Press Release
March 24, 2011

Transcript of Ambush Interview on the Ligots

Q: Ano po 'yung possible na kakaharapin ng mag-asawang Ligot?

SP: Alam mo, kapag hindi sila sumipot kapag pinadalhan namin sila ng subpoena, we will have to cite them in contempt. Wala kaming magagawa dun. Kailangang ipairal namin ang kapangyarihan ng Committee rito sa Senado.

Q: Sir, bakit hindi pa po sila kaagad na cite for contempt?

SP: Dahil nga pinag-aralan namin ng mabuti 'yung kanilang sitwasyon. So kapag nagkaroon ng hearing uli, kapag hindi nila sasagutin 'yung mga hindi makakasama sa kanila, mapipilitan ang Committee to cite them for contempt.

Q: Pero , sir, marami raw po silang mga address, paano po kung hindi sila mahanap ng doctor na inutasan ninyo?

SP: Ibig sabihin noon nagtatago sila.

Q: Tapos pwede na po sila ma-cite for contempt?

SP: Yes. I hope they will understand this. We have been very understanding with their conditions in spite of the fact na ako, alam ko na hindi sila nagsasabi ng katotohanan. But we have given them enough leeway so that the people will not say that we are harsh or oppressive. As I said a while ago, there is a limit. There is a point where we could not go beyond. Otherwise, if we do not enforce authority in this country, if we do not enforce the laws, our society will break down. There's a higher interest that is involved. It is not because we enjoy seeing people suffer, it is simply because it's our duty as elected senators of our people to see to it that the laws must be obeyed, the system must operate and with a certain degree of leeway to exercise compassion when it is needed. But when it becomes palpable and clear that the people are trying to hide behind certain laws and principles in order to escape their responsibility to society, we have to find a remedy and use the coercive power of our institutions in order to make the system work.

On the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing

Q: Sir, kanina parang nagalit po kayo sa mga opisyales ng AFP like former AFP Chief Villanueva.

SP: It is because I cannot understand why they have to convert their funds. Alam mo, dun sa conversion, may cost 'yun. Hindi naman pwede gagamitin mo 'yung tao na sinabi na bumili sa akin ng produkto o supplies na hindi mo bibigyan sya ng share dun sa pera ng gobyerno na ico-convert dahil magbabayad ng income tax 'yun kung hindi, mapupunta siya sa bilanggo. Now, why do they have to do that? Why not just draw a check if they have a financial plan. Alam nila na magkakaroon ng operation, then they should estimate what is the need and then they can draw from their bank deposit and convert it into cash and then let that cash be entrusted to a finance officer or a disbursing officer. Then he must liquidate it.

Q: Ano po kaya ang reason bakit nag-deteriorate 'yung system sa AFP in terms of financial management? SP: Wala ng ibang rason. Corruption 'yon. Q: Sir, do you think the Blue Ribbon hearings should end na? SP: I do not know how soon they can end it kung hindi nagco-cooperate 'yung mga resource people then it must continue. Makita mo, tatanungin ko 'yun, bakit kayo nagco-convert. You cannot answer the question. Why do you convert when you can draw a check pay to cash and then liquidate it.

On the Impeachment Trial

Q: Sir, can you comment on the President's call...

SP: I guess the President of the country and elected by the people is getting frustrated because he wants to do something but he's shackled by some restrictive situations and norms operating in the society. I guess if we are President, we'll feel the same way. That is one of the reasons why Marcos decided to go all the way and use the Martial Rule in order to adopt certain reforms. Unfortunately, what was intended in the beginning was never followed through. Or if it was followed through in the beginning but along the way it was corrupted also. And as a result of that, the vision we ended up is the EDSA Revolution of 1986.

Q: Sir, do you see a situation wherein people will be coming here holding mass actions?

SP: I don't think so. I hope not because if they disrupt the proceeding that I will chair, I don't care if the hang me. That's the way I am. I will test the limit if I have to, to see to it that order is maintained. I will not allow any disruption of the proceedings in this coming impeachment trial. You can criticize me. You can hang me upside down or up right but I don't care. I will see to it that order must be maintained.

Q: Sir, will there also be tickets for audiences like before?

SP: I do not know. That's already administrative. We cannot accommodate everybody. And it's quite dangerous if you pack the hall with so many people. If something happens, that they kill each other running away.

Q: The people can air their concerns or grievances elsewhere?

SP: We'll they're free to air their grievances outside. Those things will not affect our jobs. Ako ganynan, if I believe that what I'm doing is the right cause, I don't heed public opinion. I'll do it.

