Press Release
May 31, 2012

Transcript Kapihan sa Senado with Senator Angara

On the impact of the impeachment trial:

The analysis of the impact and implication of the case had been quite thorough in today's media and publications but if I may just add one or two things, number one, I think this a turning point because the media impact of that is that even the Supreme Court has opened their SALN to the public and I think that is a good example of the practical effect of this decision. We've also seen yesterday that even lesser officials will be asked of their SALN like the potential ambassador to Syria whose confirmation was deferred because there may seem to be a discrepancy. Regarding that, this has a practical impact on bureaucracy both elected and appointive and I hope the highest standards set will be kept up and will endure down. Also practical effect on enforcement, ito yung nangyari kahapon, I think we provided a practical, reasonable way of complying with the letter and intent of the SALN law then giving the ambassador one week within which to make correction and adjustment of his SALN. I think the same consideration ought to be extended to the rest of the bureaucracy who may feel that they also need to adjust and made correction to their SALN. Sa totoo lang, before this, no one really gave much serious attention to what to put into your SALN and now it is taken very seriously in judging your fitness to position and the quality of your performance and that it can be a ground for dismissal and separation from the service then everyone in the public service will now think seriously about this. But in fairness, the way we extended it to the ambassador, we also ought to give every one that chance and if I were the president I will issue an executive order allowing the members of the executive to do that within a certain period and if I would be head of the judiciary I would do the same to all those under me. And to the members of the Congress, both the Senate President and the speaker should do that so that overall, you give everyone a fair chance. We will not be dealing or dispensing justice to a Delma Flores ruthlessly.

On rectifying SALN:

Hindi naman dahil 'yung rule na in-apply namin sa impeachment court is a unique peculiar rule to the facts of the case. This is an impeachment case. What we are facing in the CA is an administrative process. If you are really a career diplomat posted to North America, whether to Canada or U.S. and you've been posted for over four years probably, it is quite irresistible for you to invest in your apartment or home. Why? Because there's plentiful of mortgage money in America and Canada and for $5,000 you can already own your own home or apartment because they will give you 25 or 40-year loan. You just pay amortization. So I'll not be surprised, if all, but at the very least the overwhelming majority of our Filipino diplomats posted to North America, or to other English-speaking countries like UK, Australia, Ireland may have done the same. So, that's just one sector of bureaucracy but even teachers or clerk of courts like Delma would invest in something but they may not know for sure what to do in their SALN. But in the case of the Chief Justice and members of the government who are subject to impeachment, you can't say that they are unsophisticated in the store. In fact they are sophisticated, knowledgeable, investor and cannot plead honest, mistake or sincere omission.

On pre-judgment of the impeachment trial:

Hindi naman ata kami lahat nag-meeting. According to the account, seven lang ang nag-meeting. We're 23 and that's only ¼ of the members. You cannot believe to the conclusion that there was already a pre- judgment as early as Sunday. it can only lead to the fact that seven of us got together for whatever reason but according to the account agreed to vote as one.

Q: Is it appropriate? (That the senators won't have an independent mind towards their decision)

Palagay ko wala namang ganong implication dun, sapagkat hindi naman siguro na-sway just because they got together. They may already have a tendency, inclination, to vote like that because to start with, that is their inclination. It just solidified their determination and resolve after getting together.

Q: Were you invited?

Hindi, hindi ko alam 'yun at saka kung ininvite nila ako, sila ang iimbitahan ko sa Baler. Nasa Baler ako that time.

On his feedback of the impeachment trial:

Based on feedback that I got from the business communities, from business organizations like the chambers and the organizations of employers, I think it's quite positive to the extent that they're saying that our credit rating may even be officially upgraded by rating agencies. Our credibility may have gotten up as a result from what happened in this hall. Now to me the significant message communicated to the Filipino people by the Senate is that, number one, we are capable of dispensing justice to the mighty as well as to the less powerful that we are willing to wield that gavel evenly, fairly and quickly. And I think that is everything that people in this country look forward to, that justice, whether extortial justice, judicial justice be dispensed with fairly, even-handedly and quickly and that is the message that I think we delivered to the people and as you can see I think even the stature of the Senate and the leadership are at a record high. I think that is good to strengthen our institutions because there has been continuous erosions of the credibility of institutions of government, pillars of justice and such in our society that overall we are almost looked at as an outcast and a laggard.

