Press Release
August 4, 2011

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Kapihan sa Senado

Q: Will you give us a rundown of what happened in caucus kasi vague and parang left hanging yung decision with no official decision.

Let me clarify those two matters: one, the Senate caucus and two, the role of SET vis a vis the COMELEC, the Senate, etc.

The caucus. Usually a resignation, unless it is irrevocable needs to be accepted. Like any employee, a senator can file his resignation but until it is accepted or when it has no date of effectivity, when do you consider that person resigned?

But it was not clear if a senator or a congressman resigns, who gives the acceptance. I guess we all looked at the intent. The intent of Sen. Zubiri was to let the legal process move on, let the SET freely decide and not to hold on to his Senate seat while this is happening to free him and his family from more stress, frustration and everything.

That's why yesterday I clarified that I believe that it is an admirable act and I'd like to see more people take that kind of accountability even if he said that he was not admitting any fault and this does not mean we are already judging kung sino ang nandaya o hindi. Let's see that when it happens.

("If GMA had done the same, she could've been judged better by history...")

I mentioned yesterday that in fact dapat yan ang ginawa ni Presidente Arroyo before. Nung lumabas yung Hello Garci and all of these, she should have taken an indefinite leave or better, she should have resigned. She might have had a better chance of redemption and be judged better by history if she let the investigations happened.

("Senators should not take it upon themselves to decide on the resignation of MigZ")

Having said that, what did the senators decide? The senators decided that we should not even vote or take it upon ourselves to decide whether or not we should accept a resignation. We should just take it at face value. So kapag sinabi ng isang senador na resign, resign ka na.

I agree with it, why? Because you'll be put in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Who wants to vote to accept a resignation of your colleague? We live in a society na extended family so whether you agree sa kasama mo politically or not, araw araw mong kasama yun.

If you're going to vote that we should not accept his resignation, pagbibintangan ang Senado na we're part of a moro-moro.That will be an injustice not only to the Senate but also to Sen. Zubiri himself who did this act. We don't want that his unselfish act be tainted because senators refuse to accept the resignation.

I think that rule is quite a good rule. Kung may nagsabing resign siya and he did it on the floor or he did it in writing, consider them resigned.

("As far as the SET is concerned, they have their own set of procedures.")

But my understanding from Sen. Zubiri's speech yesterday was that he was instructing the SET na bilisan nila.

In one of the radio stations in the afternoon, I heard him being interviewed and he said pinapa-pull out na niya yung revisors and ang understanding ko, they will not pursue the SET case anymore.

Assuming that my understanding is correct, and please verify this with him or his office, assuming that they've instructed their lawyers not to pursue the counter protest, this will enable the SET to decide right away because they will decide solely on the protest. To my knowledge, Mr. Pimentel garnered enough votes in the protest to overtake the votes of Sen. Zubiri.

Assuming I'm wrong and that they will pursue the counter-protest, dapat tapusin muna ng SET yung counter-protest. However, this may take some time dahil napakaraming precints ang pinapapabilang.

That's why Justice Carpio and Sen. Pia Cayetano dissented their decision when the SET decided to count all the other ballots or all of the other counter-protested precincts because it will consume almost the whole six years of the term.

("Wake up call for the SET")

Whatever is correct, I think that this is a wake up call for the SET. We do understand that this was done under a manual type of election so it will really take time. This is also a call to speed up the decision so we will not be overtaken by events.

Again, let me reiterate that if he is withdrawing his counter-protest or saying that they can decide now, it will speed up very much the decision. I do know that the two members would need a few days to read the records of what happened in the past four years already.

Q: Can that recall be considered a forfeiture of his protest?

Even if someone withdraws his case, the SET still has to act on its merits. If you remember the uniqueness of this case, usually ang nagwwithdraw ng case yung nagpprotest. This time ang nagwwithdraw ng protest ay yung nag-counter-protest o yung nakaupo.

So for you to remove a sitting senator, you have to have a final decision wherein they count votes and tabulated it and his votes were overtaken. To my knowledge, this took place if you will only consider the precincts contested by Mr. Pimentel because he contested basically Maguindanao and there were enough votes there that will either be nullified or be credited to him or not credited to Sen. Zubiri.

Q: When you said that the Chamber has taken his resignation at face value, does this mean that Zubiri's name will still be in the Senate roll?

I assume it should not be in the roll already starting next Monday when we have our session.

Q: Bakit hindi nalang i-put on record na tinatanggap ng Senate ang resignation?

Because if we accept it, we will be admitting that we have the power to accept it. And then it will become a precedent and every time that happens we will have to vote.

For example, if we told ourselves that let's just accept it , that will be considered a vote. Meaning we voted not to accept a resignation or not, we had a consensus or unanimous that when someone resigns, accepted na yun.

Q: Paano naman yung question na next time pag may nagresign sa inyo ba ulit ba pupunta?

