Press Release
June 13, 2011

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the Seized Container of Illegal Wildlife Trade

SP Imposible naman na, una, as prosecutors they should know, more or less, the gravity of the situation. Kaya 'yun ang unang tinanong ko, gaano ba kabigat ang penalty. Akalain mo, reclusion temporal. Ngayon, kung ganoon ang kaso dapat alam na nila na malaki ang kahulugan noon sa bansa. They should have taken pains in building a good case. They just filed a case in the Metropolitan Trial Court instead of in the Regional Trial Court so they really wanted to just try a pro forma case with a light penalty against this person. Why? My answer is that probably they are looking well as a businessman so I don't want to make any conclusion after that. Anyone can conclude obviously that something was wrong. Second, if they have any question to ask about the evidence, it is his duty as prosecutor to ask the law enforcement people about the kind of evidence that they need. But evidently, they do not even bother to do that. There's no initiative on their part to get the correct evidence so that they can build up a good case for the government. Third point, he was relieved from his post in the city of Zamboanga, returned to Basilan and his chief wanted to reassign the 30 cases to other prosecutors so that this can be attended to while he was gone. He asked the chief to retain the cases to him yet he did not do anything. The impression that I got was he wanted to finish the cases as soon as possible. Evidently, he did that to delay the case, to intentionally, deliberately delay the case. He went to Basilan, never did anything and when he returned, then he started to look at the case again. So, what's the meaning of that? Only to file in 2011 a criminal case in the Metropolitan Trial Court instead of Regional Trial Court and then when it goes up to the level of the city prosecutor, he did not do anything to supervise his underlings. Why? I don't think he's that busy not to see the movement of the cases in his jurisdiction. What is he doing? You go further up. It's the same thing in the department. They have no check and balance. I am talking of public administration. So, I was a little bit taken aback by this kind of attitude. So, that's why I pointed out to the Undersecretary of Justice that this is now your responsibility. Show us that you can really prosecute, not just posturing. And then, he returned, according to them in 2009. At that point, it took him more than a year to study a simple case. All the affidavits of charging the persons concerned plus the counter-affidavits of the person charged have already been filed but he did not make any reservation. It's up to you to make a conclusion.

Q Sir, ano ang sagutin ng mga prosecutors dito?

SP If I were the Secretary of Justice, I will fire them. That's the only way to teach lessons to people. If they keep doing that, then you have an efficient service.

Q Pwede silang kasuhan, sir?

SP Kung may dereliction of duty, which I think there is, pwede. In fact, when you fire them, you have to file an administrative charge against them.

Q Sir, 'yung extradition, DOJ din 'yun?

SP DOJ na 'yun.

On the confiscated black corrals

Q Sir, kahit po ba 'yung NBI, mayroon din po silang kapalpakan kasi kinasuhan nila 'yung "Joe Pring"?

SP 'Yun nga. Pwede ba 'yung nagfa-file ka, you just base it on intelligence report? You do not check kung existing 'yung tao na 'yun? If he's alive or he's a ghost or whether that's the real name. Tinuturo 'yun sa lahat ng lawyers, mga imbestigador, mga intelligence officer. Hindi sila makawala sa akin. Pati 'yung naval intelligence, they have to identify the subject matter. Sinasabi nila noon, kapag bumabasa ako ng intelligence report, sasabihin X aka so and so aka so and so. Lahat ng alias nandoon.

Q So sir, not only the prosecutors including NBI?

SP All. Para makita mo na tama 'yung sinabi ni Senator Zubiri na sabi niya, "Akong bahala. Kaya ko 'yan." That's how sure he was because the implication is that he has all these people under his thumb.

Q Sir, ano po ang dapat nai-file na kaso ng mga prosecutor doon sa mag-asawa?

