Press Release
November 12, 2012

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the alleged complaint against Senator Sotto

SP: We cannot be questioned for what we say inside this Chamber anywhere, not because we are a special breed but because that is the immunity given by the sovereign people so that we can speak on any subject under the sun. There's a major, national, sovereign policy.

Q: So you think, sir, any ethics complaint concerning what you say...

SP: You cannot be questioned by anybody outside this Chamber.

Q: Even the allegation of plagiarism?

SP: You cannot be questioned. How can they question you when you say anything here. Constitutional law 'yon. I said that before not because of any arrogance of power. Those people who do not understand it, they're ignorant of Constitutional law, of the very Constitution that they are supposed to espouse. At saka kung may plagiarism, the remedy is not criminal action, civil action. It's a civil suit for damages by the person whose work has been plagiarized.

Q: Sir, hindi pwedeng ethics case dito sa Senate?

SP: Then, they can file a case. What ethical misconduct is there?

Q: Pero kung basihan, plagiarism nga, sir? Will it succeed?

SP: Well, if they can get enough senators to vote in their favor. That's the problem. We better change our system if we want to change the system. But for as long as we have the system, it's always a question of numbers and there is always a political content involved in everything we do here. In the end, you can only kick of this House if you have I think ¾ of the members or 2/3 voting in your favor or you can go to the people. You cannot discipline anybody here unless they commit a crime. If you commit a crime, you can charge them.

Q: Pero sir, sabi niyo hindi pwedeng kwestiyunin 'yung sinasabi ng senators?

SP: Read the Constitution. We do not have to lecture about it. It's the Constitution. Even the members of the House, it's the same thing. Even in the United States, it's the same thing.

Q: If that is so, sir, do you see any plagiarism complaint being heard in the Ethics and Privilege Committee in the first place?

SP: It can be heard but can you kick out? Can you discipline a senator if you don't have the numbers? It's not a question of arrogance of powers. That's the immunity granted by the people. If you really respect the Constitution, enforce that rule. If you don't want it, change the system of government or amend the Constitution.

Q: Sir, what would you say to the critics who are saying that the Senate may be tolerating plagiarism?

SP: We're not tolerating. That's an individual responsibility. In fact, as an institution, we copy laws prepared by other countries. This morning I was hearing somebody lecturing about the coconut levy and I was the first one who suggested that formula. I said, "Let's sell all the assets of the coconut levy fund. Convert it into cash. Put it in a trust fund and let the government use the principal of the trust fund. Pay interest and we use the interest to redevelop the coconut industry." Somebody was mouthing what I already said before.

On the sibling rivalry between JV and Senator Jinggoy

Q: Sir, can we ask you about the sibling rivalry issue between Senator Jinggoy and JV?

SP: Those are personal things. I do not want to deal with personal things. That has nothing to do with the life and interest of this country.

Q: But if the former President did not intervene, would it cause a dent in the campaign of UNA?

SP: No. It will not.

Q: Ironic kasi na united opposition...

SP: We are united. Period. I do not know about the others. UNA is united.

Q: But being close to the Estradas, do you sense any animosity between the two?

SP: There's none. My son and I differ sometimes and so does brother and sister, brother and brother, sister and sister.

Q: So, it's normal?

SP: What's so new about that?

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