Press Release
April 14, 2011

Transcript of Kapihan sa Senado with Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile

On the possibility of amending Senate Rules on Impeachment

We have already adopted the Rules. The Rules have been published. I will suggest to my colleagues that if there is any flaw in the Rules, which I think there is none, then, we should forego that unless it becomes clearly necessary to the court or hearing. If we are going to open on May 9, and the first matter that we are going to discuss is to amend the Rules, it will create a debate among the members of the Senate. That will take time. Once we agreed to amend the Rules, we have to republish those rules. That will take time again. Second, I think the Rules that we have are complete because they do not only incorporate the recent Rules of the Senate, as a legislative body. The Rules also incorporate the Rules of Court, the Rules of Procedure of Supreme Court and the Rules of Evidence in the Rules of Court as a part of the Rules that we have adopted.

On the merits of the proposed amendment of the Rules

What I understand is that they want a piece-meal decision on each of the instances that they cited, in the Articles of Impeachment as they wish to conclude that there was a betrayal of public trust. At first glance, one would think that it is the best method of doing it because if it finds the respondent guilty of the first charge, there is no more need to proceed. But there are two sides of this coin. The possibility that they will not find the respondent guilty is there. Once you will ask for the votes of the members of the jury in the Senate, you would know the position of each senator with respect to the respondent. You would know who are voting against her or for her. There are many pressure groups watching, and the possibility that the members of the Senate will be exposed to all sorts of pressures from all sorts of sides is not far-fetched. So, I would like to avoid that. I would like that when we come to voting, until we come to that point, none would know our thinking, how we are going to dispose the case individually, so that there will be no pressures on us or at least minimize the pressures on us as we go along in hearing the case.

On voting after all the six articles in the impeachment have been deliberated upon

Correct. You could possibly not find a basis to make a ruling on the individual article. But on the other hand, on the totality of all the articles of all the instances cited, one may conclude that indeed she did something good or she did something bad.

On the need for legal orientation of members of the Senate who are not lawyers

One person can judge the veracity or lack of veracity of any given question or fact. It's a matter of common sense. If they have not studied law, they have an innate common sense to judge whether this witness is telling the truth or not. Meron tayong degree of rationality.

On continuing the trial until the sine die adjournment

I think we cannot finish the trial when we go on a sine die in June. When we convene in May 9, we will call the Roll, then we open in the morning. In the afternoon we convert ourselves in to an impeachment court. The trial will not begin at that time. Under the Rules, the respondent is given a chance (as a matter of right) to be notified (which is the service of summons) on her with a copy of the Information with the alleged betrayal of public trust. She has ten days, under the Rules, to answer. If she will answer on the last day of the ten days, that's on May 19 already. The House of Representatives has five days to reply on the respondent's counter-information. That will mean already 24 days. Then there will be preliminary issues that will be threshed- out. I suppose that the most optimistic time for us start the trial will be about the last week of May. We only hear the case on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Conducting a trial like this is very tedious and very toiling on the minds of the people involved. So, I suggested that we break on Wednesdays because we have the Commission on Appointments. We cannot avoid that because that is the Constitutional duty of the Congress.

On whether there's a problem if the trial stops at the end of the First Regular Session and continue on the Second Regular Session of the next Congress

I don't think so. This is an impeachment case. Even if it is a legislative matter, it continues. This is one Congress that will end in 2013.

On whether impeachment hearings continue during break

The Constitution suggests that we do not do any legislative works during sine die break. That's how I understand the Constitution. We cannot do any legislative work or any Congressional activity during the sine die, except that the senators can function as senators by attending to constituents or attend international conferences. I do not remember that we were conducting hearings during the sine die break. Although impeachment trial is not a legislative work, we are actually doing a quasi-judicial act- the Senate cannot proceed with it during the sine die break because the two Houses must convene, must be in session.

On the possibility that the President will call for a Special Session

I do not know whether the President is authorized to call a Special Session to hear an impeachment case. The Constitution says that the President may call a Special Session for Congress to deal with a legislative matter, if there is a need for it. There is no Congress without convening both Houses. So the President cannot call a Special Session for one House only.

On the Impeachment Schedule

That's the way I understand it, (impeachment trial cannot be held trial during Sine Die). But during recess, pwede.

Hindi naman siguro aabutin 'yung trial hangang 2012. That will be unacceptable to the people that their Congress cannot finish an impeachment case within a reasonable time. I, for one, am not ready to accept that we could not dispose this case within a reasonable time.

It is possible that the impeachment trial will be finished before the end of the year, depending upon the skills of the prosecutors of the House, and I am sure they are skillful lawyers.

There is no gag rule. That is the norm that is used universally, not only here in this country but in every society that adopts the principle of due process. You cannot discuss the merits of the case under trial before you hear all the evidence and you judge the person concerned.