On the defense saying their client was convicted because of bad politics:

'Yun and hirap sa ating mga Pilipino, pag natalo ka sasabihin "Dinaya ako". Of course, you cannot absolutely win 100%. These bodies are pure politics, if you're a political branch elected by people and directly accountable to the people. Every six years we face the people but that's not the point I think we have shown that in a highly political and inherently political body we can act, a measure of objectivity and fairness. Not every one of us is a lawyer but we can act within the bounds of the rule of law, the rule of law is a habit and tradition that one follows the rules, one's behavior is rules-bound rather than passion-bound or popularity-dictated. I think we demonstrated in this instance that we can judge people in an impeachment setting within the bounds of the rule of law.

If there are rules of the impeachment that are needed to be reformed:

Yes. At the beginning, I was really doubtful of the effectiveness of an impeachment as a way of removing people in high positions because the origin of the impeachment is really political. It's a way of throwing out your political opponent. That's the origin of impeachment in England and even when it was transported to the U.S. that is the purpose of impeachment. Kung kalaban kita na judge, kung kalaban kita na civil servant subject to impeachment, we use impeachment and use our numerical superiority in Congress. So that was a way of ousting people that's why in England where it began, discarded impeachment as a way of removing unfit people. It's only in the U.S. where it remained and we have also retained it in our country. Mayroon naman kaming rules doon di ba because Justice Cuevas is really trained in the traditional practice of law so what he's applying are strict rules of evidence as used in regular courts. Dito naman, hybrid ito.

On the criteria of the next Chief Justice

Ang hirap talaga mamili ng Chief Justice because the Supreme Court, especially the Chief Justice who leads it, whatever it says becomes law. Congress can pass a law to amend it but it's so hard to do that so whatever the Supreme Court says is law. You must really choose the leader of that body with wisdom, uprightness but most of all one who can look beyond. One of the best chief justices of the Supreme Court was not a career lawyer or a career judge he was a politician, Gov. Earl Warren of California. He studied the legal and judicial history of the US. He's considered the best of so many chief justices who sat on the 200-year old Supreme Court. Why? It's because of his experience being a governor of California, his training as a lawyer although he didn't practice and because of his vision above all. It was under his watch that some of the greatest decisions of the US Supreme Court was passed and made.

On PNoy choosing the next Chief Justice among the incumbent justices or an outsider:

Even among senators. Senator Drilon is more than qualified and so is Alan Cayetano and Chiz Escudero. Party affiliation is not a disqualification. It's not even a ground of excluding yourself.

By tradition, you pick from within either appoint the most senior or you do it deep selection and appoint someone else like in the case of Chief Justice Teehankee. It was a deep selection made by President Cory. He jumped above many senior above him but he turned out to be an outstanding chief justice.

If there's "political color" if PNoy chooses Drilon as the next Chief Justice

Palagay ko hindi naman. Not to stigmatize the person because of his relationship to the appointing power because you can also go back and review the appointments of chief justices in this country and many of them are political. Many of them turned out to be outstanding choices. During the American regime, all the appointed justices were outstanding legal luminaries but they're all close to the regime. Administration after administration, naturally will pick someone who's philosophy and outlook including political is more or less parallel and in sync with the appointing power.

On Associate Justice Roberto Abad

I don't know him that well but he's a recent appointee, I think. Any one of them can be appointed theoretically and it is legal. The President, as well, can go outside the court and appoint a justice of the Court of Appeals or a practicing lawyer and that would not be illegal. We go back to our expectation of a good head of the Judiciary, of a chief justice, which is of wide experience and therefore has acquired wisdom, upright and above all visionary that he can see the problems of our country beyond his own tenure.