Let me put it this way, in effect what we're saying is that any resignation in the Senate is an irrevocable resignation. So if someone stands up at the floor or sign a letter of resignation, we'll consider that resignation.

Of course, if we just talk about it outside and it's not in a formal proceeding, meaning it's not in the plenary or it's not in a letter, then we will not consider it resignation yet because it could be done in jest or just contemplation of resigning.

But I you say it on the floor or you sign the letter, my interpretation is that we automatically accept that. I think it's the better rule because what's to stop a senator or a congressman from saying "I resign" and all of his colleagues say "Hindi ko tatanggapin"? People will always speculate.

That's the difference between the private sector when you're only accountable to your stockholders and the public sector where you're accountable not only to the people who voted for you but to everyone. Public trust yan eh. Mawawalan ng trust sa institution and sa nagreresign if there will be a process where we are able to wittingly or unwittingly deceive the public.

Q: So the inclusion of the word irrevocable would have meant that wala nang choice ang Senate kundi to receive right away?

That's also true but I don't think Sen. Zubiri even considered that we will vote not to accept his resignation. I think on hindsight, he would have probable put it there but very clear an intention pati sa speech niya that he meant to resign. So we're going to take it at that.

From now on, anyone who resigns sa Senate, walang bawian.

Q: Diba parang wake up call rin yun that it's about time that the chamber has some fast rule on resignations?

In effect yes and in effect this is now the rule.

Q: Yun ba ay applicable rin sa lahat ng parliamentary members katulad sa Congress kung may nagresign din na congressman? Kasi kahapon hindi natin nakita ang mabilis na aksyon ng Senate President so mukhang may gray area talaga pa rin sa ganyang issue.

Under the Constitution, each House will pass its own rules. I'm not sure but if I'm not mistaken, now-Vice Mayor, then-Mayor Duterte resigned but hindi inaccept ng Chamber.

("Each House is really left to its own rules.")

Either plenary or a letter addressed to the plenary or the Senate President. I'm just saying that in those three cases that a letter addressed to everyone or a letter addressed to the Senate President or a letter addressed to the plenary no one can question it. Unlike if you were in a speech or a committee hearing, you just blurt it out people can say it's unofficial. But here, people can say that it's clear.

This only happens because it's not clear in any law. But for other positions in government, malinaw yun. So I guess the framers of the Constitution did not contemplate or did not want to deal with situations where a member of Congress resigns and left it up to Senate and House to pass its own rules every Congress.

Q: Meron bang nalalabag dito? Kasi halimbawa, senator or congressman, halal ng bayan, bibitiw siya sa posisyon niya na walang personal na dahilan man, meron ba yang nalalabag sa Konstitusyon?

The only nearest law existing in our statutes of the Revised Penal Code is if you refuse to take office. But once you take office, even in the first day you can resign. There is no criminal or civil liability for resigning.

In fact, it depends on the circumstance of your resignation. Meaning, if you're resigning out of shame, mahihirapan ka nang makabalik. But if it's an honorable act then you might have a chance in the future. But that's up to the electorate.

But there's no criminal or civil liability, there's no crime to speak off when a public official chooses to resign. If you remember, when a member of the House or Senate accepts a Cabinet position, in effect he is also resigning.

In fact there are situations, for example when you join the Cabinet, that even if you don't submit a resignation then you are considered resigned. For example, before the Election Code was amended, if you're a senator and you're going to run for a different position, you are considered resigned. It was only changed before the 2004 elections but before that was a different form of resignation.

Q: Ano ba ang process once nagdecide na yung SET na ideclare na si Koko Pimentel? Kailangan pa ba siyang iproclaim ng COMELEC?

It will be the SET themselves who will proclaim and then he will take his oath before the Senate. The members are Justice Antonio Carpio, Justice Velasco, Justice Leonardo-de Castro, Senator Angara was replaced by Sen. Trillanes, then Sen. Honasan, Sen. Lapid, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Sen. Trillanes, then Sen. Loren was replaced by Sen. Revilla.

Q: Bakit may nagsasabi like Sen. Angara na kailangan pa ng proclamation ng COMELEC?

I don't know the exact technically kasi theoretically ang nagpproclaim sa presidente at vice president ay ang National Board of Canvassers which is Congress acting as the canvassers. Senators kasi COMELEC ang nagpproclaim.

But usually, for example, if you win an RTC or MTC case sa protesta yung decision na iyon would be sufficient enough for you to go to a judge or any official with whom you can take oath then mag-swear in ka na.

Ang alam ko ay enough na yung SET. But maybe the COMELEC and SET will talk on whether they have this formality.

Q: Once na maproclaim si Koko, counted ba kay Zubiri yun as one term o kay Koko?

I may be wrong pero ang alam ko na pag napalitan ka at naconsider na nanalo ka dahil sa pandaraya or hindi ikaw dapat ang nakaupo doon, hindi counted yun. Pero kung resignation lang considered na one term.