On Ambush Interview During Impeachment Trial

That is addressed to the individual responsibility of the members of the Senate because if they make any statement that could be used as a ground for them to be disqualified... if I'm the lawyer of the respondent I will not hesitate to file a disqualification, a motion to inhibit. The trial of the case is no longer an impartial trial of facts. We have to establish the semblance, if not the reality, of impartiality.

As far as witnesses are concerned, I will not prevent them from talking because when they go back to the stand, they can be cross-examined on what they said.

On The Decision Of The Ombudsman To Charge Officials On Fertilizer Scam

I will not answer that question because it will go to the merits of the case. I will not even render an opinion about it.


Then that's the end of the matter. The purpose of the impeachment is to take her out of the office. If she pleads guilty, there's no need to proceed with the impeachment. Even if she doesn't plead guilty but she says, "I quit," then that's the end of it. But resigning does not mean that you are free from all liabilities.


It depends on the issue that they will raise. If they go to the Supreme Court (SC) for purposes only of delay, then the Supreme Court will see that. But if there is merit in the petition before the SC, then the SC will give due course to the petition, in which case, we will, it is possible that they will say, "please take note of the fact that we are disposing this issue and as, an impeachment court, we should hold the status quo ante until we dispose it." That is my position. I do not know the decision of the Senate.


There is no appeal. This is an act of a coordinate for equal and separate branch of the government. In the same manner that no one can appeal to us the SC's decision.


I have studied that, I've read the law. The way I see it, that is a grey area. If you read the Constitutional provision for the other constitution offices like the Commission on Elections, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, it says there that the commissioners shall serve for a certain number of years, they cannot be reappointed and that any vacancy, the successor shall serve only for the unexpired term. In the case of the Ombudsman, there is no such provision. I do not know why. Ginawa sariling batas nila. Unless it was the intention. 'Yong mga bagong Ombudsman na ia-appoint, eh 'yun term nila ay the same as the original appointee.

Neither does it say that the Ombudsman is the only one that will discipline government officials. In fact, the Ombudsman has the power to employ all employees under the ombudsman except the deputies because they are appointed by the President. The SC will clarify the grey area. I cannot tell you how long the SC will decide a case like that. I have not read the Ombudsman law but I will read it.


There is a public interest involved because it is a public utility but do not know whether you can extend out an anti-trust issue with respect to that because first of all, we have an anti-trust law in the Revised Penal Code but it is a dead law that is why I drafted a new bill that will deal with the problems that we have in the country. Now, in the absence of a law, there's no crime committed.

There's no need for PLDT, Digitel to get a new franchise because I understand that in the franchise of Digitel and Sun, there is a provision which says that any condition or privilege granted to succeeding grantees of franchises , better or higher than what is provided in this franchise, will be enjoined by this grantee, meaning Sun or Digitel. I understand that there are other franchises that were granted where there's no need to go to Congress and get an approval for the transfer of ownership. So there's a provision, that is a mandate of Congress which has to be followed. There is no need for a new franchse. 'Yung Digitel may franchise, 'yong PLDT, Smart may franchise. Ang nangyari lang binili 'yong shares of stocks ni Gokongwei. 'Yung may franchise ay 'yung Digitel at Sun. Gokongwei is just an investor, a stockholder of this corporation, he is not the holder of the franchise. He was not selling the franchise. He was selling the business that he owns, he was selling his shares of stocks to Smart and PLDT.

On the Impeachment Charges

Well, if they (prosecution) rest their case, that's the end of the matter. When you rest your case, you submit the entire case for judgment. Then, we judge. We agree. If they're finished with the first article, if they rest their case on the first instance of betrayal of public trust, that means that they are waiving the others so we judge. That is a function of the prosecution. That's their call.

If you rest your case, that's the end of the matter. If they will revive the rest, then the lawyer of the respondent will be very happy. They will go to the Supreme Court.

On a senator/juror being called as a witness in the Impeachment Trial

There is no prohibition about that but the senator/juror being called for that purpose has to take oath as a witness. He's not a senator/juror at that point. He's an ordinary witness subject to cross-examination and direct examination.

Well, they (senators who signed the report by Senator Magsaysay on the fertilizer scam) can be asked but what can they say? That they knew the actual fact? They only knew what they heard from the witnesses. As far as the report is concerned, all they have to say is, "yes, that's my signature." We do not even have to call him. We can agree that that is the signature of a sitting senator who signed the report.