SP Principle by inducement or indispensable cooperation kasi kung hindi niya bibilin, walang kukuha sa dagat. Siya lang ang bumibili. Wala naman ibang namimili noon kung hindi siya lang. There's no evidence of anybody else. Principle by inducement because kung he does not assure them of a market for the activities of the gatherer, they will not destroy the coral reef. Simple lang 'yun. You study that in second year law. Mga batikanong abogado na itong mga 'to. Alam na nila 'yun. Bakit hindi nila ginamit? Tinanong ko sa kanila di ba?

Q Are you willing to...

SP Yes, madali lang i-prosecute 'yun. I will finish the case in one day.

Q Sir, pwede 'yun kahit senator kayo?

SP Hindi nga kaya I have to ask the Supreme Court to give me an exception. We cannot appear against the government but for the government, pwede.

On the Spratlys Island

Q Governor Salceda is asking the public to boycott China-made products.

SP Alam mo, kaibigan ko si Joey. I respect his position, but ako, I would rather tone down the rhetoric in order not to exacerbate our already delicate relationship with the People's Republic of China. Bear in mind that we have a healthy trading relationship with China. They are our neighbors, and even if we have this disagreement in the South China Sea, we should approach it with a friendly discussion of the problem. Of course I would also caution China in using or showing any sign of aggressiveness against the country. World public opinion would be a factor to be considered in this. They are using their very strong military capability to undermine the interest of a friendly neighbor, the world will raise their eyebrows.

On the use of "West Philippine Sea"

SP This is our sea, as much as the sea of China, China is not the owner of the sea. Freedom of the seas as Grotius, who was the pioneer in international law, said.

Q Hindi ba yun indication na mas may karapatan tayo sa Spratlys, yung pag-gamit natin ng West Philippine Sea?

SP Actually, pag tiningnan mo ang physical condition of Palawan in relation to the islands that we occupy, these are parts of the mass of Palawan island.

Q Can we invoke the MDT?

SP We can invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty, if our forces in the body of water between the Philippines and mainland Asia are attacked by anybody. I say that because the treaty area of the Mutual Defense Treaty is the Pacific area. The Pacific area starts from the coastline of Asia all the way to the coastline of America. That's the Pacific area. That is what the Mutual Defense Treaty covers. Any attack, the forces of either the United States or the Philippines in the treaty area, will win and attack against the parties to the Mutual Defense Treaty. We can invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty. Now, the Mutual Defense Treaty says in that event, when we invoke it, the other party, and the United States being party to the Mutual Defense Treaty, will act in accordance with our Constitutional processes. That is the difficulty of that agreement. So, if they say well, we will have to ask Congress first whether we will come to you or not. If it is an attack in Metropolitan Philippines, then the same thing, we can invoke it. What is Metropolitan Philippines? It is the area covered by the Treaty of Paris, as I understood the intention of the Philippines and the United States, when they concluded the Mutual Defense Treaty. Outside of that, it depends upon the war that is involved. If it is a naval vessel of the Philippines, then you can invoke it, or a force of the Philippines, you can invoke it, but for one country occupying the islands or atolls, or place of the so-called Spratlys, then that will be a problem. We can invoke the Law of the Sea through the United Nations, if they will violate our EEZ, special economic zone, because there is a treaty among nations.

Q At what point can we invoke?

SP If they are going to explore, they are going to exploit, gather any valuable materials in the area, harvest fish in the area, we can invoke. Now, if they just pass through, what we call innocent passage, they should at least notify us.

Q Malacañang has been invoking that we have the Mutual Defense Treaty?

SP Dapat pag-aralan. Marami kaming diskusyon d'yan. Tatlong taon kaming nagbalitaktakan d'yan sa Amerika, at saka mga Amerikano d'yan sa Mutual Defense Treaty at military bases.

Q Yung situation ngayon na parang pagbully ng China, hindi ba pwede invoke yung MDT?