If Koko Pimentel is not is not proclaimed or he does not become senator by 2013 then it is considered one term for Sen. Zubiri. But under jurisprudence if you're removed then it's considered na hindi ka nakaupo.

Q: Kung mapproclaim si Atty. Koko, mga gaano katagal kaya kasi may nagsabi na 2 months or 2 weeks?

It's really up to the SET. But it will really depend on whether or not Sen. Zubiri is withdrawing his counter-protest. Pag tinanggal yung counter-protest, days or weeks, matagal na ang months. But pagka-andiyan pa rin yung counter-protest, it may take much longer.

Based on his statements on the radio station yesterday, yes (the counter-protests have been forfeited). But the SET cannot act based on news reports. They'll have to be formal manifestation or pleading filed by the lawyers of Sen. Zubiri. I have no reason to doubt that Sen. Zubiri will do what he said in his interviews.

Q: What about Zubiri's bills and committees? Anong mangyayari doon?

Well, 'yung bills kung meron iba namang nag-author noon, then it will go on pero 'yung siya lang nag-author, someone would have to refile it. 'Yung committees, it will be up to the majority kung kanino mapupunta 'yung committees.

Q: Paano makakaapekto 'yung pagpasok ni Koko Pimentel sa 15th Congress?

Well, we'll cross the bridge when we get there. Someone asked me that yesterday--will it affect the balance of power in the Senate. I said that there's only three in the minority so even if tatlo, apat ang dumagdag sa minority, medyo heavily balanced pa rin towards the majority.

But in the sense that there are laws or there are constitutional provisions that require a certain number of senators to pass a bill, a treaty, etc. Then, one member will, for example kung natuloy 'yung impeachment, 'di ba sa impeachment minsan kailangan 2/3 ang kailangan mo.

And of course, you never know. Because in the Senate, the officers serve at the pleasure of their fellow members or colleagues--whether it's the majority leader, the minority leader, senate president so you never know but I don't see any immediate changes.

I don't see if and when Atty. Pimentel joins the Senate. I don't think one man will, by himself, unless there are other circumstances, would dictate a major shakeup. I don't see that.

The majority can decide to give any committee to a new member, withhold any committee so in the same manner remember that Sen. Migz, nahuli siya ma-proclaim. So actually binigyan din siya ng committee but 'yung major committees hawak na nung iba, hindi rin tinransfer sa kanya.

Q: Is it safe to say he will be in the minority like his father?

I wouldn't want to assume just because I'd like him to be the one to announce himself, where he'd be comfortable with. I mean he's also very close to certain members in the administration and remember in the Senate, minority, majority depends on how you voted for the Senate President and not on what you political party or alliance is.

So I'd rather wait if and when it happens and then let him make his own decision. Of course he will be an asset and a welcome addition to either group.

Q: Posible bang maging witness si Sen. Zubiri? Pwede ba siyang ipatawag?

Theoretically, tama ka. Because you cannot call a fellow member or a member of the house. May parliamentary courtesy. But if you're no longer a member and your name was mentioned, you may be called.

But I think partially that's why he resigned. One, to spare his family from the pain. Two, so that he cannot be accused of using his position to protect himself or his position. Theoretically, that may be true but I do believe we'll exercise some sort of courtesy unless the investigation completely warrants calling him or whatever.

Q: Maituturing ba siyang credible witness?

Personally, I don't believe in the concept of credible witnesses or witnesses na hindi credible. Ako kasi ang paniniwala ko, put them on the stand and whether credible sila or hindi, tingnan mo 'yung sagot.

So kung nagsasabi ng totoo, okay. Kung hindi nagsasabi ng totoo, magagamit mo pa rin 'yung witness na 'yun to show that he is lying. So for example, inimbitahan si First Gentleman, I don't believe that he'll tell the truth but I do believe pa rin may purpose 'yung him being there and I'm willing to listen and give him the benefit of the doubt.

And just mentioning that, Manong Jun may I just say that I do personally believe na ang former First Gentleman, ang FFG, ay mag-T-TNT or magtatago nang tago sa Senado or from other probes. They keep saying that sa tamang venue or legal process.

The Senate investigation is part of the legal process and is a correct venue. His health is always a priority and we should respect that and pray for him when he does need medical care but nagtaka lang ako na St. Luke's siya parati even in terms of emergency but 'pag may senate hearing biglang sa Hong Kong na 'yung kanyang doctor.

And I do believe that the Senate can make preparations and can talk to his people to make sure that we can manage the stress levels of the hearing including the time, including the manner of asking questions.

I can assure him that we will be gentlemen and that the ladies will be proper or will be ladies when we ask the questions and just like the bishops did not protest how they were treated in the senate. But they cannot keep dodging the ball. Sooner or later, they'll have to appear and they have to be accountable.

