Press Release
October 4, 2010

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the RH Bill

Q: Sir, your stand or reaction sa RH Bil especially 'yung nagiging stand ngayon ng Church na medyo...

SP: Well, sinabi ko kahapon na 'yung RH Bill wala pa sa amin, as far as I know. Nandoon pa sa House yata. In the 14th Congress, it reached us but we did not act on it. We did not have the time. Now, that is the situation. In my case, I filed a bill to protect both the health and life of the mother as well as of the unborn child. When is an unborn child protected? From conception, once a fetus, in whatever stage it is, then it must be protected. So, you cannot abort it by deliberate action unless it's a matter of necessity, medically to protect the mother if there is any reason to do it. Any none surgical or medical procedure, you cannot tinker with it. Now, as far as other issues before the onset of life, that has to be debated, discussed openly, publicly, broadly, without any passion so that everybody will understand what we are talking about and we do not lose our heads.

Q: Sir, so hindi pa nakakarating sa Senate, premature pa 'yung mga violent reactions nila?

SP: Well, everyone is entitled to express an opinion. Sinasabi ko lang ang actual situation. 'Yung Bill hindi pa dumating sa amin. But there's nothing wrong for people to talk about it if they want to talk about it.

Q: Sir, may pag-asa kaya 'yon kapag nakarating na dito? SP: Hindi ko pa sasagutin 'yon. Hindi ko pa alam kung dadating sa amin. Kung pag-asa ang pinag-uusapan natin, hope is eternal.

Q: Sir, 'yung government funding for contraceptives...

SP: 'Yun nga ang debatable. There are those who will support that. There are those who will not support it.

Q: Sir, anong take niyo sa paggamit ng contraceptives? Agree ba kayo? SP: I have not made up my mind. I have to study it very carefully. It involves my faith, concept of morality, notion of what the society ought to be, so I want to be prepared to answer that question because I have not made up my mind.

Q: Sir, 'yung babala ng civil disobedience...

SP: Everybody can take a position. They can demonstrate peaceably. They can shout to high heavens if they want. They can curse if they want but wag lang personalan.

Q: Hindi ba magke-create ng chaos ang threat ng civil disobedience?

SP: You know, the temporal role is full of chaos. So, I do not know whether that will create chaos.

Q: Sir, so far, ang malinaw po is anti-abortion kayo...

SP: What I said is we should not lose our heads. We debate, we discuss, but we maintain our sense of balance.

Q: How do you feel na may ganitong threat galing sa Simbahan?

SP: Mayroon bang position ang Simbahan? Statement lang but I do not know whether that is a position of the Church. I don't know. One person in the Church does not represent the Church.

Q: So sir, you see a long debate?

SP: Sigurado 'yan. That will be debated deeply, broadly and lengthily. Maraming ramifications 'yan. What is the experience of other countries who have adopted population control? I want to know. I'm not an expert so I have to educate myself by asking questions. What level of population do we want to attain? Do we want zero growth? If we want a growth in population, at what level? Maraming aspeto 'yan. Maraming pag-uusapan. But one thing is sure, I think both the State and the Church agree on one thing, once life begins, it must be protected. It is the duty of the State to enforce that as well as the Church because the Constitution says, the life of the unborn must be protected as well as the life of the mother.

Q: Sir, there is no way that you will rush this Bill?

SP: In this House, as far as I'm concerned, it's better to handle every issue in a very prudent, cautious manner, so that we will arrive at a finish product, in the form of a law, that is wisely considered and well-deliberated.

Q: Sir, premature ba 'yung hostilities over the Bill?

SP: Alam mo, kung minsan, kahit 'yung mga debate sa street corner, nagkakainitan dahil 'yung isa ipipilit na tama sya, 'yung isa ipipilit na tama rin sya. In the end, kailangang pag-usapan ng mahinahon.

On the President Aquino's Performance

Q: Sir, by Thursday 100 days na ni President Noy as president, how will you rate ang kanyang performance?

SP: I'm not in the habit of rating people or judging them. Let the public make that judgment.

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