On the possibility of Ombudsman Gutierrez resigning

SP: Sino pa ang lilitisin mo kung nag-resign na? Wala ng respondent. Magiging moot na ang impeachment case. Ang hindi ko masasagot diyan ay kung ang resignation niya, because you know the penalty for an impeachment case is removal from office if a person is found guilty plus perpetual disqualification to hold public office, 'yun ang hindi ko masasagot. Hindi ko alam ang disposition non. First of all, should the person impeached escape the impeachment by resigning because that is very telling penalty of perpetual disqualification from holding public office. That I cannot understand. That's a tricky legal question that has to be studied carefully.

On disqualifying senators who talks about the merits of the case on interviews

SP: Well, it would be the prosecution if he is talking in favor of the respondent. They can act that they have already made a pre-judgment, we ask that you inhibit yourselves. Or if it's against the respondent, it's the counsel for the respondent.

That will be addressed to individual persons. Hindi kami, I don't think we can rule on the disqualification. If he will not inhibit himself, they can go to the Higher Court to ask for relief.

On the Impeachment Trial ending this year

SP: Hindi ko target 'yun. Ang sabi ko, matatapos siguro namin. Problema ng prosecution 'yun kung madadaldal ang mga witnesses na gagamitin. You know, they have to prepare their case very well and compress the presentation of evidence in such a way that at least, the essential facts are put on the record. Ganoon din sa defense. Ako naman, bilang Presiding Officer, I will not allow dilatory tactics to delay the proceedings. I would know if ang purpose is lolokohin ang Senado para patagalin ang kaso.

On the proposal to postpone the ARMM elections

SP: I cannot answer that question because it is in the hands of the Committee. We have to accept the fact that this impeachment was not the act of the Senate. It is our duty to receive it and try it. It emanated from the House and that is justified under the Constitution that any impeachable officer, when there is a ground to impeach him or her, must be impeached. And in the case of the Ombudsman, she was impeached by the House and the impeachment is now before the Senate for disposition. So, we have to attend to that because the Constitution says so. If we do not attend to it, we will be committing a violation of the Constitution and we'll be answerable to the people.

Maybe when we go to sine die, and the ARMM Bill is not disposed before we go to sine die, then the President, within his rights, can call for a special session.

On former President Arroyo being called during the Impeachment Trial

SP: It depends kung may basehan sila. Tatanungin ko what is the relevance. What is the materiality? What is the pertinence of the testimony of that person to the impeachement? What do you want to bring out? You cannot just call anybody without explaining why you are calling that person to testify.

Pwede siyang patawag kung may rason. Kung walang rason, hindi ko papayagan. It doesn't matter kung witness siya. Kahit na siya ay congressman o senator at hiningi ng anumang panig sa impeachment na dadalo, kung may rason sila, 'yun ang importante. They have to explain why you are asking this person to appear in this proceeding. Hindi pwedeng mag-file sila ng request without stating a purpose.

Whether it is a trial of the former President or not, for as long as they can justify the appearance then maybe we will approve it. If they can't justify, I'll deny it.

If there is a justifiable reason relevant, material and pertinent for her to appear, we have a coercive power to make her appear. But the threshold issue is relevant ba 'yung kanyang appearance or panloloko lang para pahiyain siya. I'm not going to be a party to embarrassing people.

On the Court ruling of the legitimacy of Danding Cojuangco's 20% ownership of San Miguel

SP: Danding was the one who bought the shares for himself. I know that. I was there. In fact, I tell you, Enrique Zobel was a very good friend of mine. He was in charge of the business of Ayala during those years and one morning, I was already a member of Batasang Pambansa, Ramon Silay, who's now dead and a very close friend of mine, came to my house to tell me that the Ayalas through Enriquito Zobel were disposing their 20% in San Miguel and he asked me if I was interested. I said, "Ramon, I don't have that kind of money to buy those shares. I will find out if my friends are interested." Then I called up Danding on my way to the Batasan from my car. I said, "Danding, I heard this information. You talk to Enriquito if you are interested." And I think he did. I was the Chairman of the United Coconut Planters Bank at that time and during one of our meetings in the bank, I asked him what happened to the matter I told you about. He told me, "Manong, mahal masyado. Gusto nila singkwenta pesos per share." Noon, ang presyo ng San Miguel sa merkado ay 22 pesos. Sabi ko, "Hindi mahal 'yan kung you can ask Enriquito to convince other stockholders to sell their shares to form a bloc to control San Miguel. That's what he did and he succeeded apart from the 20% of Ayala to convince Ortols, the Todas, the religious orders, Augustinians, Franciscans and the Recoletos and so on and so forth to sell their shares with a total bloc of 47% if I'm not mistaken. So, the 27% were placed in the name of 11 corporations. They were bought by the 11 corporations. The 20% were bought by Danding and they borrowed money from the United Coconut Planters Bank. Where that money came from, I do not know because when the bank lends money, it does not identify the money that is used for lending. There is no earmark for money. They're co-mingled. So, the CIIF trust fund of the coconut farmers was deposited with the United Coconut Planters Bank and it was there. It's possible that the actual amount drawn to cover the borrowings of Danding and the 11 corporations came from the trust fund. So, the shares were bought by Danding. If Danding was paying those shares to the UCPB to retire his borrowings, how can you say that he's not the owner. I knew all these transactions. I handled them.

