Press Release
June 1, 2012


Before the conviction of CJ Corona. There was a controversial statement you made. But before that I want to go back to what happened before the conviction. There was a meeting in Sen. Loren Legarda's house.

SJEE: How did you know about it?

It was all over. It was (Senators) Enrile, Honasan, Sotto, Estrada, Villar and Loren Legarda.

SJEE: Plus one. Si Sen. Revilla.

That's right. Sen. Bong Revilla. That night was the decision for all of you to come together as a bloc.

SJEE: No, no. Actually Sen. Legarda hosted a dinner for all of us. Actually we invited the Senate President if he can join us. And we expressed our views regarding the impeachment trial. And of course, we laid our cards on the table. We let Manong Johnny or the Senate President knew about our decision or our inclination.

And all inclination was for a conviction?

SJEE: Majority.

So there were some that were for maybe not a guilty verdict?

SJEE: Yes.


SJEE: Honestly, I had a lot of sleepless nights thinking about it.

Does this have anything to do with what happened to you in the past?

SJEE: No. I just didn't want some people to experience what we have experienced before because it was quite painful.

So there was a chance that you were going to say not guilty?

SJEE: Well, I admit yes. But based on all the pieces of evidence that I read before the day of the conviction, I was really convinced that he was guilty.

Is it fair to say that Sunday night, you were still 50-50?

SJEE: Before I read the summary, before my staff gave me the summary.

You were intently watching. You were always there. You were asking questions. Some of the witnesses, you weren't too happy with them. Mr. Harvey Keh also sinabi mo nga, "Nagsisinungaling ka sa amin." That Sunday night when you were still about 50-50, what convinced you? Is it because everyone else is inclined to render a guilty verdict?

SJEE: No. As I have told you, when I read the summary that was provided to me by my staff regarding the impeachment trial, I found a lot of loopholes in the testimony of the Chief Justice. And of course the non-disclosure of his a/ssets in the SALN. Nagkakumpul-kumpol na yung aking mga ebidensya na the next day to convict him.

Frankly though Senator I mean personally watching you also I would have thought, you would not need a brief from your staff because you were always there. Nakikinig ka talaga, nagtatanong ka. I didn't think any sort of summary from them to clear your mind.

SJEE: Pero marami din mga pangyayari, there were a lot incidents that I tend to forget. I let my staff write it down.

That's true. When did you read it? Monday?

SJEE: Yeah Monday.

You were seven. Doon sa seven, was there anyone else who was inclined to render maybe a not guilty verdict?

SJEE: There was one senator who was really undecided. And I will not mention him anymore.

On his vote to convict the Chief Justice. All that is done. I remember your speech, your explanation of vote. What stuck to my mind was when you said, "He was a learned man."

SJEE: Yes. For me being a chief justice, he would have memorized the law. He is a learned man of the law. I was not convinced on his testimony last Friday when he came back the second time around before the Senate impeachment court after that walkout.

So you do consider that a walkout. Do you believe when he said he did not intend to walk out?

SJEE: Yes, let's just give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he is really sick. I do not know.

That macho bloc. That's supposed to be you, Honasan, Sotto and Enrile. Why is it the macho bloc?

SJEE: I don't know. I just read it in the papers.

You have no idea why are called the macho bloc?

SJEE: Yeah. I don't have any idea.

Frankly, when this proceedings were going on, many eyes are really on the four of you. Because that would have provided a swing vote. Was it an understanding seriously among the four of you because obviously you have high respect for Senate President Enrile that none of you would go the other way?

SJEE: No. To be fair, the Senate President told us from the very start that he will not influence the votes that we are going to render. Sinabi niya sa amin sa simula't sapul na kung anuman ang maging desisyon ko, bahala kayo basta you appreciate the evidence that you have. Bahala kayo bumoto.

Walang samaan ng loob?

SJEE: Walang samaan ng loob.

Walang bloc vote?

SJEE: Walang bloc voting. It just so happened that pare-pareho kami ng iniisip.

What was the catalyst for you to render a guilty verdict on the Chief Justice?

SJEE: When I was reading the pieces of evidence or the summary that was provided for me by my staff, I also took into account the closeness of the Chief Justice to the former President. Naisip ko na naman ang TRO na pinayagan ni Chief Justice Corona si GMA na makalayas. At alam naman nating lahat na kapag nakaalis iyon, hindi na babalik. That was one thing that stuck my mind.

Because for most, it was really the money.

SJEE: Yes. And of course, the non-disclosure of his assets in his SALN.

Pero ikaw naisip mo pa talaga, was that Article 8?

SJEE: No. I think it was Article 7.