On the appointment of the next Chief Justice

That's a very interesting theory since there is no permanent chief and under the law, the permanent chief is the one that sits on the JBC who selects the next judges ergo there is a perpetual void. No one can be appointed. But that's one theory. My theory is this: the law lays out very clearly a succession plan. Under the law, implementing the constitutional convention, the next highest in the Supreme Court automatically ascends as the officer-in-charge. According to the JBC, the Supreme Court and the law creating JBC, whoever heads the Supreme Court automatically heads the JBC whether it's OIC or acting, he is head. Therefore, there will be no void in the law. To me, there seems to be no problem. Otherwise, there will be perpetual paralysis. Walang Chief Justice, walang head ang JBC then the JBC cannot convene. The JBC cannot nominate the Chief Justice. But hindi nga yun, that's just one theory. Whoever heads the Supreme Court ipso facto automatically heads the JBC. Therefore the JBC is going to be operational.

On Justice Carpio as acting Chief Justice and one of the choices to be the next Chief Justice

Dapat maginhibit siya sa botohan but he should not could himself out just because he's the head. Ang nomination naman comes from the body not the head of the JBC. It's a collegial decision. If you are personally affected, you inhibit yourself from the voting. Hindi naman disqualify yourself.

On the nominees signing the waiver

Kung ikaw ay private practitioner, hindi ka naman required to submit your SALN. Kung ikaw ay maappoint and joined the public service, that's the time you apply that rule.

On Sen. Alan Cayetano and Chiz Escudero signing the bank waiver

Good for them. Yung SALN ko naman lagi niyo naman pinupublish from 1987 to the present. Hindi ko naman tinatago yun. Yung mahilig sa ganon, pumirma sila. Dahil ako naman, wala akong tinatago.

On the nomination of Justice Carpio

Wala akong reservation. I'm not disqualifying anyone especially him since he is next-in-rank. I think he is eligible to be nominated.

Appointment of a politician as the next Chief Justice

We were just suggesting that it's not bad per se that the Chief Justice comes from politics. I cited Governor Earl Warren and he turned out to be the best Chief Justice next to Marshall. Sa Pilipinas, let me see...marami din naman who came from politics. I am saying that we should not be exclusionary, we should be inclusive and consider people of high character and intelligence and integrity and vision to be considered. Provided that they are lawyers, of course because that is a requirement.

Jbc na nga, e. so it is self selection process nila.

There is a misconception on that - because under the Data Protection Act, or Data Privacy Protection Act, you cannot leak personal confidential data, confidential personal data. Halimbawa, you give your help data to a hospital. The hospital cannot simply reveal it to anyone but if it does, it does improperly, the one who publishes it, especially of a public person, will not be liable at all because of the freedom of the press. So, iba yun.

On the Data Privacy Act

And who will be punished? The one who leaked when he's not supposed to leak it.

Ngayon, in the case of data privacy, we are talking of the internet, and as you know, business processing, even the call centers that require confidentiality. In many instances, halimbawa kung ito palang mga taga-Pilipinas ay inili-leak ang aking mga sikreto and confidential information, and I am a pharmaceutical company, lahat ng mga proprietary rights ko at intellectual property or kumbaga kung publishing company ka, yung copyright ko, you will leak to the competition, edi they will not trust us, they will not send their data to be processed here. So, who will trust the Filipinos? Wala na. So this Data Privacy Act intends to protect the confidentiality and integrity of information provided those services providers. Yung mga humahawak ng mga health ---

Sir, the report says Congress is set to pass a bill that would penalize and imprison journalist that bridge confidentiality. Yun ang nakalagay, e.

Mali. Absolutely wrong. We will not impose any penalty on journalist who may have scooped everyone because someone leaked it. It is the one who leaked it and not authorized to disclose who will be penalized.

Sir, kayo po ang author nyan dito sa Senate, so ano po yung pinakalaman nung bill nyo dito.

Yun nga. Walang penalty for - yung mga sumulat wala - dun lang sa mga nag-leak. Journalists and broadcasters will not be liable. Nothing of this sort. If you are the recipient and beneficiary, and I leaked, aba, maswerte ka. That means you are enterprising. But you are not going to be penalized for your enterprise or initiative. Who will be punished? The one, who under the law has no obligation and is prohibited from disclosing it.