On the PCGG filing for a motion for reconsideration

SP: Good luck. If he paid the loan, hindi naman niya ninakaw 'yun, hindi naman niya dinugas 'yung bangko, inutang niya dun sa trust fund 'yung pera and he paid for it. Now, he was the president of the bank at that time. That is a DOSRI. Now, it's a question if that is within the limit of a DOSRI.

On Senator Enrile filing a Bill on CIIF loss

'Yung na-file ko ngayon, it involves naman losses. Ako ang gumawa niyang CIIF trust na 'yan sa bangko. Ako mismo ang awtor niyan, ng UCPB na 'yan na nilustay nila ang pera. Mayroong usapin ang gobyerno dyan. Sapagkat noong sinequester nila 'yang bangko na 'yan. Napaka-prosperous niyang bangko na 'yan. Nung hinawakan ng gobyerno na 'yan, nabangkarote. Pagkatapos, pumasok ang PDIC. What gave PDIC power to infuse money when it is an insuring body and then dilute the minority stockholders in the bank because of a mismanagement done by the government. Those poor minority stockholders there who paid for their shares have nothing to do with the bankruptcy of the bank. It was the responsibility of the government. That's why when they are going to hear this case, maraming kabulukan na lalabas sa kaso na 'yan. I have a special, personal interest in seeing to it that what we did is not being destroyed. 'Yung CIIF, I was told, which is a trust fund, was allowed later on by the PCGG officials tasked to handle the bank to invest in preferred shares of the bank with guaranteed dividends. There was an accumulated amount of Php 700 million unpaid dividends to the CIIF by the bank itself. Later on, those preferred shares were converted to common shares without any guaranteed dividends and worse the accumulated dividends unpaid by the bank were waived, forgiven, without the say so of other stockholders. Who are they to do that? That's a total mismanagement of the bank. Why it was allowed? I don't know and we're going to unravel this. Mas grabe 'yan kasi it involves millions of coconut farmers. Ngayon, 'yung mga coconut refiners, nagkalugi-lugi. They lost Php 1.5 billion and they want to pinpoint responsibility. Hindi naiintindihan ng gobyerno na may mga kompanya sa labas na dapat nilang tingnan, nirurutrot ng mga empleyado ng PCGG na iniligay sa mga kompanya na 'yan.

May Php 2.5 billion na in-invest namin para sa mga coconut farmers. Hindi ba ngayon may Php 64 billion na 'yung 27%. E 'yung mga refineries na naiwan at kompanya na nasa labas. Iimbestigahan natin para malaman natin. Alam mo ba, ako nga noong nag-retire sa UCPB, ang retirement pay ko ay Php 7 million. Andoon, iniwan ko sa kanila sa special account. Tinanong ko kung anong ginawa sa Php 7 million, sabi ko ilagay sa scholarship fund. Wala yata kaya gusto ko itanong sa kanila. I left it in the bank for scholarship of the coconut farmers and needy Filipinos.

On the fuel subsidy of the Aquino administration

They can use that fund for whatever purpose but I would suggest that they should carefully look at it because that must be covered by an enactment of Congress authorizing the subsidy. You cannot pay out money from the Treasury without an appropriation authorized by the Congress. I'm sure that they know what they're doing but I'm just cautioning that they should be very very careful. First of all, the Malampaya gas share of the government is supposed to be a trust fund placed in special account. I think it is under the law that it has to be used for exploration for petroleum resources of the country. Now, whether they are authorized to divert it for any other purpose than that is something else. I had a Bill to ask Congress to authorize the use of that money to reduce the cost of power to the public. Until now, that Bill is pending in the Congress. But to use it as a subsidy without the appropriation by law is going to be problematic and I hope they will look into it carefully so that they'll not run into any Constitutional issue.

On the burial of former President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

I have always been in favor to burying the former President to the Libingan ng mga Bayani. You cannot deny the fact that he saw the muzzle of the guns of the Japanese in Bataan. He went through the Death March and when he was released he went underground just like the rest of us and fought the Japanese through the end of the war. He was a member of the United States Armed Forces of Northern Luzon. This generation of Filipinos fought a foreign power that invaded us and I think that all of them are entitled to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani regardless of medals or no medals. He, as a soldier who fought that war, is entitled to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. I am not denigrating the people who are denying him that right. I don't think that they have ever seen the muzzle of a foreign enemy and confronted that muzzle of that gun in a combat. He fought a war for the country, for the Filipino people.

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