Press Release
March 6, 2012

Transcipt of Ambush Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona

SP: Are you ready?

Q: Yes sir.

SP: I will be very brief. The first matter that we, serious matter that we took up in the caucus is the motion of the defense to suppress the admissibility of the evidence bearing on article 2. These evidence are documents bearing on alleged bank accounts of the respondent, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Court has arrived at a decision and ruling that it will deny the motion to suppress and accept the evidence for the consideration of the court in connection with Article II of the Articles of Impeachment and we are going to issue a lengthy, formal, written decision or ruling on this particular matter. In the case of the second matter that the... the second thing that was discussed in the caucus was the motion of Senator Defensor Santiago, seconded by Senator Pia Cayetano to cite Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre for contempt and the caucus also decided that, in view of the circumstances, unusual circumstances that surrounded the incident rather, the Impeachment Court, although there is evidence of, enough that may be considered contemptuous of the Court, I would not impose a penalty with respect to laws of freedom on the, on Atty. Aguirre but, simply to admonish him to be more careful henceforth, with his conduct as a member of the prosecution panel. So, that's it.

Q: Sir, what is the reason for the leniency?

SP: I think it will be better to do it that way in order not to create any further friction in the course of the trial, as well as, to quiet the issue already.

Q: Sir, na-inform po si Senator Miriam about the decision?

SP: No, she was not present. This was the consensus of the caucus.

Q: Sir, ano po yung unusual circumstance na tinutukoy niyo?

SP: Ah, bahala na kayo to interpret it.

Q: Sir, ano po yung main reason bakit na-deny yung motion to suppress?

SP: Anything else?

Q: Sir, ano po yung reason why yung motion to suppress was denied?

SP: Well, basically, all the cited cases by the motion of the defense to suppress the evidence that they wanted to be suppressed involve action of government and the provision of the Bill of Rights found in Section 2 of Article 3, as well as the provision of Article 3 Subparagraph 1 are supposed to be excluded when there is a violation of Section 2 of Article 3 of the Constitution especially when the unwarranted search or arrest is done by the state or her agents, like the police, the NBI, and other law enforcement people. And so, in the case of these particular matters where bank accounts of the respondent, Chief Justice were revealed, disclosed to the public, there's no showing that it was done by the government. There's no clear showing that it was done by the government and so far as the facts indicate, there's no question that this alleged bank deposit account numbers exist. And if the release was done by private parties, this will not be covered by the constitutional exclusion rules. Second, the Republic Act 1405, dealing with local currency deposits, as well as, Republic Act 6426, dealing with foreign currency deposits, do not include exclusion provision, meaning provision that expressly, exclude of or proscribe the admissibility of the records of bank deposits when they are illegally released to the public.

Q: Sir, isn't it during the hearing on the BSP you said that you were convinced that the BSP examiner who might have leaked the document?

SP: My opinion is simply an opinion at that moment. We're still investigating.

Q: What if you are able prove eventually sir, that it was indeed the BSP official was the source of it?

SP: We are going to decide this case on the basis of facts now. In that case, at the point, it will be, if it was done by the government agents then they have to suffer penalties.

Q: Sir, unanimous po ba yung decision ng Senators para ideny yung motion to suppress? May nag-object ba?

SP: I will not answer that question, basta, it was the consensus of the caucus.

Q: Sir, on the matter of foreign deposits, is there, are this already closed or pending?

SP: What do you mean close?

Q: On the matter of foreign deposit of CJ Corna, Yung issue nung submitting the foreign deposit...

SP: As far as the admissibility of the evidence presented both for the so-called foreign currency deposits as well as, the local currency deposits since, there are no provisions in the two republic acts involved, excluding illegally released documents of bank accounts, then we are going to accept the offer of evidence on this particular article, article II.

Q: Sir, clarify lang ha, in denying the motion to suppress, you are admitting the offer of evidence.

SP: Correct

Q: Lahat sir?

SP: Oo. Yun na ang sinabi ko sa inyo.

Q: Pero diba sasagot pa yung defense sa Wednesday if I am not mistaken?

SP: Then, we will, that will be taken into account. We will issue another ruling on Monday for the entire. We are just denying the motion to suppress.

Q: Settled na po yung offer of evidence when it comes to the bank accounts?

SP: Yes.

Q: Pertaining to the peso, sir?

SP: Both. The motion to suppress covers both. So, the motion to suppress is being denied for the reasons that I have stated.

Q: Does that mean the court will now ask for access to look at the foreign deposits, to confirm?

SP: That is another matter. We are talking of the documents that were submitted. We are not talking of opening the accounts, assuming that those accounts exist. Based on the evidence presented to us, we will accept the evidence presented to us because there is no expressed provision in the Republic Acts mentioned, to exclude them as evidence when offered as evidence.