Halimbawa, abogado ako ni Cely, and I disclosed yung sinabi nya sa akin sa kaso nya, ako ang liable. Pero hindi si Bryan na sumulat nun. Kung ang nag-leak ay nasa Los Angeles, paano natin mapaparusahan? May extra territorial application ito. Ibig sabihin, yung mga violator sa California can be sued by the one who was agreed here in the Philippines or in California. Under this law.

What does the data privacy protection act intend to do? To protect the internet. To protect the users of internet. But above all, to assure those who give a confidential information to a service provider who will be assured of confidentiality unless he/she agrees to disclose it. So it is for the protection of the internet user and for --- internet lang. Pag inintercept mo ang transmission - the real time submission - inintercept mo through whatever computer device, ibang usapan yun. Cybercrime yun. That's another law.

She is still protected. In other words, the freedom of the journalist to write what is news worthy is never impaired or adversely affected by this law. In fact, it is enhanced.

So, misleading po yung lumabas na balita sa dyaryo?

Misleading yun. Yung nag-leak na under obligation na not to leak, not to disclose, yun ang may kasalanan. He will be the one liable. This is more BPO, more on business. Saka yung mga HMO. Health insurance.

So, sir, under your bill, ano po yung mga particular na penalty na nakalagay?

Hindi ko matandaan yung specific penalty. Basta may penalty ka. Pwede bang ibwelta ko muna ang usapan sa - ano ba ang nagawa namin this legislative year that is about to expire in less than two weeks?

Well, I think the most outstanding achievement namin nga is the impeachment, that in 44 days in session and in almost five months of proceedings, we have shown to the public that we can dispense justice in an even way, even-handed and fairly to the high and mighty as well as to anyone else equally.

Now, in terms of lawmaking, at least from my point of view, I have, I think accomplished, despite this time constraint, I have accomplished the protection of the internet. Because in the past two days, I have presided over the bicam of the Data Protection Act and this morning, the cyber crime law, and this is as I said, to expand the usage of the internet, protect the users, especially the young, and it will contribute to innovation in our country. And as you know, the BPOs probably the largest job creator and wealth creator in this country right now.

And in terms of education, of social services, we have passed the kindergarten law, we will soon pass the early years act, we have launched the K-12, at least the k1-7, the rest will be rolled out in subsequent years. We are looking at the rationalization of the higher education landscape, where there's too many public institutions and too many lousy diploma-type private institutions. But above all, I am looking in particular to the training of teachers. It is very saddening to see that officially, according to the national census, our production of teachers is getting lower and lower. But not just simply quantitatively. Qualitatively, the teachers training is getting also down in standards. So I'm concentrating at the resumption of session on the teacher training. We have created a scholarship program for the eleven original normal schools in this country to attract again the valedictorians and salutatorians to teaching.

We have introduced some innovation in science and technology, like the conversion of algae into animal feed. The cost of fish and meat in our country is so high, because of one single cost factor. The feed for bangus, the feed for chicken is almost 50 percent of the cost of a chicken and that one fish. So if you can lower the cost of feed, then you will also lower the retail price.

So, through science and this algae, we are going to -- we hope to reduce the cost, because algae is almost free. And we are a coastal country, we have so much locations for raising algae.

Now, what do I think we should do? I think we should continue improving our human capital education, health, the housing. because in all three fronts, our standards are going down in education. Hindi ba sabi nga, the number of graduates every year is going down rather than going up in proportion to our rising population. The quality now of education is going down and the number of teachers is going down again. Many of our kids entering schooling is either malnourished and therefore, is prone to dropping out. So that's probably the quality of our human resources. And yet, just barely two years away, we will be competing with the Singaporeans, the Malaysians, the Cambodians, the Vietnamese and the Thais. Why? Because we will be one big Asian community like the European Community tayo. That means that there will be free flow of goods and people and jobs within Asia and the Filipino must compete nga with all these nationalities.

Are we prepared? I don't think we are. Despite the fact that probably we are the - probably one of the most creative in SEA, and yet we are not giving our kids the opportunity to realize on that creativity and innovation.