SP Hindi pa. Kung dadaan yung mga eroplano nila within the 200 mile economic zone natin, that is not covered by the Law of the Sea. Yung airspace hindi involved dun. Pero yung exploitation within that 200 miles, in my opinion, that will be a proper issue brought to the attention of the United Nations under the Law of the Sea. Now, if there is an attack against our naval vessels or against any of our aircrafts within that airspace, from the coastline of the western side of the Philippines all the way to the mainland of Asia, or the coastline of the Americas, then we can invoke the mutual Defense Treaty because that is the treaty area.

Q Can we count on the US?

SP That is another issue. Can we count on them? I do not know. You better ask them," can we count on you?"

Q The fact na MDT..?

SP Walang automatic retaliatory provision. That is what we have been asking them before.

Q Like the Philippines, will the US have to go through their own Congress?

SP I am just quoting the provision of the Mutual Defense Treaty as I remember them, that each country will respond according to Constitutional processes.

Q Do you see a need to review and amend the MDT?

SP You can review it if the other party wants to review it. You cannot just say "hey, let's review it." You are dealing with a sovereign country, you can terminate it, by giving them a notice of one year if you want to terminate it but I would not advocate a termination of the Mutual Defense Treaty even in our present condition.

On Gov. Salceda's call to boycott Chinese products.

SP Okay yun kung papayagan ng lahat ng Pilipino. An action like that has repercussions. They can tell all you Filipino people in China, go home. Sasabihin din nila, lahat ng mga produkto ng Filipino companies dito sa China, ibo-boycott din. Ewan ko kung sino ang matatalo dyan. Alam mo, tayo, dahan-dahan. Sinabi ko nung tinanong ninyo ako, kung murahin tayo, murahin din natin. Pero pag sinugod tayo, teka muna. Medyo lumayo-layo muna tayo.

Q Hindi ba nagpapakita ng aggression on the part of the Philippines using the term West Philippine Sea?

SP Hindi naman aggression yun. Gusto mo lang sabihin ay yung tubig na ito ay West Philippines. Yung tubig doon sa Northern phase of Luzon ay Northern Philippine Sea. All the way to whatever. Pag sinabi naman ng Malaysia, this is Malaysian Sea. Sabi naman ng Vietnam, this is Vietnam Sea. Sasabihin ng Indonesia, this is Indonesian Sea. It is your sea only if you can defend it. If you can defend it, it is your sea. That's why sinasabi ng China, that is my lake. The body of water known as South China Sea is my lake, because I can defend it. Alam mo, binansagan lang ng mga banyaga. Hindi naman China ang nagbansag nun, na China yun. Yung mga colonizer natin, mga foreigners na gumawa ng mapa ng mundo, ang nagsabi na yan ang North China Sea, South China Sea. Ang akala nila, isang bayan lang ang nandito nun, China. Hindi ba i-noccupy nila ang China? Walang nakakaalam na mayroong Pilipinas. Wala pang Pilipinas nung ginawa nila yung mapa.

Q Sino dapat ang magresolve nito?

SP Sa International Court of Justice. Di ba nagkaroon na tayo ng kaso involving the island of Las Palmas? The island of Las Palmas was a part of the island that was ceded by treaty to us. That's why it's called Las Palmas. It is the name given by the Spaniards, and it was brought to the International Court of Justice and the International Court of Justice resolved it in favor of Indonesia. That is why Indonesia got that island from us. The island of Las Palmas.

Q Would it be better for the Philippines to bring it up with the ICJ?

SP Eventually it has to be resolved somewhere. Pero kung tayo ay mahina, maski na ikaw, kung malaki yung pamilya ko at nag-iisa ka lang, at pinag-aawayan natin, sasabihin ko sa aking lupa ito, anong magagawa mo?

Q Lahat ng claimant sir dapat na umakyat sa ICJ?

SP Kung papayag sila. Kailangan there is a mutual agreement to submit it to the jurisdiction of the International Court.

Q Pero sir, kung tayo ang umaalma ngayon, dapat tayo ang mag-initiate?