On signing a bank waiver. Alright, moving forward, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano saying, "Let's us all be transparent here. We convicted somebody, the Chief Justice. Let us all sign a waiver. Lahat tayo." Even encouraging also the President to do the same. What's your stand on that?

SJEE: I have no problem with it. I can sign the waiver anytime.

On either dollar or peso accounts?

SJEE: Yes, it's no problem with me.

So that's a non-issue to you?

SJEE: Yeah, non-issue.

Do you think the president should?

SJEE: Well, it is up to him. That is his call whether to sign or not to sign.

Do you have a dollar account?


So puro peso?

SJEE: Puro peso.

On the filing of charges against the CJ Corona. Now let's go to the news yesterday. You are saying now that there is this apparent closeness which you had mentioned between the Chief Justice and the former President. We know what happened to your father. We know what happened to you. Now you are saying, which is a shock to some, that you called someone, an ally of the President PNoy to not pursue criminal charges anymore against the Chief Justice.

SJEE: Actually to be honest with you, I talked to Sen Drilon and to relay and convey my message to the president, President Noy. Anyway natanggal na ng impeachment court si Chief Justice Corona, I don't think the government (should) pursue the case against him. It's really very difficult for himself, for his family. Masakit, dahil kami napagdaanan namin yan. Ninakawan ng puwesto, kinasuhan, tapos kinulong pa! Triple whammy. It's very painful. And in fact, the impeachment court did not prove that there was ill-gotten wealth. It did not come from the government. Yung perang nandoon, sabihin natin 2.4 million dollars at 80.7 million pesos na commingled funds, hindi naman nanggaling sa gobyerno. Wala namang napatunayan na ninakaw iyon sa gobyerno.

There's really compassion on your end.

SJEE: Nakakaka-awa.

I remember when this happened to your family, at one point andoon din po kayo sa Veterans' and eventually you were able to post bail.

SJEE: After two years.

That's not eventually, kasi ang habang panahon din iyon. Pero si Erap naiwan. Eventually nalipat din po siya.

SJEE: Marami pa siyang pinaglipatan. Sa Camp Capinpin. Before lumipat doon sa resthouse sa Tanay.

What is your feeling though now that you have the BIR (Commisioner) Kim Henares saying there's still going to continue the investigation kung nag-match yung kanyang kanyang tax declaration and his assets.

SJEE: Well kung kanyang income tax return tsaka yung kanyang SALN, iko-comapre ng BIR kung talagang halos magka-tugma o commensurate sa binabayad ni Chief Justice na income tax return. Palagay ko huwag na. Kawawa naman.

When you spoke to Sen. Franklin Drilon that time, don't you have a direct line to PNoy?

SJEE: I have. But of course, before is used to call him up when we were both senators. Siyempre president na yun. I will pass through the normal channel.

What's the reaction of Sen. Drilon? Nagulat ba siya?

SJEE: Hindi naman. He was very accommodating. He informed me that he will relay to the President.

Do you think he is in agreement with you, or your co-senators and your colleagues? Do you find anyone of them..

SJEE: Yes, I think Senate President Enrile. Even Sen. Angara I read in the papers this morning is in agreement.

But you can only ask?

SJEE: I can only appeal. It is still up to the government.

But then the issue here you is have the BIR and the Ombudsman investigating the Chief Justice.

SJEE: I think the BIR already asked for a certified true copy of the bank waiver from the Office of the Senate President.

What about the move of the Ombudsman to investigate further?

SJEE: That's the call of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. I cannot do anything about it.

Pero kung kayo ang tatanungin, sana huwag na?

SJEE: Tama na. Tama na ang persecution.

On the next Supreme Court Chief Justice. The next problem is who will be the next chief justice. I want to get your thoughts on this. Are you ok that an outsider can become a chief justice or do you want somebody from within?

SJEE: Well it is my belief, it is my humble opinion that the President can appoint an outsider as long as that outsider is included in the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council. But it would be better if the President will appoint a Chief Justice from among the associate justices.

Do you have someone in mind that you would like? Let bring in a little background on this. Let me ask you this. Are you ok with Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, of course it is not your choice, to become Chief Justice? I mean are you comfortable with that?

SJEE: Well, I don't know him that well. I just see him on TV. But I don't think I might be quite comfortable.

Really. Why?

SJEE: Yes. Siyempre kaaway ni Chief Justice Corona yan, tapos yun ang ipapalit. Lalong magkakagulo-gulo pa.

Then here comes the next one, senior justices can automatically be nominees. One of them is Assoc. Justice Teresita de Castro who was I think if Iam not mistaken was part of the Sandiganbayan when you and your father were being tried and later on rendered a guilty verdict.

