Press Release
October 9, 2012

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the Bangsamoro Agreement

SP I have not studied it from the summary that I was provided with by the negotiators of government. I think it is a doable formula.

Q Kailangan daw po ng charter change?

SP Hindi naman siguro, although under the Constitution, the territorial division of the country is provided to mean barangays, municipalities, cities, provinces, but we have also regional setups. Now, in this particular case, we have already a provision in the Constitution establishing autonomous regions. As a matter of interpretation, you can provide for the ARMM and the Cordillera a formula similar to what was provided in the summary that I got. I have taken a position that we can solve this problem in Mindanao provided we only give them lands but not air space and seas, or large bodies of waters outside the normal municipal waters outside of our present regional territorial divisions.

Q There is a section on revenue generation and wealth sharing...

SP That can be done. I think in the ARMM law that we drafted, we also gave them the power to raise revenues. Even the local governments are given the power to raise revenues by law.

Q Yung imposition po ng taxes?

SP Kaya nga. Hindi ba? Within their region, they can be within a city or within a municipality, within a barangay, Congress has the power to allocate the power to tax.

Q How about the section that the Bangsamoro will have the authority to receive grants and donations from domestic and foreign sources?

SP They can do that. Even local governments can do that.

Q There is no need to get clearance from the higher authorities?

SP Well, that will be provided by law. I understand that the agreement is not self-executing. It has to be translated into legislation.

Q The fact that they allowed themselves to undergo Congress?

SP Yes. In other words, I am not a Constitutionalist. This is actually like a territorial division of the country especially designed for Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera. It is in the Constitution.

Q Yung concerns na kailangan ng Constitutional amendments?

SP To the extent that there is a need for it, they provided that in the agreement. That is the same thing that was provided in the Tripoli agreement. In the Tripoli agreement, it was also provided. I cannot answer all your questions now because I haven't read the full text. I am having it enlarged by my staff because I have impaired vision.

Q Matagal na proseso po ba ito?

SP Hindi naman. Pag-dedebatihin namin ito but in the meantime, I think there is a provision that the President can issue an Executive Order to cover the transition period subject to the modification that the Congress may introduce if that is warranted.

Q Yung ARMM, hindi pa po affected para doon sa tatakbo sa 2013 elections?

SP I think ang election na contemplated here will be sometime in 2016.

Q Pero yung concept niya is doable kahit na wala pong cha-cha?

SP Oo, doable ito. Wala silang territory except lands. When you talk of territory it involves the air space and the high seas.

Q You have a very impressive background on defense sa Pilipinas, wala ba kayong nakikitang concerns as far as security is concerned?

SP No. The way I understood it briefly when I was given a briefing yesterday by Ms. Deles, was that this is an improvement, a great improvement from the Tripoli agreement and from the MOA-AD because I understand, there is even a period of time for the mobilization of forces. I think we have to give it a chance to be studied very carefully before we start shooting it down.

Q Ang concern ng ilan, baka after magkaroon ng final peace agreement, may panibago na namang armed group na ma-create?

SP There is always that possibility. It is a dynamic society not only in Mindanao but anywhere else in the country.

Q Hindi pwedeng maging part ng peace agreement na wala na dapat panibagong armed group?

SP As far as the MILF is concerned and the people of the covered area. In fact, the covered area now is essentially covered by the ARMM. It is essentially a part of this agreement, only that the addition are some municipalities in certain provinces that wanted to be a part of the ARMM but they were not because of the plebiscite that was held during the time that the past laws were presented to the people. I think even under this arrangement, there will also be a plebiscite.

Q Ano po ang effect nung MNLF-GRP agreement sa Jakarta?

SP They will be integrated together because you are dealing with the same area, the ARMM.

Q Sabi sa agreement, yung Bangsamoro government will be in a ministerial form. How is it different from the ARMM?

