Press Release
September 16, 2010

Transcript of Kapihan with Sen. TG Guingona

On the purpose of Blue Ribbon investigation

We intend to hold the first hearing on this infamous jueteng issue on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Some guest have already confirmed their attendance. We have to clarify the role of the Blue Ribbon and the Senate as a whole, including Congress, with regard to the Executive Branch. First of all, the purpose of the Blue Ribbon hearing is to provide a venue, a forum, in an orderly manner for everyone who has something and anything to say about the matter. Marami nagsasalita ngayon pero sa ibat-ibang forum, not in an orderly manner. This will bring order and provide a venue or a democratic space for anyone who wants to talk on the issue.

I am aware of the cynicism that is going around. Maraming nagsasabi na imbestiga nang imbestiga pero walang nangyayari. We have to clarify the purpose of the Blue Ribbon investigation. It is an attempt to find out the problem. In this case, what is the issue? Illegal gambling. What is the purpose of the investigation? To find out how we can stop it through the law. Mayroon bang batas na kailangang gawin para hindi na mangyari ang nangyayari? Kung mayroon man batas, baka kailangang ayusin, amiyendahan sapagkat mukhang palpak 'yung batas dahil hindi nawawala 'yun problema . Sometimes, there is no new law for amendment required because there are enough existing laws. The problem is in the implementation of the law and not in the making of the law. 'Yun ang purpose of the investigation. If you are expecting someone to be caught, to be prosecuted and to go to trial and eventually, to jail, then the venue is with the Executive Department--the Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police, the Ombudsman and so forth.

According to records, the last Blue Ribbon hearing on jueteng was conducted during the 10th Congress. There may have been other hearings, but these were not with the Blue Ribbon. For now, we will presume that everybody wants to give his piece with regard to the issue at hand.

 On whether Cabinet officials will be invited to the hearing

Definitely. Secretary Robredo is invited and I am sure he will come. Undersecretary Puno is also invited and has confirmed. We also invited the PNP, especially PNP chief Bacalzo, and the directors of Region 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B. We have also invited Romualdo Quiñones, manager of the PCSO's Special Operations Department. Bakit PCSO? Sapagkat sila 'yun nagpapatakbo ng Small Town Lottery, which was created to kill jueteng. That was a long time ago. Several decades later, jueteng is still around and it's even growing stronger. So obviously, there is something wrong in the system, there is something wrong with the policy and we have to look into that.

On the possibility of legalizing jueteng

Right now, I'd rather go with the conservative approach which is the STL. Nandiyan na 'yung STL, legal na yan, palakasin na lang natin. Its purpose is to take away jueteng. One of the purposes of this hearing is to look into the system and the policies. There is already a policy-- that STL should be able to kill jueteng. It's failing, so let's see how we can fix the system.

On the Whistleblowers Act

'Yun panawagan ni Sandra Cam is the passing of the Whistle Blower's Act which gives protection to the whistle blower and some rewards. We should also take a look into that because I think it is a laudable bill. If the guests who will attend the hearing want protection, we will have to touch base with the DOJ, which is in charge of the witness protection program.

On the alleged involvement of Bacalzo in jueteng

He is No. 4 in our list of guests for the hearing and he should show up. He has to answer the allegations against him and he could tell us what he knows about the issue. Dapat sana humarap si Sandra Cam but what we are trying to do first is to invite people rather than to subpoena them. Archbishop Cruz is No. 1 in our guest list.

On why the jueteng hearing was initiated

Once mayroon pong resolution, I have to conduct a hearing regardless of the cynicism that floats around. We are here to provide a venue for everyone to say his piece, for democratic space and to look into the laws; if there is a need for a new law or to amend the laws or to call upon the executive to implement the laws.

On the jueteng hearing during the 10th Congress and 14th Congress

One of the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon in the 10th Congress was to enact a law that would take away from the mayors the choice of choosing their own police chief. Remember, among the three names that will be submitted to them, they will choose the chief of police. That never became a law for whatever reason. Today, we will provide democratic space and we will come out with recommendations. If the recommendation is to make a law, then we will file the necessary bill. If the recommendation is to amend the law, which most likely will be in the case of STL, then we will file the necessary bill and we will make sure that even in the House, the said bill will be filed and we will pursue it all the way through. Lastly, we will file the recommendations with the executive department and periodically monitor the status of our recommendations.

On whether parliamentary courtesy will prevent the Blue Ribbon from inviting local officials named by whistleblowers to appear in the hearing

What I would do is leave it to the House since anyway the Speaker of the House has already pronounced that they will also conduct their own investigations. We have confidence in the capability of the Lower House to conduct an investigation. I think they can do their job too.

Q Those named as being involved in jueteng but are members of the House, there is nothing that can stop them from coming over to speak like what Luis Villafuerte did during the last hearing?

Yes, there is nothing stopping them from voluntarily appearing.