SJEE: Yes, against my father.

Are you ok with Associate Justice de Castro?

SJEE: Yes, I've met her in a lot of social events, parties. We were invited together. Minsan hinahalikan ko si Justice Tessie de Castro, sabi ko, "Good evening maam." Tapos humahalik din siya sa amin, parang walang nangyari. She's ok.

Why did you do that though? I wanna know.

SJEE: Let bygones be bygones. Tapos na iyon eh. Nangyari na. Total na-pardon na naman ang tatay ko. But she said one sentence that I really cannot forget.

What did she say?

SJEE: Huwag na. It's not for public consumption. I'll just tell it you later.

Noong lumapit kayo, wala man lang, nagulat siguro siya. Of course, this is Sen. Jinggoy Estrada kinonvict ko ang tatay nito noon sa Sandiganbayan.

SJEE: Tsaka hind ilang iyon. Noong araw, noong senator na ako, when I was still under their jurisdiction when she was still the Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan, pinaghihintay nila akong mga justices sa parking lot para lang humingi ako ng travel order. Hinihintay kong mag-desisyon ang Sandiganbayan dahil pupunta na ako sa abroad. Kailangan ko ng travel order. Pinaghihintay nila ako sa parking lot, e Senator na ako noon. Pero ok lang sa akin. Iyon lang ang mga pinag-uusapan namin.

So wala man lang, was there, "Pasensya na kayo." Walang ganoon?

SJEE: Walang ganoon.


SJEE: Walang ganoon. Iyon lang naman ang sinasabi ko sa kanya, noong araw noong Justice kayo, pinaghihintay niyo ako sa parking lot, kahit senador na ako. Pero ok lang yun.

So ok din sa iyo si Teresita de Castro. But the president has about 90 days at max to fill that position.

SJEE: Yes.

On legislative work after the impeachment trial. And the country needs to move forward. What are you immediate plans for hereon after impeachment trial?

SJEE: We still have one more week to go before we adjourn sine die. I heard that the House of Representatives has already passed on third reading my Kasambahay Bill. And I think that will be one of the landmark bills that will enacted into law. And that is a priority bill of President Noynoy Aquino.

This sets a minimum for househelpers?

SJEE: Here in Metro Manila, what was in my bill was I think 2,500 or 3,000 pesos. Hindi dapat bumaba nang 3,000 pesos ang bayad monthly para sa ating mga kasambahay.

And then there are benefits? Let's talk about it briefly.

SJEE: There are a lot of benefits. Yung mga Philhealth. Mandatory. Tsaka kailangan may dayoff ang mga iyon, once a week. Obligado. Tsaka may kontrata between the employer and the kasambahay. Para hindi naman masyadong maargabyado ang ating mga kasambahay. And that is also a pro-poor bill.

So it's on third and final reading?

SJEE: Yes. We have passed the bill in the Senate even during the last Congress. Ngayon lang napasa sa House.

I'm sure you'll have a lot of helpers happy with this because it's about time.

SJEE: We have to give them dignity.

Looking back on the process of impeachment trial. A question Senator: What was the contentious issue among senators when the trial was ongoing?

SJEE: Well first of all we were talking about the walkout that happened - the disrespect towards the court. Iyon talagang malaki yung issue doon when we went straight to the senators' lounge. Talagang we were all surprised. We were caught by surprise. And the Senate President was really fuming mad about it.

To say the least. Kayo galit na galit din ba kayo?

SJEE: I myself as a senator-judge I was offended by the way the Chief Justice acted.

Do you think you very fair sir in your line of questioning both for prosecution and defense?

SJEE: Yes. I think so.

Let me rephrase that question. When you look back, was there anything that you could have a better job with regard to a witness?

SJEE: I think I have exhausted everything already. Sometimes I ask questions for the prosecutors, for the witnesses of the prosecutors, and sometimes sa defense. Patas lang para hindi naman malaman ng tao kung saan ka kikiling.

That's exactly what I was gonna say next. People are always reading you guys and thinking, "Kanino ba ito mukhang kakampi?" Kasi one time, ok ka sa prosecution, tapos galit ka sa defense. Mamaya galit ka naman sa defense, ok ka naman sa prosecution. For example, Harvey Keh. Any regrets there? I remember hindi ba good governance sina Grace Padaca was even crying on air.

