Press Release
December 5, 2011

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the comments made by PNoy against the Supreme Court

Q: Did the President go too far this morning when he made that comment against the Supreme Court, sir, kanina yung magkatabi kayo sa speech?

SP: No, I did not hear him because he was speaking very fast in Tagalog and I was often going to the bathroom, sa CR. No, really. What did he say?

Q: He attacked again the Supreme Court.

SP: What was his exact statement?

Q: Wala raw bang nilabag na batas? Iba raw ba ang interpretasyon ng Supreme Court sa Saligang Batas? Parang to that effect, sir, referring dun sa pagiging midnight appointee ni Chief Justice Corona.

SP: That is a matter of a legal study. You know, different opinions come from the different branches of government as part of check and balance. In the end, the one that will interpret the Constitution is the Supreme Court. That's their mandate.

Q: Senator Lacson has just made a proposal for you and House Speaker Belmonte to mediate between the Chief Justice and President Aquino. Do you agree to that proposal?

SP: The President is entitled to his position as a head of the Executive branch of the government, to criticize what he perceived to be not in accord with the Constitution. But in the final end, it's the Supreme Court that interprets it.

Q: Kaya nga, sir. When the President makes comments like that, does he not violate 'yung independence ng three branches of government?

SP: No. There must be a certain degree. That's why I said in the morning, you have to expect a dynamic democratic debate in democracy. We must tone down the rhetoric.

Q: So there's no need for Congress to mediate at this point? To act as referee?

SP: What can we do to mediate?

Q: Kausapin daw, sir, behind the camera 'yung dalawang partido para po maayos ang kanilang hidwaan. Suggestion lang sir ni Senators Honasan, Lacson at Jinggoy. Kasi baka daw po mag-replicate sa local scene like halimbawa 'yung local government units (LGUs) hindi rin irerespeto 'yung decision ng local courts?

SP: Mahirap 'yun kapag ginawa nila. They could be held in contempt. You cannot prevent a judge to hold you in contempt and the moment you are held in contempt, the sheriff will exercise the order of the court. Kagaya rito sa Senado, when we hold anybody in contempt, we will exercise that power and the Supreme Court cannot stop us from enforcing our Rules.

Q: So sir, wala kayong nakikitang pangangailangan para mamagitan between Chief Justice Corona and PNoy?

SP: Wala naman. I did not notice that really, honestly.

Q: Pero, sir, kung mayroong ganoong differences, how do you think should the two branches resolve their differences?

SP: I would suggest that the best way, because we are political departments of the government, the Executive and the Congress and it involves the non-political department of the government, I would suggest that the Church should talk to both sides. They're the peacemakers.

Q: Sir, the Senate and Congress should not do anything about it kahit na po behind the camera subukang pag-usapin 'yung Judiciary at Executive?

SP: I would not attempt to talk to the President and the Chief Justice to stop what they're doing in the same manner that I think they will not tell me to stop what I'm doing. That's the essence of the three branches of government. So, I would suggest a neutral body, could be the Catholic Church or the other churches being the peacemakers in the country.

Q: Sir, but you admit it's high time that this should be resolved?

SP: I would not say high time. Each one of us is assumed to be responsible and the presumption is there that we are cognizant of our responsibility to our community, to our society, to our people and to the world audience.

Q: Sir, if the Church will assume that role as peacemaker, baka naman ma-accuse sila na violating the separation of Church and State...

SP: They're not interfering. They're in fact suggesting a peaceful debate.

Q: Pero sir, umaamin kayong lumalala, the rift is getting worse?

SP: Hindi naman. I will not put it that way.

Q: You would agree that something needs to be repaired?

SP: Well, yes, that's why I mentioned to you last Thursday in Kapihan that we should be very cautious in making our statements because we have not only a national but an international audience watching us.

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