Press Release
August 22, 2012

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On Secretary Robredo

Q: Pwede ba 'yung posthumous confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (CA)?

SP: Hindi ko alam. We have to study it. Not that I don't want him to be confirmed, in fact we had him scheduled for confirmation, but as far as my recollection goes, it has never been done before.

Q: Pero sir, pwede ba gawin 'yun?

SP: I do not know if we can do a posthumous confirmation. I must confess my ignorance.

Q: Sir, 'yung delay sa confirmation, hindi kasalanan ng CA?

SP: Mayroong mga questions about him by some members of the Commission and that's why there was a delay in his confirmation. But then, that problem was settled earlier and his confirmation was scheduled for this month.

Q: Sa August 29 naka-schedule po 'yun so wala na po 'yun?

SP: Wala na. He's sadly gone.

Q: Sir, ano 'yung mga questions para sa kanya na naka-delay? About his performance po ba?

SP: Hindi ko alam. Alam mo kami sa Commission, if somebody wants to ask questions, we cannot question what those questions are.

Q: Sir, statement lang po ninyo sa pagkawala ni DILG Secretary Robredo...

SP: I have already made a statement. I was sad that my friend, a close one, in fact I remember about a month ago, he came to my office and we talked about certain things regarding the country and our future. Then, all of a sudden, I heard that he was missing one evening. As the night started to deepen and he was not found, I had started to have my doubts about his survival. So, I prayed for him.

Q: Sir, Malacañang appears to be considering the proposal na bumili na lang ng mga eroplano...

SP: Kailangan 'yun para sa mga senior officials of the government. Kami, noong panahon namin, we attempted to provide the executives of the government, especially those who are travelling often out of Manila, a safe transportation system. Especially we are an archipelago, you traverse jungles and large bodies of water, especially when you travel by helicopter, if the helicopter crashes in the sea, there is zero survivability.

Q: Sir, ang concern ata ng Malacañang usually may mga criticisms kapag ganyan nag-aallocate ng malaking budget...

SP: That is the burden of leadership. You expect criticism because you cannot please everybody when you make a decision. I have gone through that. In fact, I lost an election in 1971 because I had to assume the responsibility for the decisions that have been made where I participated, for things we did not do and yet we were blamed publicly for it but that's a part of life if you accept public service.

Q: Sir, 'yung death ni Robredo, did it serve the lesson na bigyan ng maayos na...

SP: He is a loss to the country. He's young. He could have been a leader of this nation, a promising one. He's not only a loss to his family especially his wife and children and his province but to the entire country.

Q: Sir, do you think what happened should start a review ng ating aviation sector?

SP: Hindi naman lahat may kasalanan diyan. Alam mo, dapat, we better not expand the issue again. Let's focus with the problem at hand.

Q: Sir, 'yung next hearing ba ng CA, hindi ba pwedeng ituloy 'yung confirmation at least for the record that he was confirmed by the CA?

SP: Whether he was confirmed or not, it makes no difference. He had a valid appointment as Secretary. He will be a Secretary of Interior and Local Government in the political history of this country. Confirmation or no confirmation.

Q: So walang bearing sir kahit na sasabihin sa mga background sa kanya na he has not been confirmed at all by the CA?

SP: That has no bearing. Every signature he made before his death are all valid except if they're illegal or unconstitutional.

Q: Sir, he deserves a state burial ba?

SP: Well, I think so. He's a member of the Cabinet. Not everyone can become members of the Cabinet. The member of the Cabinet is entitled to I think a 19-gun salute. That's my recollection.

Q: Sir, reaction lang po, si Exec. Sec. Paquito Ochoa na po 'yung nilagay na OIC sa DILG...

SP: Tama lang 'yun. He's the head of the Cabinet. He's the Chief. He's the Executive Secretary. As far as the Chief Executive is the President, he's the direct alter-ego. He's Secretary Ochoa unless his powers are limited by the President.

On the rice smuggling in Subic

Q: Sir, comment lang sa hearing kanina, you said that the truth lies somewhere...

SP: You see, all of these people contradict each other. So, who's telling the truth? We have to tell them to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of the committee.

Q: Sir, particularly 'yung Indian?

SP: Hindi naman particulary 'yung Indian. Sinabi nung mga abogado nila na there's an active negotiation for the sale of this product in the Philippines and he continuously and repeatedly said that there was no intention to sell the product in the Philippines, in fact they found a buyer already. I asked him why he did not say, "Look, we're not selling this rice in the country." He said it verbally but not on record so to tell you frankly, I doubted his testimony.

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