Press Release
February 21, 2011

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the Deferment of the Death Penalty of OFWs in China

Q Sir, 'yung pag-defer ng death penalty ng OFWs, posible raw na walang concessions with China. Is that how it is with international politics?

SP I don't know that there is a quid pro quo. I have not heard of any consideration for that. I do not even know if they have finally cancelled the execution.

Q Not yet, sir. They just deferred it.

SP Maybe, they just postponed it so that they can study the matter further upon the request of the delegation that was sent there. But whether that postponement will end up in a cancellation of the execution is something else, we do not know. The Chinese government is very serious in the enforcement of its laws. They are not like us that we are very forgiving and we are very pliant in enforcing our laws. In their case, they do not tolerate things like that. Once you committed a crime in their jurisdiction, they impose the penalty that is prescribed by law. No ifs and buts about it. And that's why they have a fairly, orderly society.

Q Sir, mayroon pong proposal si Senator Escudero na magkaroon ng prisoner exchange agreement with other countries na may OFWs.

SP I do not know if that is possible, whether we will profit by it, because we have OFWs all over the world. But many of the countries where we have OFWs, they have no national share. So, what is the utility of such a proposal?

Q Like with China, sir, mayroon ding mga may kaso rito na Chinese nationals.

SP But the question is, which one will you exchange first. You have a problem, not only a problem, but a political problem because pressures will come into play for those who have relatives in the jails of China. They will probably jump on the heads of every politician to pressure them to be their relatives first instead of others.

Q Sir, di ba mayroon na tayong treaties ratified on prisoner exchange?

SP Only in the case of Spain because that was a special case. I do not remember if I voted for it or not.

Q Sir, with the postponement sa tatlong OFWs sa China, ang fear ng ilang political analysts ay baka raw may hinging kapalit ang China.

SP Wala naman siguro. Ano naman ipapalit mo doon? This matter of speculating about the dark side of government is not healthy.

Q So, considering China, pwede pong pinagbigyan 'yun ng walang kapalit?

SP I don't think the Chinese people are doing these things to exact any concession from us. They are too big for that. The fact is our people violated their laws. In the same manner that if their people will violate our laws, we will have to punish them.

On Mar Roxas being the Emissary to Taiwan

Q Sir, si Mar Roxas ang pinadalang emisaryo ni P-Noy sa Taiwan to address 'yung tension. Sa tingin niyo, right choice, good choice 'yon?

SP Well, I think the Philippine government will have to act to repair the ruffled feelings of Taiwan. We have a very large, economic interest with Taiwan. You cannot discard or dismiss the Taiwan economy. Many Filipinos are earning their living there. So, if they have hurt feelings because of what has happened with their nationals who are deported to China because we maintain a One China policy, then we have to do something about it. I understand they have a ground to be unhappy because evidently, some of their people were arrested and according to the information I received, they were not involved in the crime that caused the arrest of the nationals of the People's Republic of China who were operating in the Philippines and victimizing mainland Chinese. We do not know the facts. There are two sides of the issue. It's worth exploring and examining so that if there is any error committed, if error really existed, we must correct it.

Q Should we apologize, sir?

SP Apologies are very hard to come by in the game of nations.

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