So the former first gentleman was already invited for the August 11 hearing. I do suspect and I do expect that he will say that you know, medical, I cannot come home, kaya sabi ko mag-t-TNT but kung walang tinatago, harapin na lang. Sagutin na lang 'yung mga questions siya mismo.

(On FG not having any signature traces: "we never said he was stupid")

Secondly, on the statement of his lawyers, saying that walang pirma 'yung first gentleman, ergo, wala siyang liability. We never said that he was stupid. Ang allegation ng marami vs. the first gentleman and the Arroyo Family na corrupt sila. Hindi na tanga sila.

What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is natural pag-nangorrupt ang hi-tech na corruption, wala namang pirma-pirma 'yan. Walang paper trail 'yan. But tama si Sen. Guingona that direct testimony and other evidence can be taken into account.

So kung merong witness na siya mismo nagsasabing kay FG 'to, binigay ko 'yung pera sa kanya, dinala ko and that can be verified and his testimony can be upheld, that's as good as a paper bearing his signature.

So 'wag tayo gawing tanga ng mga lawyers ni FG by saying just because walang paper trail, walang pirma, ergo, he's innocent. If they want to attack the credibility or they want to attack the testimony, that's up to them.

Kung sasabihin niyang false 'yung testimony, bilang abogado matatanggap mo na depensa 'yon. Pero kung sasabihin mo na wala kasing pirma, walang papel nan aka-pirma, natuto na sila e. Ilan na ang mga public officials in the past na nahuli o nakulong dahil nga very sloppy ang paperwork, nahabol 'yung paper trail.

Kaya nga may concept of dummies. Tinatago 'yung properties sa mga dummies. So the allegations versus the Arroyo Family is corruption and not stupidity. So I suggest we have an intelligent public debate and an intelligent investigation on this.

At huwag nating lokohin ang mga mamamayan by saying na walang pirma, walang papel, therefore innocent sila. Even ang korte, any judge will tell you that kahit walang pirma, pwede pa rin ma-convict ang isang tao kung may ibang ebidensya.

Ikaw ba 'pag may pinatay kang tao, may pirmahan pa ba 'yon? Pero 'pag sinabi ng witness nakita ko na pinatay niya, you will take that witness' testimony as evidence.

("habang ang perjury ay kalokohan lang sa ating bansa, we will continue to have false witnesses")

One of the proposals I'd like to make is really strengthening our law regarding perjury. Ang problema kasi sa ating bansa bawal magnakaw, I keep repeating this, bawal magnakaw ng konti. 'Pag malaki ninakaw, hindi nakukulong, lahat nagagawa pang-areglo.

'Pag nagnakaw ng konti para sa pamilya, may sakit, nakukulong. What's the relationship of that sa perjury? Sa Pilipinas naniniwala tayo na may batas na hindi tunay na batas o maliit na batas at may batas na mabigat.

Halimbawa sa United States o sa European countries, 'pag nagsinungaling ka sa korte o nagsinungaling ka sa kongreso, kulong ka. So 'yung witnesses, regardless kung credible o hindi, on guard sila kasi kahit na takot silang mawala career nila o takot silang mapagalitan ng boss o ma-float sila.

Halimbawa sa helicopter hearing o sa PCSO, maaaring may pumirma dahil na-pressure ng boss niya. Ayaw magsabi ng totoo kasi baka ma-float siya, matanggal sa trabaho. Pero kung takot ka na makukulong ka 'pag nagsinungaling ka o naging evasive ka or hindi ka gumawa ng tama sa hearing, then mas takot ka non kesa mawalan ng trabaho.

Pero sa atin walang ganoon. So katulad niyan, 'yung mga physicians, maraming sumusulat sa Senado na hindi pwede kliyente niya o nasa ospital, hindi natin ma-sort out kung sino 'yung ginagamit lang 'yung ospital o doctor para magtago at kung sino 'yung tunay na may sakit.

So definitely the Blue Ribbon Committee will inquire. We might even send a doctor. We might even contact their doctor but binabaliwala kasi ang mga batas sa ating bansa. Hindi lang sa Senado. Because nga, sinasabi nila na walang nakukulong sa perjury.

That's why I'm asking the DOJ, gawin ninyong sample 'yung kay Commissioner Garcillano. Dahil si Commissioner Garcillano nagsinungaling sa kongreso. Kaya si Sen. Ping, si now-Secretary Joel Villanueva, si now-Senator Guingona, and myself when we were congressmen, nag-file kami ng perjury sa Quezon City fiscal's office dahil sinabi ni Commissioner Garcillano na hindi siya umalis ng bansa pero may note verbal galing sa Singapore na nakapasok siya ng Singapore.

So kung hindi mo mapakulong ang ibang witnesses sa malalaking crime, pero nagsinungaling naman sila sa investigation, is a good first step. And it will send a clear signal sa mga witnesses, hindi lang sa mga mabubuting witnesses pati doon sa mga nag-iimbento ng storya.