So that's I think, our number one priority when we resume.

The second is we are still lacking in critical infrastructure, whether it's goods, airport, whether it's access road, and remember, we are not one big mass of geography - we are a fragmented geography across one thousand miles of coastline, kilometer of coastline--scattered and therefore access is vital for the movement of passenger of people as well as goods so that you encourage commerce and trade which will add to your economy, which we don't have because of lack of access and lack of critical infrastructure like airports and transport equipment. And also food--we have to look at food and the supply of water. We don't have an unlimited supply of safe water because most of the rain that fall go back to sea--we don't have a rainfall catchment system where the rains go to cisterns or at the very least go into the ground rather than flow into the sea. I think we take our water resources so casually, so cavalierly. We must take care of our water resources and our land resources so that the 100 million Filipinos can be fed well, can be clothed well.

And finally housing--we just discussed the creation of a housing department. Yes, I think that is needed because we have at least 5 million housing units backlog in our country. we see every other day, conflagration, fire in slum areas. not only are they living in sub-human conditions, but they are losing even that bare housing.

Sir, you have a lot of good plans but you have only until May 2012--

But we can do that, kung talagang focused tayo at targeted. Bakit dito sa impeachment, "Ay no, this will take one year." But with a focused, targeted leadership, we were able to finish in 44 trial days. I think we have more than 44 session days remaining before we adjourn this legislative year.

Last 3 questions:

There are just 2 important amendments that I think we have to pass in order to avoid being blacklisted. The Anti-terrorism Financing Act, which had a ready consensus among the Senators when we had our caucus and the requirement that before you can examine the bank account of a suspected, say, drug dealer, you must first of all inform him, which seems to even an ordinary person, nonsensical--because he would just fly the coop. To open that would be futile.

But there are safeguards in place. To open it you need a court order--that means a hearing. That's already a built-in safeguard against arbitrariness. Kapag naipasa na natin yun, okay na tayo.

Halimbawa, we assume that a person is guilty but yung account na yan ay sa grandson nya, who is innocent, why should we freeze that account, diba?

How should the President treat corona? What of the waiver?

Sa palagay ko, I think the man is punished enough by being removed from such a high position and being perpetually disqualified from holding any pulic office. I think we should stop there. If there is some person who is aggrieved, like his family, then that is another matter. But using the state's power to prosecute and pursue him, baka naman overstretching na. Sa palagay ko, hindi na dapat.

Iba naman yan. Liability mo sa government yan eh. As a citizen, you must settle that. Put pursuing some other penal or criminal punishment, like sending him to jail, I think even the Filipino people would draw the line na.

Pero pwede syang habulin ng BIR?

Obligation mo yan as a citizen eh. and obligation to your kin, na hindi mo sya dinaya. Dapat isettle yan as a private dispute.

Forfeited na lahat ng benefits nya?

Oo, sa palagay ko. That's part of his penalty.

However, what I don't want to see is a vindictive government. He would then be able to prove that he was pursued out of vindictiveness. No government should appear to be or seem to be vindictive.

On the progress of the Data privacy bill

Ipepresent namin sa bicam. I believe that you should use your own investigative power rather than resort to that. That's an easy way out.

A new department dedicated solely to the development of information and communication technology. DICT. Yes, magbi-bicam na kami.

Sir, kung nasa bicam na bago mag-adjourn, maa-approve na ba?

Tapos na sa bicam eh. Transmission to plenary to be approved for ratifiction. Siguro sa Lunes.

Yes, I hope so. Dalawan yun eh. DICT. Magbi-bicam na kami. We will try and get it done by June 7. Yung dalawa tapos na kami sa bicam.

Plan after 2013:

Unang-una, Kukumbidahin ko kayo at doon tayo magka-kapihan sa Baler. And then, I'm positive, at least one or two of you will decide to stay in Baler. Maganda eh.

Next month, I am invited to go to Spain because I will receive and I will be admitted through a very formal ceremony as a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, Sciences and Letters. Hindi ba kayo proud of that?

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