On whether other witnesses will be given witness protection during the hearing on jueteng

Sa ngayon bagong issue 'yan, bagong Senado lang ito. Frankly I cannot answer that on my own. That is something I have to take up with the Senate leadership. I do recall there was witness protection given by the Senate before. Now, as to whether that can be given again today, frankly I have to consult with the Senate leadership. Right now nobody has approached us and requested any assistance for protection. We will take that up when that becomes an issue to us, but right now nobody has approached us sa Blue Ribbon asking for any protection.

Q How about Versoza on the allegations of some officials na sinulatan nila, sinumbong nila 'yung jueteng sa kanilang locality pero walang naging action si Versoza? Is there a chance na ipatawag din siya?

Yes, definitely. In the spirit of knowing everything about this, we should invite him and we will invite him.

On how STL can compete with jueteng when the STL collectors are the same jueteng collectors

'Yun nga po ang allegation. Titingnan natin through the hearings. Kung number one, totoo ba 'yun, most likely totoo daw 'yun, and paano natin ma-correct 'yan. Actually right now, one of the main purpose of the hearing is to fix the system of the STL. The STL is supposed to kill jueteng and yet it is not doing so. We have to see why and how we can fix it. Yes, we invited PCSO and PCSO officials will come over. Especially Mr. Quiñones, the one in-charge of the special projects department.

Q Sir, hindi ba nakakaapekto sa confidence ng (inaudible) inappoint niya 'yung confidant ng jueteng (inaudible)?

First of all, allegations pa 'yan. We have to see in the hearings.

Q 'Yung tumatanggap daw ng jueteng payola, inappoint daw 'yun ni Noynoy. Do you think na nagkamali si Noynoy sa pinili niya?

Let us cross the bridge when that becomes a certainty. Sa ngayon, medyo speculative 'yan.

On whether PNOY is keen on this fight against jueteng Whatever it is.

During the campaign I distinctly remember, what we have to do is advance democracy. Give democratic space. Whether it is a drug lord or a jueteng lord, parehong epekto. Ano pong epekto niyan? Nawawalan ng kapangyarihan ang taong bayan pagdating sa eleksiyon because people lose the power of their vote. The one who lords it over in that area is either the jueteng lord with his money and his guns or the drug lord. We have to eradicate all these warlords, whether jueteng lord, warlord, drug lord, so that we can have true democracy in those areas.

On Archbishop Cruz's expose that there are churches accepting jueteng money

First of all I would like to ask Archbishop Cruz to shed light on that, but secondly and more importantly, I think that would be an internal matter. We will leave that to the CBCP to handle.

On whether the Blue Ribbon will consider the findings of the past hearings on jueteng

Dapat lang. Lalong-lalo na 'yung mga recommendations, lalong-lalo na 'yung mga testigo sapagkat tulad nga ng sinabi ng ibang mga nagsasalita ngayon, nagsalita na sila. So, nanduon na 'yun sa records, titingnan na lang natin sa records. Depende kung gaano kahalaga 'yung sinasabi nila. Kung hindi naman, 'yung dati nilang sinabi, sapat na, okay na 'yun. Sinabi na nila, gamitin na lang natin kasi that is under-oath naman, that is official.

On whether the Blue Ribbon can force Usec. Puno to reveal the names of the so-called emissaries that talked to him I think we should give the good

Secretary a chance to answer that question when he comes to that hearing. Huwag nating pangunahan. I think in the spirit of revealing everything, the good Secretary will voluntarily reveal the names.

On reports that jueteng is one of the reasons for the factions within LP

Being an LP, wala pa naman akong nakikitang ganun.

On whether there are other issues lined up for the Blue Ribbon other than jueteng

Meron pa. 'Yung iba hindi ko pa masabi sapagkat tinitignan pa namin 'yung ebidensiya. Merong na-file 'yung isa, 'yung dredging ng Laguna Lake.

On whether jueteng will be eradicated eventually

Realistically, that falls under the Executive branch. It is a matter of political will and a viable alternative. The emphasis I guess should be on a viable alternative because as they allege, there are a lot of people employed in this industry. Illegal, but nevertheless it is an industry in which they are employed, they get their livelihood. So, there must be a viable alternative. STL was supposed to be that, apparently it failed. I would like to take the conservative approach. Let's see first how we can reform the STL so that it performs its mandate which is eradicating jueteng. Kung hindi umubra, let's take it one step at a time.

It is premature to ask if STL is irreparable, because I haven't even started the hearings so we really do not know what is wrong, and what has to be fixed. Maybe after the hearing, that is when we can comprehensively address that issue.

On whether TG has talked to the Truth Commission

Actually wala pa pero anyway, the purpose of the Truth Commission is different from the Blue Ribbon as I said, whether to enact a law, revise a law, or to find out what's going on even if there is enough laws, why is the problem still there? Sa Truth Commission, iba naman ang layunin nila. At the rate things are piling up, the new issues in the Blue Ribbon, if something is already being taken up, I would rather that we will just let the Truth Commission handle it because at the rate that the issues and the cases are coming in to the Blue Ribbon, there will be a lot of issue to handle.

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