Proteksyon na rin ng ibang private citizens at ng government officials na walang pumasok na magda-drama o mag-iimbento lang. But habang ang perjury ay kalokohan lang sa ating bansa, we will continue to have false witnesses, we'll continue to have witnesses who refuse to go to the Senate or the House or who will lie under oath.

Definitely, i-do-double check but definitely we have to beef up our enforcement mechanisms. Sa America, it's not even congress that enforces it. It's the attorney general.

Q: May binigay ng opinion ang doctors niya sa Hong Kong at inalis na siya sa watchlist.

We expected that. At 'yun nga ang sinasabi ko. Nagtataka ako bakit. Ang alam ko mga doctor niya at sobra nga ang puri niya dahil nga maselan na maselan ang kanyang operasyon at konti nagsu-survive doon pero sa awa ng Diyos, at sa galing ng, ginamit ang mga doctor at magaling sa St. Luke's that's why nga bilib na bilib sila doon.

Bakit 'pag may hearing biglang sa Hong Kong na 'yung doctor niya? He might have a reason I don't know. But definitely, what I'm saying is that I expect him to go on a tago-nang-tago mode or TNT mode but sooner or later kailangan nilang harapin ito.

And as I said, pwedeng gumawa ng arrangement ang Senado without giving special treatment na i-manage ang stress niya para masagot niya ang mga tanong. Kung si Gen. Garcia nga dati sa ospital e. Doon nag-hearing sa ospital ang mga congressman. I'm not proposing that the senators go to Hong Kong.

But don't tell me that within one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month, two months, hindi siya pwedeng umuwi ng Pilipinas para dito, para harapin ito. So whatever real medical condition he has, we will be sensitive and we will not put his health at risk. But he should not hide behind that either.

Q: Kailangan pa bang makisawsaw ang House at Senate dito sa reinvestigation ng Hello Garci tapes?

My personal opinion is yes, for the following reasons: Number one, sa ating bansa palaging sinasabing "case closed" pero hindi naman "case solved." Walang tamang closure. So 'yung mga nagsasabing paulit-ulit naman 'yang hearing na 'yan, kasi walang napaparusahan. Walang paghuhusga kung sinong guilty, sinong inosente at walang accountability.

Pangalawa, ang madalas na nagsasabing huwag nang imbestigahan 'yan or tama na, 'yung iba honest opinion nila 'yon. Pero marami na nagsasabi noon, 'yun 'yung iniimbestigahan katulad ni Garci.

("Nagsinungaling si Garci nung sinabi niyang may SC case na hindi siya pwedeng ipatawag")

Nagsinungaling si Garci nung sinabi niyang may Supreme Court case na hindi na siya pwedeng ipatawag sa senado. Ang sinabi ng supreme court, moot and academic na dahil 'yung kaso niya sa house dahil clinose na 'yung investigation or sinuspend indefinitely. Sa senado naman ang sinabi hindi pa published ang rules pero pinublish na ang rules ngayon.

Thirdly, let us remember na si Chairman Brillantes at nasa Comelec ang prosecutorial powers pagdating sa election fraud although may amendment sa batas na pati DOJ pwede, si Chairman Brillantes ay aminado siya na pamangkin niya at dating law partner 'yung ina-accuse na nag-break in dun sa House of Representatives at pinalitan 'yung mga ER.

At si Chairman Brillantes mismo nagsabi magi-inhibit siya kapag doon. So ako duda ako kung matutuloy-tuloy ni Chairman Brillantes ang imbestigasyon dahil may mga conflict of interest siyang haharapin.

Ako'y naniniwala na 'yung Garci Boys at si Commissioner Garcillano, kung totoong mga master operators, hindi lang naman si Presidente Arroyo ang tinulungan or allegedly tinulungan. Maraming mga powerful na politiko na natulungan din.

So I do believe that the media will play the crucial role, the live coverage, the scrutiny, the questions that you will ask us before, during and after the hearings. And I do believe that people will have to see the demeanor of witnesses.

Hindi pwedeng si Sec. Delima lang at si Chairman Brillantes o kami lang. Importante makita ng tao kung paano sumagot ang mga witnesses, kung mukhang guilty or kung mukhang inosente. So I do believe that in this case, two investigations are better than one.

But I do believe dapat lagyan ng time limit. Dapat tapusin kaagad and dapat ma-prosecut na kung sino ang dapat ma-prosecute. Hindi na dapat tumagal ito. Tama si Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago noong sinabi niya na mag-target kayo. Towards the end of the year kasuhan na lahat 'yan.

But hindi lalabas ang buong katotohanan 'pag hindi natin ito ginawa. Ang mga witnesses marami ngayon nanonood ng news, nanonood ng developments, 'pag nakita nila na live ang coverage at nakita nilang sinsero ang mga nag-iimbestiga, lalabas sila.