SJEE: Paanong good governance e ang habol ni Harvey Keh ay exposure sa media. He went to the Office of the Senate President bringing a crew of ABS-CBN para lang makuha yung unauthenticated, unverified documents niya. Tapos sinasabi ni Harvey Keh, nakita na lang daw niya ang media doon. Hindi naman nagpapa-interview ang Senate President at the time when he went to the Office of the Senate President. He was really up for publicity. I did not have any regrets asking him because I had two witnesses, two members of the media, whom he called up and begging if they can write the story regarding that unauthenticated documents. But the members of the media did not buy his story. Dahil unverified ang mga documents niya, sino naman ang loko-lokong magpa-publish sa diyaryo na hindi naman authenticated.

In the many Senate hearings, of course we air that, you seem to have a good research team behind you.

SJEE: Well, yes. I have to admit that I really ask the members of my staff to really research on the issue at hand. Kapag mayroong hearing o mayroong issue, talagang pinare-research ko sila. On my part, I have to read it of course and I have to understand what the resource persons or the witnesses in the trial are trying to say.

Another question: Why the outrage over Harvey Keh when the prosecution also had unauthenticated documents?

SJEE: Remember when I questioned Cong. Tupas and the spokespersons, sina (Cong.) Sonny Angara. Ibinalandra nila ang listahan ng 45 properties sa LRA hindi naman pala totoo. They made the public believe that the CJ owned 45 properties, when in fact he only have 5. Di ba pinagalitan ko si Cong. Tupas, I questioned him about it.

Actually you went on a break, and then I think we were on air that time tapos bumalik kayo. Napanood niyo yata sa ANC, they did a look back noon.

SJEE: Napanood ko sa ANC na ibina-balandra nila yung certificate ng LRA.

On political plans for 2016. That's right. On a last angle, I want to discuss with you, your political plans for 2016. You're a senator right now. Your term ends on 2016 as a second-termer, so that's it for you as senator. There's talk that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said, "As Vice President, I can go for Sen. Jinggoy Estrada or Sen Chiz Escudero." How far off or near is being a vice president to your mind right now. And please don't answer me, "Hindi mo pa iniisip ito ngayon."

SJEE: Totoo naman e.

Kasi talagang iniisip na iyan ngayon.

SJEE: Hindi naman. Of course we have this coalition between the party of Vice President Binay, ang kanyang PDP (PDP-Laban) and the political party of former President Estrada, where I am the President, yung Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino. It is a natural alliance na maraming tongue-waggers na sinasabing Binay-Jinggoy na. Pero actually in fairness to the Vice President, wala kaming pinag-uusapan. Hindi pa humantong sa ganoon. But of course, if I will be considered as his running-mate, it's very, very flattering. I will feel very, very honored.

Are you up for the challenge?

SJEE: Well, depende.

What could stop you if he wants you to be his vice president? What's the one thing that can stop you, after all your father was president?

SJEE: Well, it depends on the survey. If our people want me to become their vice president, of course.

Let me give you a scenario. You and Chiz, UNA has a survey on this at lumamang si Chiz sa iyo. Ok lang sa iyo, you'll give it to him?

SJEE: Alam mo, marami pang pwedeng mangyari. At pwedeng daanan naman sa usapan yan. And there are a lot of vice presidential wannabes, not only Sen. Escudero, there's Sen. Marcos, there's Sen. Revilla, maraming gustong mag-aspire.

So I guess it would depend on a number of things. But obviously you are open to the possibility of that?

SJEE: Yes.

On Cong. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Before you go sir, I forgot this one last question. We're talking about you having compassion for Chief Justice Renato Corona. What about former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Now at Veterans. You and your father were there, I remember. There's a possibility now that she maybe out on bail. Is that something that's ok with you?

SJEE: For me it's up to the courts to decide. But if I were to be asked, she should stay there for a while. Dahil unang-una pera ng gobyerno iyon. Although wala pa iyong ill-gotten wealth dahil sa electoral sabotage pa lang siya kinakasuhan. Pero halatang-halata naman, siguro sooner or later, mayroon na rin siyang kaso diyan sa ill-gotten wealth. Pero palagay ko doon muna siya sa Veterans. Pero kailangan treat her with dignity as a former president.

Is she being treated with dignity right now?

SJEE: I think so.

What about her being a lady. You know, you're always a gentleman, you and your father. Hasn't she been in hospital arrest for quite a long time or is it too short a time?

SJEE: Wala pang isang taon iyon. Too short.

Too short a time?

SJEE: Too short a time.

But eventually, if that happens after some period of time sir, eventually matatanggap niyo din if she's able to post jail like you were able to?

SJEE: Yes. as I have told you it is up to the courts to decide about her fate.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada we thank you so much for coming over. Appreciate it really. Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts on a host of issues. We'll see again sir.

SJEE: Thank you. Anytime.

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