Press Release
January 27, 2010


Q: Earlier, in the opening prayer at the beginning of the session, Sen. Nene said, in so many words, apologizing for yesterday's incident on the senate. Did you hear that apology?

MAR: No. What I heard was his interview where he said that he felt he didn't owe anybody any apology. So in my case naman, I don't expect anything from him naman.

Q: You weren't on the Senate floor when he made that opening prayer?

MAR: No, but I heard a portion of it, but what was very clear in my mind was that he wasn't apologizing. In any event, he need not apologize to me. He needs to apologize to my wife and to all the women who were insulted by his crass behavior. But hindi ko na gustong pahabain pa ito, Pia, dahil talagang mapait at masakit itong nangyari, at siguro ang bawat tao na lang ang maghusga sa kanya.

Q: Senator Villar has denied through his spokesmen and in an interview also with ABS-CBN that he made any offer of a bribe whatsoever to Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. And then Gilbert Remulla was saying that it's now Enrile's word against Villar's. Who do you believe?

MAR: I was not in that conversation between Senator Villar and Senator Enrile. Senator Enrile is a straightforward person. He talks straight, and he's willing to be interpellated, questioned and appear before his peers to respond to any such thing. All I know is that Senator Villar has not done so, not even when his own honor and when charges of corruption were levied against him.

You know, Pia, it's very very simple. All of these things about the trying to distract and distort the story. It's very simple lang, no. Was or was there not a road? Check. Did or did this road not pass through his properties? Check. Did or did not his properties increase in value? Check. Was or was it not he or his engineer who instructed the secretary of the Senate budget committee, Atty Doblon, to fund this road? Check. So, checkmate, diba?

Simpleng simple lang ito, Pia. Huwag na nating pahabain at gumawa ng istorya. Yan at yan din lang ang kailangang sagutin. Did or did not this thing happen? He was Senate President when it happened, he was the #3 person in our country. This happened in the office of the Senate President, where a high executive of his companies, he and the secretary of the Senate budget committee sat in a small round table where, in the words of the Senate staffer, she was dictated upon to fund this project. Simple lang iyan e. Did or did this not happen?

Q: Today, the deliberations were put on hold, for lack of better words. But if we get to that point na may botohan na, sabihin na nating magkaka-botohan na doon sa report, how many votes do you think you're going to have?

Mar: I'm confident that the facts will speak for themselves. I myself studied that committee report. There is no evidence refuting any of the items there. It's very very simple. There is an issue of conflict of interest. The rule is, if you have any interest, if you have any monetary interest in a project that you are working on, you should do either of two things: either you disclose it or you recuse yourself. Meaning, mag-excuse ka, huwag kang makialam sa mga project na meron kang financial interest. Neither of these things happened, e. Either it happened or didn't happen.

Q: But if it comes down to crunch time, to voting, how many votes would this report get?

Mar: I haven't canvassed my colleagues, but I'm fairly confident that our colleagues will judge this fairly, straightforwardly, and based on the evidence. There is no politics here. The politics here comes from those who want to distract and want to bring the discussion to all other levels. The only issue here is culpability, the only issue here is "did this or did this not happen?"

Q: Nene Pimentel and Alan Cayetano have compared Manny Villar's refusal to appear before the Senate with Ninoy Aquino refusing to take part or to boycott his trial. What do you think?

MAR: Wow. The only thing that I can say is "wow." Let me tell you, I knew Ninoy Aquino, I knew and worked and saw Manny Villar. And let me tell you: Manny Villar is no Ninoy Aquino.

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