Pero 'pag nakita nilang nagkaka-ayusan o hindi seryoso, sila pa ang napapahamak sa pagwi-witness hindi sila lalabas. So kung ang paghamak sa media ay merong epekto, when you go against the media and then nag-e-echo 'yon or nagkakaroon ng epekto sa lahat ng media, ganoon din naman in the reverse na positive sa mga witnesses.

'Pag nakikita nilang ongoing ang investigation, maganda ang takbo, naglalabasan ang mga witness, lalabas din 'yung iba.

As a general rule, ang paniniwala ko, extraordinary lang na dapat magimbestiga ang senado at house, pag may failure lang sa executive department or may mga dahilan kung bakit hindi lalabas ang witnesses sa executive department like in the case of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when she was president, pano mangyayari sa DOJ, pano mangyayari na ang gobyerno niya ang mag-iimbestiga eh siya ang inaakusahan.

But in this case, I do believe that because ang mga mag-iimbestiga ay mga election lawyers, and then maraming pulitiko na involved dito, the more often and the more investigations we have (as an excemption, not as a rule) would be better for everyone para once and for all magka closure.

Tingnan niyo po, kung pababayaan nating ang Comelec at DoJ ang mag-iimbestiga, and then later on may ispekulasyon na meron silang sacred cows or meron silang hindi binusisi o pangalan na hindi nilabas then we're back to square one.

Ganun din, kung kami lang mag-iimbestiga, at hindi iimbestigahan ng DoJ at sabihin ang mga sendor kasi may pinoprotektahan din. Hindi 'to matatapos eh. Pero kung once and for all tatapusin natin yung investigation, that would be good.

Remember this is the original scene to quote Conrado De quiros. This is the mother of the instability, the corruption and the cover up - in summary the stealing, cheating and lying can be traced back to the Hello Garci scandal.

If we solve this, we basically can now legislate how it can be prevented in the future and we send a clear message, "Mandaya ka, Hahabulin Ka, Mahuhuli ka rin".

And lastly Manong Jun, walang nandadaya, para gumawa ng mabuti later on. Pag nandaya ka, magnanakaw ang kasunod dahil malaki ginastos mo para mandaya. Yun ang general rule, o paniniwala ko that's why we have to get this done.

Q: Does the Senate investigation... wouldn't GMA be a problem because of parliamentary courtesy?

It would be a problem but it wouldn't be a problem for Commissioner Garcillano or his cohorts. The public pressure could build up so much or the testimony that the former president can decide on her own to appear before the senate.

Remember this happened in the past, when they were public officials even the former president. When the issues are being discussed in the newspapers, sa radio, sa tv he decided to appear in the senate and answer directly.

So it will really be the choice of the president. Yes, there is a parliamentary courtesy, inter-chamber courtesy na hindi naming pwedeng i-subpoena o pilitin ang isang Congresswoman mag-appear but the issue could be so well- discussed that mapilitan siyang mag-attend.

Of course, she could also attend to resign as Congresswoman para hindi rin siya mapagbintangan na ginagamit niya ang posisyon niya para magtago but I doubt that because ginamit niya yung presidency para din magtago.

But as I said, sooner or later kailangan nilang harapin eh, so better na mas maaga harapin na nila ito. So, Is she saying na hindi niya kinausap si Commissioner Garcillano at hindi siya nandaya? Why doesn't she just come to the senate and say, inform all of us.

Q: Sir, kung may parliamentary courtesy sa Senate o house why not The Comelec and the DOJ nalang?

Yes, ang problema po tama po si Sen. Ping Lacson na iba ang rules of procedure & criminal procedure ng DOJ at ng Comelec. In fact, doon pwedeng yung mga abogado lang ang humarap or pwedeng limited ang pasasabi sa kanila.

Dito sa Senado, mas maluwag ang rules, both sides can tell everyone ask questions. Our limitation is we have to respect their constitutional rights. For example if they say that they have the right to remain silent, then we have to respect that kung tama yung application nung right but we have more leeway here and remember the purpose here is not to prosecute but is in aid of legislation and over side.

But even criminal acts can be investigated by the senate and house and this is an established doctrine which was discussed by the US Supreme Court when they investigated the water gate scandal involving President Nixon sa United States.

Well settled na yon na kahit na may pending criminal case, kahit may criminal investigation on going, kahit nasasakdal na.

Tingnan niyo po yung kay General Garcia, on going ng yung kaso but pwede pa ring imbestigahan.

Q: Sir, are you saying a while ago na may conflict of interest si Sixto Brillantes. Do you think magkakaroon ng .........

Number one, yung conflict of interest, siya na nagsabi non. Ang pinopoint out ko, sa dami niya nang conflict of interest, tuwing may investigation nalang ba o tuwing may kaso sa Comelec o sa DOJ mag-iinhibit siya.

Number two, sa kanya nanggaling na pamangkin niya at dati niyang law partner yung tinuro ni Sen. Ping at Justice Secretary de Lima na nagoperate daw sa Batasan.