Q: Sir, iche-check po ba 'yung mga gamit kasi 'yung mga ibang nanonood minsan may dalang mga streamer tapos minsan biglang bubuksan 'yung streamer habang nasa session hall.

SP: Aba'y pakukulong ko sila rito. They better understand it clearly because I will see to it that the Senate security is ready to arrest anybody that will disrupt the proceeding. Walang ifs and buts about it. It's better that they understand.

Q: Sir, sa Pulse Asia, kayo pa ang No. 3 most trusted public official with a trust rating of 56%.

SP: Ako? Salamat naman. I don't think about those things. I'll just do my job not because I enjoy it but once I accept a job, I'll do the best I can and the best I know how using Lincoln's quote. And I'll do the best until the end. If the end brings me out right, what the people will say about me, will make no difference. But if the end brings me out wrong, thousands of angels swearing that I was right will make no difference as is it. He said he use only 10 angels but I'm using a thousand angels.

Q: Sir, you have 45 days of break, how should the Senate prepare for the trial?

SP: They have to read the Rules and if possible, re-read the Rules of Evidence and the Rules of Court. We're going to use the Rules that are used in adversarial proceedings.

Q: Sir, going back to Impeachment po, kailan po natin ma-expect na i-publish 'yung Rules on the Impeachment? SP: We have approved it already. It's going to be printed and it's going to be published. That's already a matter of detail. Ministerial function ng Secretariat.

Q: Sir, going back on the Impeachment trial, President Aquino has political allies in the Senate. How do you think this will affect their decision?

SP: Well, as I said, this is a conscience vote. Whether you're a member of the Liberal Party or not, at the end of the day, to use a off-quoted remark, your guide in making a decision is your conscience. You hear, you read the evidence. You form a judgment that even if it is as clear as day to you, you become partisan, that is your call. You will be answerable to the people. Of course, political alignments will have a bearing on the case. I'm not discounting that but I can only speak for myself as far as I'm concerned. I'm going to base my individual decision in this case on the basis of what is presented as evidence.

Q: Sir, when can we furnish the senators the Articles of Impeachment?

SP: I suppose that is going to be referred to the Committee on Rules. The Committee on Rules will handle that.

Q: But it is going to be distributed before you convene or after you convene?

SP: They have access to the Articles of Impeachment even today if they want. Nobody is going to prevent them from having it. It's a public record. There's nothing secret about it.

Q: Has any senator asked permission from you to travel during the break during the break so long as they prepare for the trial?

SP: Well, some of them are obligated to leave because they have to attend Parliamentary conferences, IPU in Panama and some legislative conferences that have been scheduled already. We have an obligation to our counterparts abroad to have representation. Now, as far as personal trips are concerned, I don't remember anybody asking any authority from be but the senators are free to travel on their own if they do not involve the funds of the Senate. All they have to do is to write me and say I want to go somewhere without charging the Senate and I will authorize it. Preparation for trial can be done while you are abroad. You can read the Articles of Impeachment. You can read the Rules. You can read the Rules of Evidence even while you are traveling.

Q: What about the non-lawyers, sir?

SP: Well, they have to use their common sense in appreciating the evidence. Everyone of us has a way of understanding human condition. 

On the Pulse Asia Survey

Q: Sir, balikan ko lang po 'yung Trust Rating. 'Yung Trust Rating po kasi ni PNoy, bumaba po, siya na po 'yung naging No. 2. Ang naging No. 1 po ay si Vice President Binay. Sa tingin niyo po...

SP: I don't know. Bumaba na ba 'yung Trust Rating ko?

Q: 56 po ngayon.

SP: Noon ay 30 lang. Hindi importante 'yun. What's important is you're doing your job. Di ba?

On Senator Lacson

Q: Sir, inaasahan na po ba natin na makakasama na natin si Senator Lacson sa pagbubukas ng Session?

SP: Good that you reminded me. There was a request by his staff if I could order the opening of the office of Senator Lacson. I do not know when he will come but there was a request from his staff. So, I assume that he's about ready to come back. I'm going to talk to the Secretariat today to let the staff reopen the office of Senator Lacson.

Q: Sir, when was the request made by his staff?

SP: Just this morning on my way here.

Q: Everything will be restored, sir, office equipment, the staff?

SP: A newspaper man ang ginamit nila to ask me if I can order the opening of the office of Senator Lacson so I will talk to the Secretary after this.

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