Press Release
September 7, 2010

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On Appointments

SP: I was acting Commissioner of Customs concurrently as Undersecretary of Finance for more than two years. So, I was acting as Secretary of Finance many times, most of the time, because my boss, the Secretary, was traveling most of the time. Sometimes, I was holding three, four, five hats at any given time when I was in the Finance Department. So, you exercise the powers of the office no different from the one who is appointed to the position and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

On Secretary Robredo

Q: Sir, Senator Sotto said na possible na unsure si President Aquino kay na Robredo kaya acting...

SP: Well, meron sigurong rason. We don't know the reason of the President. Only he will be able to explain.

Q: Sir, is this, in any way, a sign of a weak government na may mga acting Secretaries at the start of the administration o hindi naman?

SP: It is not unusual. President Marcos did the same thing for some Cabinet positions in our time.

Q: Sir, last week, may mga senador na nagsabi na medyo mahihirapan si Robredo makapasa sa CA dahil marami daw gigisa sa kanya. Would you be one of those na gigisa sa kanya or maraming itatanong about sa mishandling ng hostage-taking?

SP: Was he appointed to handle the problem? I thought that Lim was the head of the Crisis Committee. Besides, the Secretary of Interior and Local Government has no direct, immediate, authority over the Philippine National Police. Unlike in my time, I can order the movement of Constabulary troops anywhere in the country when there is a need for it because the Philippine Constabulary, now the Philippine National Police, was directly under me as Secretary of National Defense. That is no longer true in the case of the DILG under the present Constitution. The one that has direct, immediate, control over the police for administrative purposes, in my opinion, would include policy direction and operational control, when there is a need for it, for intervention of a higher authority than the director general of the PNP is the Philippine National Police Commission.

Q: Tama talaga si Robredo, sir?

SP: Robredo is only a chairman of the Philippine National Police Commission. He is not the Commission. The Commission is a collegial body. Now, what did the Commission do during the crisis period is unknown to us.

Q: Sir, do you see the need to retain a stimulus package in the 2011 budget?

SP: I don't think so. What are you going to stimulate? The reason for the stimulant was the crisis at the time. Wala na 'yun. Di ba sabi nila nag-improve na ang ekonomiya natin.

Q: Sir, do you see a need na sibakin na ni P-Noy si Robredo as early as now?

SP: If I were the President, I will not fire anybody at this moment. When you make a mistake like that, it does not mean that you are already a shut-up administration. That's only one battle. If you are in command of an army, you do not discharge all your generals simply because he lost one battle. Maybe, he will have to look into the responsibility of some people. Whether Robredo is responsible, I'm not defending him but you have to give him a chance to explain his side. You cannot say, "why don't you be man enough to own your fault", assuming that he is at fault, without raking the facts out and finding out if indeed he was at fault.

On the 2011 Budget

Q: Sir, 'yung budget...

SP: I'm just listening. I agree that we should look into the conditional cash transfer. I'm not against it but we have to see to it that that will not be mishandled by those who are going to implement it. The purpose is noteworthy but then again we have to be very careful that the money of the people is spent wisely by those who will implement it on the ground

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