako nga nagulat eh. Nandun yung P30 million. Kaya ko sinabi yun, para patunayan na itong mga ebidensiya na nakalap ay hindi imbento. Dahil experience ko yun eh. I had an amendment of P50 million for an irrigation project in the province of Cagayan. That was originally P100 million pero ibinaba niya ng P50 million. Pagkatapos, nung pinarerelease ko na yung P50 million, sabi niya P20 million muna at yung P30 million gagamitin ko, sabi niya. Eh nakita ko yung P30 million ginamit pala niya doon sa project na yun, sa C-5.

Q: Matagal na niyang pinopondohan yan?

SP: Oo nga, palagay ko.

Q: Sir, I want to ask also, are you taking it against him na hindi siya sumipot kahapon? Kasi it's human nature na ayaw mong mapakinggan, na sinasabi sa iyo kung ano ang mga mali mo, na may ginawa kang mali?

SP: Hindi. Hindi ko minamasama na wala siya doon, ano? Kaya ko lang tinanong, dahil hinamon kami ng debate ni Alan Peter Cayetano na debatihin natin ito. Tinanong ko siya, kung magdedebate ba tayo eh darating si Manny Villar? Sasali ba siya? Sapagkat he is the principal persona in this case. He could not act through a surrogate. If I were under attack, and if I were under charge, like him, I will defend myself personally, I will not ask somebody to speak for me, I will speak for myself. And I have done that before, many times, under Marcos, under Cory, under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. I spoke for myself.

Q: Sir, the question now, maaadopt ba ng Senado? How many votes? Yung sinasabi ni Senator Santiago, it will need 16 votes but the contention of the Majority is 12.

SP: I respect the opinion of Senator Santiago but she is not somebody that is always right, ano? And I beg to differ with her. My reading of the Constitution, I do not know about her, is that you need two-thirds only when the penalty to be imposed is either expulsion or suspension. All other penalties that do not involve expulsion or suspension, would not need two-thirds vote. In fact, our Constitutional provision in this respect is a verbatim copy of the US Constitution, or the Constitution of many states in America. The practice under American law is that censure only requires a majority vote. I think majority of the quorum. Now, ako, when I was alone, a minority in the Senate during the time of President Cory, I was charged with disorderly conduct before the Ethics Committee of the Senate, and I was censured by the Senate. And it is not correct, it is not true, as my good friend Joker Arroyo said, that only suspension or expulsion are the penalties authorized by the Constitution of 1987. Censure is also allowed, reprimand is allowed, you see?

Q: Sir, hindi kailangan na nakaspell-out sa Constitution?

SP: Hindi kailangan, it is implied. Kaya ang sinasabi lang, you can punish your members for disorderly behavior, but if the penalty is suspension or expulsion, you have to have two-thirds of the members to expel or to suspend a member.

Q: Finally sir, how soon do you think this report could be voted upon?

SP: Maybe next week we will have to dispose it next week.

Q: Baka they might want to have a longer debate?

SP: I will allow them, I will give them all the leeway to debate it as much as they want. In the end we will have to finish it next week, because we are going on recess already.

Q: What about the other bills, sir? Kasi yesterday, the whole time, pinagusapan ninyo ito, wala nang natake-up?

SP: Wala na namang mga major bills except yung immigration. May mga problema yan eh. Mga bills na yan. Yung cyber crime, merong mga issues doon na tatalakayin and we are running out of time. Yung National Telecommunications bill, we will have to pass that because simple lang yun eh. We are just increasing the powers of the National Telecommunications Commission and giving the members a fixed tenure so that they can perform their job to protect the public from the activities of some telecommunication companies who are wasting the free loads of their clients.

Q: Yung ratification ng bicam report expanding the senior citizens discount?

SP: We will do that. We can do that easily. Mandatory yan eh. Madali na yun. It's just a matter of reporting the bicameral conference committee report.

Q: So uunahin yun? This afternoon, what can we expect?

SP: Well, we can call that first before we start the fireworks again.

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