Press Release
August 28, 2012

Transcript of ambush interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the Conditional Cash Transfer Program

Q Are you still convinced that the CCT is working for now?

SP Based on their report, there is a favorable impact but we will assess that as we go along.

On Sereno's appointment as Chief Justice

Q There is disenchantment daw among the Associate Justices kasi mas bata si Sereno?

SP Hindi ko alam kung meron. I cannot judge her. First of all, I do not know her well enough and she is new. When she has the time to show what she can really do for the judiciary, I hope she will really be able to improve the administration of justice in the country especially the courts because they are unlike before, during my time, the judicial body except the Supreme Court was under the Department of Justice. I am quite familiar with the level of performance of the judicial system, at least in my time. Now, it is under the Supreme Court. It was transferred under the Supreme Court under the 1987 Constitution and there are some complaints about the way justice is being administered in the country, especially the rendition of decisions. Of course, you cannot satisfy everybody. There are always complaints but it is I think correct to say that this should be looked into in order to erase any doubt in the minds of the public that justice in this country is not evenly administered. In the case of the first lady Chief Justice of the country, first of all, any person, whether male or female, can be a Chief Justice of the Country. The training is the same for men and women in the law schools, there is no distinction. So, we will see as we move on. I cannot judge her at this moment.

On replacement for DILG Secretary Robredo

Q Malacañang still has to name a replacement for Secretary Robredo but at least two names have cropped up, Congressman Abaya and Senator Lacson.

SP It is up to the appointing power to select the best material for the job. Not only the best material, but the trust and confidence of the appointing power on the person to be appointed because the one who will be appointed will be the alter-ego of the President. He is the embodiment and personification of the President in that department.

Q Considering the qualifications ni Abaya and ni Lacson? Who do you think has the edge?

SP I do not know Abaya very well, but I know Senator Lacson quite well enough. I think if they will tap Senator Lacson, to head that department, he will do very well because he is trained as a law enforcement person and the police organization is under that department. In terms of political content of that function, he is familiar with the breadth of the responsibility because he has been exposed to national politics and the local leaders of the country. He has gone all over the country. He knows the problem of law and order in every area of the country, having been the head of the police department of this country. He was once the head of the Philippine National Police. He was a member of the Cabinet. He has been a Senator for many, many terms so therefore, he is familiar with the laws and conditions of this country, as well as the political nuances involved in administering that department.

Q Theoretical question, if Senator Lacson gets the DILG portfolio, kailangan talaga siya humawak ng PNP dahil Director General siya dati?

SP Hindi siya ang hahawak ng PNP; he will automatically be in charge of the National Police Commission. He will be able to design a national policy for the administration of law and order in the country. He is actually the one in charge of the internal security. In my time, I handled both, the internal and external security of the country because the Philippine Constabulary was under me as Secretary of National Defense, so I know the magnitude and responsibility of the problem he would get himself involved in. Especially, internal conflicts in the country will be under him.

Q Much better ba kung hindi LP member ang susunod na DILG Secretary?

SP Political affiliation is not important. The relationship of the appointee with the Chief Executive, with the President, is. If you are a member of the party, if he does not have full confidence in you, you will have a hard time running your department.

Q May nagsasabi rin na it will be a toss-up between VP Binay and Secretary Mar Roxas?

SP I don't know whether the Vice President is interested to handle that position. I think the Vice President will be well suited for the job because he has been the head of the premier city of the country for a long time, so he knows the problems of both governments.

Q Kakayanin pa ba ni VP Binay?

SP Ang work niya as Vice President is made easier because of his membership in the Cabinet. He is holding a Cabinet position which requires administrative function. Kung Vice President ka lang, ang ginagawa mo lang you travel around the country, kagaya ni President Diosdado Macapagal, before he became President.

Q Nabanggit po yung pangalan ni Governor Joey Salceda?

SP Lahat yan, kaya, dahil may experience sila sa local administration. Alam nila na halos common yung mga problema ng local governments. Pulitika yan. You are mostly involved in politics if you are in the local level, but that position of Interior and Local Government portfolio does not only involve politics. It involves law enforcement. Dalawa yan.

Q Yung post sa DILG pwede rin magamit sa 2013?

SP Lahat ng position sa gobyerno, sa Cabinet, pwedeng gamitin sa pulitika kung pulitika ang pinag-uusapan natin, pero depende yan sa ilalagay mo doon. Kung ano ang kanyang orientation, kung panay pulitika ka lang, walang law enforcement, mahirap yun. Kung panay law enforcement naman at walang pulitika, mahirap din yun. You have to get somebody who has the virtuosity to handle the job. Parang konduktor yan sa banda ng musika.

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