SP Yes. Right now, provinces also have their legislative bodies in the form of the provincial boards. Even the barangays, they have their own legislative bodies. Even the municipalities, they have their own legislative bodies and Congress I think has the power to enact a law granting them this kind of system because they are going to enact mostly on the basis of their Shariah Law and the economic circumstance in their area. That is why they are given the power to tax. Of course, I don't think that it was provided in the Constitution that we are a unitary system. In fact, we have the features of a parliamentary because multi-party system na tayo ngayon. Under the 1973 Constitution, we adopted a parliamentary system, so when the 1987 Constitution was being introduced, we were also introducing a parliamentary system except that it was defeated by one vote and that was why they had to quickly redo the Constitution. Kaya nagkaroon ng maraming mga vague provisions. There is in fact in the psyche of this country the desire to adopt a parliamentary system and I think this will be a good experiment to find out how a parliamentary system of government will operate. As far as I am concerned. I am not forcing my opinion on others, but I would risk this for this purpose and find out how good is a parliamentary form of government. This will be a model.

Q So perfect time ito to risk it?

SP There is no perfect time, there is always a time.

Q Dapat isama sa plebiscite yun?

SP No, I think that is an agreed one. Yung inclusion of other areas in the present ARMM area is the subject of a plebiscite. I am just thinking, because I have not read the whole thing yet. I have not even started reading it.

Q Kung may working framework na, paano sa Congress kung may mga amendments?

SP Pag-uusapan yun. You have to adhere to the agreement as closely as possible.

Q Doon sa briefing ni Ms. Deles kahapon, did she mention bakit yung MOA-AD tsaka yung Tripoli agreement did not work in the past?

SP Hindi ko na tatalakayin yun, hindi ko alam. We did not discuss those things but I knew the Tripoli agreement quite well. I've read the MOA-AD and I also objected to the MOA-AD, and President Arroyo immediately stopped it because she believed that indeed, the MOA-AD would not work under the present Constitution.

Q Yung kay Senator Miriam, aside from her concerns doon sa kailangan daw po ng cha-cha, yung possible influence ng Malaysia and why give in daw po to the demands of a minority group?

SP Why give in? We are settling a political problem that festered over time. I am quite familiar with this problem. I am not saying that others do not have an opinion, but I think they should study it first.

Q Doon sa participation daw ng Malaysia?

SP Well, that is given because they were invited as mediators but we should look at the problem regarding the result of the negotiation, not the participation of others. Is this result acceptable to us or not?

Q Kasi baka daw madiktahan tayo ng dayuhan?

SP No. Hindi. Maski na walang Malaysia diyan, kung gusto tayong kunin, pwede naman tayong giyerahin ng maski sinong bayan. Maski na Brunei, pwede tayong giyerahin. Pati Palau, pwede rin tayong giyerahin, Vanuatu or Nauru or Kiribati.

On Cybercrime Prevention Law

Q Yung Cybercrime Prevention Law, ngayon na idi-discuss ng Supreme Court, do you have any expectations? Made-declare ba itong unconstitutional?

SP Wala. I will leave it to the Supreme Court at this time.

Q Sa tingin ninyo made-declare na unconstitutional?

SP I will not render an opinion. You know, I am an agent of the court. I must leave the court to decide a Constitutional issue without me saying my opinion. Whatever I say is simply my opinion and it could be different from the opinion of others.

Q Nagpatawag ng dialogue sa lahat ng stakeholders, move po ba yun ng palasyo?

SP Mabuti yun para pakinggan. Para mapakinggan yung mga hinaing.

On the Bridge Program

Q Ano po ang tingin ninyo dito?

SP Hintayin muna natin na matapos yung usapan.

On why there is no need to create an amendment to the Constitution regarding the Bangsamoro

SP Sa akin, hindi dahil meron na tayong Constitutional provision authorizing the creation of an autonomous region for the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao. Autonomous region. Ano ba ang ibig sabihin ng autonomous?

Q So yun ang gagamitin po?

SP Yun ang gagamitin na batayan. We have already done it before. The provision on Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera were not self-executing. They needed legislation. We passed the legislation, so we can do the same thing here, because there is no territory in the political sense, in the sense of political, sayang. When you are talking of a state you need a territory, you need a government, you need a people. Here, you have a government, you have a people, but there is no technical term as territory, as we know it in the definition of a state.

Q So there is no need to draft new legislation?

SP We will draft a new legislation that is why we formed an agreement. We recognized the need for a new legislation.

Q There will definitely be a shift in the form of government?

SP They are still under a President. The President of the Republic of the Philippines. The only thing is that they will have their own parliament and their Prime Minister siguro, who is actually acting in the place of a governor.

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