Q: So parang evidence nila yung $700,000?

SP: Hindi. Meron 'yung mga signature cards, opening forms at kung anu-ano 'yun. They are marked as exhibits.

Q: Anong relation nito sa TRO?

SP: That is another matter. Let the Supreme Court decide the case. If they said that there is a violation of Republic Act 6426, so be it, but that violation does not imply or mean that the evidence that was released in violation of the law could not be admitted as evidence. Now, the result of the decision that there is a violation, means that whoever was the one responsible for the release will have to go to jail when a criminal case is filed against that person, whoever he or she is, under the penalties provided in the laws.

Q: Sir, wala pang decision sa formal offer of evidence doon sa Article 7?

SP: Wala pa. We are waiting for the objections.

Q: Sir, nag-submit ng notice 'yung prosecution clarifying whether they were withdrawing the five other Articles or terminating them? Nalinawagan ba kayo 'nung sinubmit?

SP: As far as their manifestation is concerned, we are going to make a ruling at the proper time. The records will bear us out that we clarified it very clearly, and our understanding, and the understanding of the court is that those Articles, 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8, filed through them, are deemed as if they were not in the Articles of Impeachment filed before the court.

Q: So the defense will not have to present evidence?

SP: The decision of the court will matter, not the manifestation of the prosecution.

Q: It does not require an amendment, sir?

SP: It will not require amendments anymore, I said so before. No need because to do it, the Constitution will say that there is a prescription for filing another impeachment case before us. We do not want the people to think that we are fooling around with this case. It might mean that we have dismissed the case without a decision. We are going to decide this case.

Q : Kung decision, di ba dapat acquittal lang or conviction?

SP: Acquittal or conviction? Correct. Walang reprimand, walang admonition. It is either removal or not removal.

SP: Acquittal or conviction. Correct. Walang reprimand, walang admonition. It is either removal or not removal.

Q: Sir, come Monday or sa huli na namin malalaman 'yung decision?

SP: Matapos na ilabas lahat ng ebidensiya. Kagaya sa Husgado, di ba. Hindi mo pwedeng desisyunan sa presentation lang ng prosecution.

Q: Will you rule on acquittal or conviction sa five Articles, sir?

SP: Wala na 'yun. 'Yung five other Articles, out na 'yun. We will only make our ruling of conviction or acquittal of the remaining three Articles.

Q: Sir, 'yung kay Atty. Aguirre, how will the admonition be implemented? Will he be called to report here?

SP: We'll just put it into the record.

Q: Sir, with all of these procedural matters resolved now, do you expect the defense to start presenting their evidence on March 12?

SP: I am going to call the two panels for a meeting and offer to them a new schedule of hearing. Morning and afternoon hearing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, starting Monday.

Q: What time mag-start ng morning?

SP: Morning, 9 to 12 and then 2 to 5.

Q: Sir, ano 'yung reason? To finish the trial before March 23?

SP: Yes, because everybody wants to finish it before we go on a break if we could do it. If the two panels will not agree, if we cannot finish it on March 23rd, we'll have to wait until May.

Q: Sir, paano po 'yung mga legislative sessions ninyo?

SP: We will forego the legislative session to finish this case.

Q: Sir, kailan po 'yung meeting ninyo with both panels?

SP: I have asked the Secretary General of the Senate to make the arrangements so I can talk to the two panels.

Q: Sir, ano 'yun, unanimous 'yun sa mga senators?

SP: Consensus.

Q: The meeting will be this week, sir?

SP: Tomorrow, if possible. Before we go on trial on Monday, I will have to meet them.

Q: Sir, if both panels agree, by 23 tapos na tayo?

SP: I don't know. We are trying to show to the people that as far as the Senate is concerned, the members of the Senate and the Senate itself are both willing to work overtime in order to satisfy the desire of the public to finish this case the soonest possible time.

Q: Sir, paano po 'yung tungkol sa dollar account? May reservation pa po dun ang prosecution.

SP: Sinabi ko na sa inyo, 'yung kanilang motion to suppress, kasama na lahat 'yun. So, when we denied it, whatever evidence presented with respect to bank accounts are all accepted.

Q: Sir, when you call the prosecution and the defense to the meeting to inform them of the new schedule, can they say no?

SP: They can say no. I will have to get their agreement. We cannot continue hearing without the lawyers. If they are not amenable, we go through with our present schedule and wait until May to finish.

Q: What happens to the TRO ng dollar accounts?

SP: It's going to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Q: Sir, napag-usapan pa ba 'yung contempt kay BSP Examiner Leal?

SP: Iba 'yun. Hindi rito sa impeachment.

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