SP Only if the other parties agree. They have to agree. The International Court of Justice cannot take the case unless all the parties agree. Paano mag-aagree ang International Court, China is a member of the National Security Council? We are not. Sino ang mga members ng National Security Council? China, America, England, France, Russia and I don't know whether Canada, anim sila.

Q Kung mag-agree ang China?

SP Hindi mag-aagree yun. Sasabihin lang nila, belat.

Q Hindi ba mas may karapatan tayo kasi mas malapit sa atin 'yung isla?

SP Oo nga, pero maski na nasa lupain mo, kung wala kang pangsangga, kukunin sa iyo. That is a fact of life. Doon sa Cambodia at Thailand, mga hektarya ang pinag-aawayan, ganyan 'yan. Kaya kailangan, pag-isipan natin. Hindi naman ako militaristic pero kapag narinig mo si Henry Kissinger, real politics. Ibig sabihin noon, ano ba ang kaya mo? Ang tanong, ano ba ang kaya mo? Ano ang kaya ko? 'Yung sa relasyon ng mga bansa, 'yan ang basic. When you go to the negotiating table, you must know your capabilities, available resources. Kung wala kang alas at lahat pangit 'yung baraha mo, dehado ka.

Q Sir, paano nga matatapos?

SP Hindi matatapos 'yan.

Q Girian lang ng girian?

SP May tatakbo diyan. Hindi pwedeng wala. Sa katunayan, kailangang pag-usapan ng mahinahon. Tama 'yung ginagawa ng Presidente natin na nakikipag-litratuhan. Tama 'yun. Hindi pwede na hindi mo kakaibiganin. Wala naman tayong kakayahan na kagaya ni Adolf Hitler nung siya ay nag-uumpisa. Sinabi niya sa Inglatera, kay Churchill, Winston, ilan bang mga squadron ng eroplano mo, battalions mo? Ito ang akin. Tapos nagpunta si Chamberlain sa kanila, pinagbigyan niya si Hitler. Nauwi sa giyera.

Q Sir, kung mahinahon si President, dapat ang mga government officials dapat mas mahinahon din?

SP Magaling din naman ang Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Sinasabi niya na mali ang ginagawa ninyo. At least ginegenerate niya, world public opinion. Palagay ko, dahil doon, ang America naman nagpadala ng destroyer para Ipakita niya na wag tayong mag-away-away. Kapag nag-away kayo, masasangkot ang buong mundo. 'Yun ang indikasyon noon. Alam mo, ang mga nation, hindi gagalaw 'yan ng walang kahulugan. Hindi sila nagsasalita. They just do. Ang pagpapadala ng destroyer ng America rito, hindi sosyal 'yun. May ibig sabihin 'yun, wag kayong masyadong magulo diyan dahil masasangkot kami kapag magulo kayo.

Q When it reaches a point na kailangan ng Malacañang iinvoke ang MDT, will it need to be approved by the Senate?

SP No need to go to Congress.

Q The President will decide?

SP Yes. He is the commander-in-chief. He can call on the Armed Forces to come to our aid if there is a reason for it. Baka sabihin ni Obama, tingnan muna namin kung gusto naming sumali diyan.

Q In the case of Mr. Aquino, does the Philippines finally need to invoke the MDT?

SP That is an executive function. Ngayon, kung magdedeklara sya ng giyera, iba 'yun. He has to involve the Congress. I'm not saying na magdeklara tayo ng giyera. I'm just telling you the process. When you invoke the treaty, it's the function of the President. But when he will already make a declaration of hostilities against any country, then he has to ask the permission of Congress. Just to call on the Americans to come to our aid, doesn't mean that they have to go to war with us. They can probably use their good offices to gently tell China to tone down. Please do not go further and create anymore Rockwell chillings in a diplomatic way. Mayroon silang paraan diyan. Pero tayo naman, wag naman tayong magyabang na kaya natin. Kagaya ng sinabi ko, kapag mumurahin tayo, magmumura lang tayo. Kapag sumugod sila beyond the mura, alam mo na ang ibig sabihin noon.

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