("Poll Fraud Probe is Sixto's Acid test for his confirmation")

But lastly, meron sinet na hearing ang Commission on Appointments kay Chairman Brillantes sa August 9. I think the acid test for Chairman Brillantes is how they conduct the investigation into the 2004 and 2007 election.

Kung no nonsense at hahabulin talaga niya ang mga nandaya nung 2004, 2007 maging kliyente man niya o hindi, he will pass the acid test and he will deserve to be confirmed. Pero kung magtatago ng tago din siya and hindi nila seseryosohin yung investigation, o hindi nila ipprevent yung suspension, or tatanggalin muna yung mga Garci Boys, bakit pa siya icoconfirm?

Remember iba ang sitwasyon ni Chairman Brillantes. During the 2004 election, siya ang abogado ni FPJ pero siya din ang abogado ng mga Ampatuan, at saan ba lumalabas na dinaya si FPJ? So kung sinasabi na alam ni Chairman Brillantes kung saan ang dayaan, what is he? Is he an investigator? Is he a witness?

If he's bound by client- attorney privilege that he cannot say what happened between him and the Ampatuans. So what I am saying is that we deserve kung malaki at buong buo ang tiwala natin sa Ombudsman dahil yun ang tiwala ng presidente at dahil gusto niya tlgang habulin ang corrupt, hindi ba dapat habulin talaga ng Comelec Chair ang mga mandaraya.

Ang problema hanggang hindi lumabas si Lintang Bedol at hanggang hindi nagsalita si Dating Governor Ampatuan, hindi kumilos ang Comelec para mag-imbestiga.

So right now, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, pero kaya ko sinasabing acid test, gusto ko munang makita kung pano ihahandle ng Comelec at ni Chairman Brillantes ang imbestigasyon bago siya maconfirm.

Q: Sir pano kung wala siyang ginawa... ... ...?

Then, he'll fail the acid test. That's why ang panawagan ko sa Malacañang, bantayan ang sarili nilang appointee at ano ba ang marching orders nila sa appointees. Bawal nilang pakialaman ang independence ng Comelec. Pero hindi bawal na sabihin nila sa Comelec, "Habulin ninyo ang mga mandaraya.."

Q: Ano po yung request ng Government na nagLast na umano yung prescripted period para makasampa ng kaso para sa mga culprits ng 2004 election for election fraud?

Ang alam ko hindi pa lumalampas e. I heard someone from Comelec, I don't know if it was the Chairman himself who said hind pa but let's cross the bridge when we get there. Ang importante yung fact finding muna, kumbaga sa pulis, bago iniimbestigahan yung krimen tapusin mo muna yung imbestigasyon mo at kung sino gumawa ng krimen, saka na natin problemahin kung pwedeng kasuhan o hindi.

Q: Sir paano natin papapuntahin si FG sa senate investigation kung may sakit talaga siya?

As I said, tao naman tayo. We always should love the sinner, hate the sin. But we have a job to do. Ang sinasabi ko lang, huwag magtago sa likod ng mga doctor o medical reasons. Pero hindi naman gagawin ng senado na ipu-put at risk ang kaniyang health o pipilitin na dalhin siya ditto na magkakasakit.

Pero ang sinasabi ko, hindi rin naman puwede na because you're rich and powerful and because you're the former first gentleman, ay hindi ka mag-appear. Dapat kung ano ang rules sa pinakamahirap, 'yun din ang rule natin sa pinakamayaman.

Q: Isn't the bigger problem is inviting GMA?

I think both. Apparently, I don't know if it's legal or political advise sa kanila, they'd rather that it be the lawyers o sa korte sila. They're refusing to answer the questions directly sa media man o sa senado o sa house. And if you haven't noticed, dumadami ang spokesman nila at mga abogado nila. Pero 'yung sila mismo ang sumagot, ayaw nilang gawin. Pero kapag public official ka, kailangan harapin mo ito.

Q: On Miriam's statement on the Acceptance of resignation and MigZ' abandonement of duty...

First of all, tama si Senator Miriam about the acceptance of resignation before the caucus. Pero noong nag-caucus na, nagkaroon na ng decision na effectivity na ng resignation, is that we don't need to accept it.

Regarding abandonment, I do agree that Senator Miriam is more well read and she was a judge. But if I remember my criminal law well, it is when you refuse to take office na mayroong criminal offense.

'Yung sa abandonment kasi, politically, some might interpret it as that. Some might say it's a good act. But when you resign, it's not really abandonment, purely on criminal law, because it's your right to resign. It's like when a senator accepts a cabinet position, he resigns from the senate. Hindi sa inaabandona niya ang senado, pero tinatanggap niya ang challenge of another office.

Q: but for Zubiri's case, he won't be appointed to another position but will simply be a civilian...

Oo. Magiging private citizen, but the principle still stands that you can still resign. The consequence is not criminal or civil, it's political. How will people see him when he runs again? Will this be positive or negative? Kargo niya 'yon. But so far, 'yon ang alam ko. Hindi criminal o civil 'yung consequence.

