Press Release
September 1, 2010

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the postponement of the Senate hearing regarding the hostage crisis

SP Let the Executive perform its job in conducting hearings on what happened with respect to that hostage-taking. It can resume when the investigation is finished. When there is any gap, we can fill it up.

Q: (There will be no hearings starting this week?)

SP Senator Honasan just talked to me about it. That's better, I said, so that there will be no conflict between what they have taken up and what we will take up here. Otherwise, the resource people and the people to be summoned and asked to appear will be hard-put in obeying which one.

(Sir, paano po yung mga recommendations noong unang hearing?)

SP We will take that into account. We will keep that. They will continue afterwards.

On compensation for the victims

SP That has to be studied. I am not going to make any position without studying (the facts). You know, it is very dangerous to make off-the-cuff positions on these things. You have to know the circumstances under which things happen. Ex-gracia, maybe, but if there is negligence, there is negligent act on the part of anybody, that will be a different matter altogether. We do not know yet whether there is any.

I am not prepared to say yes or no, I will study it first. I am not saying whether it is possible, impossible, probable or improbable. I do not know of any instance where we paid any compensation, except the Japanese paid us war reparations, the Americans paid us war damage, for the destruction that they inflicted on us.

On the decision not to continue the hearings because of the gag order

SP We are not governed by the gag order of anybody. We are a separate department of government. We are just doing this as a matter of courtesy. The Secretary of Justice has made a judgment. We respect her judgment.

Senator Honasan asked me if he can suspend it until the Executive branch has finished the investigation on their side. I said go ahead, that would be better. Dito lang kami nag-meeting, on my way down. It is not difficult for me to make a decision.

Q: (Sir, ano 'yun, para 'wag maka-hamper sa investigation?)

SP Hindi sa ganoon. Pabayaan mo muna sila, para walang duplication. Kawawa naman 'yung mga resource people at saka 'yung mga taong tatawagin, 'di malaman kung sino ang susundin.

Q: (Pero sir, yung joint Hong Kong and RP probe, okay lang ba?)

SP I will not make any judgment. Each one will have to act according to his best lights.

On calls for the VFA's review

SP What for? We must not deal with our allies cavalierly. We have to study all of these. When I was in the Cabinet, it will take us months and months to study an issue. You cannot just do it on the spur of the moment. Dahil pupunta ang Presidente doon, meron siyang dadalhin na resolution? For what? That has to be studied extensively, the implication of what we are going to do, if we will do anything at all. Hindi pwede 'yung pa-basta-basta tayo sa ating mga allies. We are dealing here with peace and war.

(Sir, paano po yung Senate Resolution po nuong nakaraang Congress?)

SP That is just the expression of some people here. If they have studied the problem, then let them say so, if we are that expert in security issues.

On VAT being reduced to 6%

SP Six percent? Titingnan natin. May impact 'yan sa bayan natin. Kung gusto ninyo na bababa ang sweldo ng mga tao, magbabawas ng tao, less money for education, less money for health, less money for infrastructure.

On scrapping the input tax

SP Paano mo tatanggalin ang input tax kung meron kang VAT? Symbiotic 'yun, input and output. Mabuti pa gawin mong sales tax na lang. Cascading tax. You know, kung gusto ninyo na there is less number of policemen, less number of soldiers, less number of teachers, less number of classrooms, less number of irrigation canals, less number of roads, then let's reduce taxation. We have to study these things carefully. Hindi pwede 'yung pabigla-bigla tayo.

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