Press Release
July 26, 2010

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

SP I really must say that I did not seek the senate presidency, it just came as a consequence of events but nonetheless I am grateful to them.

Q Sir may mga meetings ba na nangyari, mi-neet ba kayo ng dalawang kampo?

SP I met the Nationalistas, I met the Liberals, I met the independents, I met all of them. They arrived at that consensus to elect a Senate President.

Q Ano nga ba yung major reason, hindi lang makabuo ng 13?

SP Nahihirapan sila, ang bawat kabila, na makabuo ng dose to support a candidate for the senate. At noon of Friday, Sen. Pangilinan saw me and told me that he would not muster 12 senators to support himself and so he said "I release you from your commitment to support me" because I was committed to support the candidate of the Liberal Party. Before that, Thursday night, Sen. Villar, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano visited me at my house, accompanied by Sen. Honasan and Sen. Sotto, without any discussion about politics. Friday night, they had a meeting and they sent Sen. Sotto and Sen. Honasan to my house, and told me that if I would make myself available for the senate, they are ready to support me. With that I contacted the Liberals and what happened today is the result of that.

Q From 21 last night, nagging 17 na lang po?

SP No. Everybody supported me but in order to maintain a semblance of a democratic body, we have established the majority and the minority. It was kind enough of Alan to present himself as the minority leader because I told him, perform the functions of a minority floor leader. There was no ifs and buts about it.

Q Who suggested that to Sen. Cayetano?

SP I don't know. He saw me and talked to me about it. I said I welcome it. They are not a company union. This is real. I told them that it is better to have in a house like the senate to always take the opposite side of the debate.

Q Were your differences with Sen. Villar also patched up, sir?

SP I do not have any differences with him. The only thing is I happened to be the chairman of the Committee of the Whole that heard his ethics case and I told him that since many of those who heard his ethics case are gone, six of them, and six of them who came in never heard of the case, I considered the case archived.

Q With almost a clean slate, solid support from senators, would you say that the senate would be starting with a clean slate? Tabula rasa po ba?

SP I think as I said in my brief remark, if all goes well for the nation, it symbolizes the emerging spirit which is the hope of unity in the country. I think it is the call of the hour, that as a people, we must be united regardless of our partisan inclination in order to help one another to make this country move forward.

Q Have you finalized the committee chairmanships at this point?

SP Many of the committees have been settled, there are still some with some kinks but I think we can settle all of that.

Finance walang problema. Finance, ways and means, walang problema yun. Many are without any problem. Sen. Angara is holding the committee on education and science and technology. The Blue Ribbon, no one has been appointed to it yet although there is a request by Sen. Pangilinan that he could handle it in the meantime until we get a suitable chairman of the committee.

Q Sino po sa ways and means?

SP Ways and means will be handled by Ralph Recto. Energy is being vied upon by Sen. Loren Legarda and Sen. Guingona. Ethics is open, and yung banks, went to Serge Osmena. Defense is Sen. Honasan for the meantime.

Q Under your leadership ba, will this be a friendly senate?

SP We ought to be friends. We differ in ideas, we differ in positions, there is no reason why we clobber each other's throats.

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