Q: No impediment on him to run in 2013?

No, considering that this is his first term technically, or for any other position.

I'm just talking about the effect of resignation. Halimbawa, na-elect kang congressman, 3 years ang term mo, pero 6 months pa lang kinuha kang cabinet, theoretically, inabandon mo 'yung 2 ½ years mo as congressman. Theoretically, resigned ka kaagad. Under the law, you're resigned. But then, you're serving in a different capacity.

Migs is saying 'I'm serving as a private citizen.' What I'm saying is it's up to the voters and the constituents kung ano ang sasabihin sa iyo. To some voters kapag cabinet ang kinuha mo, sasabihin nila na 'mas matutulungan kami kaya tama.' Some voters will not like it. So, it's not a question of civil or criminal law liabilities but a question of how your constituents will accept your acts.

Q: Wala naman silang choice if they're quit from the senate and be given a post

Theoretically you can say no, but it's hard to say no to the President, especially if you believe in him or her.

Even in the lower positions, may mga kagawad, SK, kapitan na kailangan ng pamilya, magtatrabaho abroad kaya magreresign sila, but 3,4,5,6 years later, mas maganda na ang klalagayan nila, tatakbo ulit, o tatakbong konsehal, walang liability. It's just up to the constituents kung iboboto ulit o hindi o kung tatanggapin 'yung reason kung bakit nag-resign.

Q:Is Zubiri welcome to run with the NP in 2013?

Ang nabalitaan ko lang, he's mauling over whether tatakbo siya o hindi. Ang tingin ko, marami pang mangyayari masyado hanggang 2013 para malaman kung sino ang magko-coalition o hindi. Also, I think big part of the decisions of the parties will depend on the rulings of the SET.

Kaya ayaw kong sabihin na hindi siya welcome, ayaw ko din sabihin na welcome. I'd rather cross the bridge when we get there. Walang duda naman na politically and as a friend, he's an asset.

I don't think magkakaroon sila ng ganitong away ni Pimentel kung hindi sila ang nagtalo sa posisyon na 'yon. But it so happened na sila ang nagtalo sa posisyon na 'yon, and both of them believe that they were cheated by each other.

Closing remarks

I just want to praise the God for the opportunity na lumalabas lahat ng totoo. Let me just close by agreeing na hindi dapat ang senado ang mag-imbestiga sa lahat, pero hindi din pwede kasi na walang nag-iimbestiga o hindi sinasabay-sabay.

So let me reiterate my call for an organized and systematic way, whether it's the congressman, it's the DOJ, it's a joint task force. They're doing a good job. The DOJ is doing a good job, pero sobrang dami itong iimbestigahan.

Add'l Q: Ano na po updates sa Kontra-SONA?

Literally and figuratively na rineject tayo dahil dalawang beses tayong inulan, nung Tuesday inulan tayo. We gave way to Sen. Zubiri but with the support of our fellow-Senators, tutuloy natin yung tradition.

On Monday, I will deliver the contra-SONA, focusing lang on where we are today, where we want to be and congratulating the President what have been achieved and asking him to involve people. And one of the highlights siguro would be our call na ipasa kaagad yung FOI at magkaroon ng organized at systematic way of fighting corruption.

Q: No legislative agenda last SONA. No meeting of LEDAC meeting before and after SONA.

If you remember, a few days before the cancelled LEDAC, pinuri ko pa na magkakaroon ng LEDAC at sabi ko pa nga, it's the first time nab ago 'yung SONA o 'yung agenda ng LEDAC is not kung ano ang priority ng presidente, pero 'yung consultation talaga. Unfortunately, and I think there are valid reasons why they had to cancel it.

Having said that, the negative is that the SONA has evolved. It's not only for congress, but it's for the whole nation and since the media carried it live--the different networks--the president addressed more Filipinos, including those abroad, rather than congress.

But traditionally, because the President has more access to data and information than congress, the SONA is for him to give the real situation now, then to tell you where he wants to go, and then to tell you how he will get there. Nasaan kayo ngayon, saan pupunta, at kung paano pupunta doon.

'Yung paano pupunta doon, how to get there, includes legislation. And usually, may listahan ng legislation. And it's the first time, I think, na parang wala. But to be fair to the president, he did tell us in the back room before, in a meeting with the small group na sumalubong sa kaniya na sa sobrang haba ng mga kailangan niyang sabihin, inattach niya lang as document 'yung iba sa budget, as a budget message. I haven't seen that so I don't know if the list of legislation doon niya isinama.

My Kontra SONA will not completely be kontra. It will point out some things regarding vision and about unity and where we should go, and will point out where we are. But it will also point out 'yung mga tamang ginawa ng Pangulo and for the critics to also accept that in his first year, madami namang nagawa. Hindi lang nila na-communicate lahat.

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