Press Release
November 23, 2012

Cayetano on Proposed Committee Rules and Procedures as discussed during the Senate Ethics Committee Hearing

Reporter: Ano ang reaction ninyo sa ethics complaint kay Sen. Pia?

ASC Life is not fair so all throughout our lives, she's been the more perfect one. And I've always looked forward to a chance to judge her. But now that it falls into this committee and I'm the Chairman, I think it is but logical that when that time comes, I do not participate.

I will assume good faith on the people who filed that case.

But for me not to have this hearing, or to change the rules because of this, I won't do that.

In fact, I kissed her a while ago and said "Sorry for not talking to you for more than a day, because I did not want to talk to you about anything until I finish the rules," so I actually ignored her and other people talking to me. I also instructed my staff to not have any special treatment, to anyone.

They asked me for a copy of the complaint and we gave them the same answer we gave you and everyone else asking for a copy of the complaint: Until we pass the rules, hindi pwedeng sa amin manggaling ang mga kopya.

But if you get it from the archives and from the complainant, we will not object because that's not a violation of the rules.

Let me just point out that there are important things that the committee always takes a look at.

First is whether the complaint contains something that is actionable in the sense that it is: a violation of law, a violation of the rules of the Senate, or that such behavior affects the integrity of the Senate or causes embarrassment to the Senate.

Even if you say that it does, it's still a different question whether the person is guilty or not. For example, nakunan ng video 'yung Senador na nagje-jaywalking, the committee can say we can push through with the case because jaywalking is a crime, but it doesn't mean yet that we are saying that may kasalanan 'yung taong iyon.

That's why I made the amendment that it's not only the Chairman that determines this.

For example, the issues that are now facing us would be issues that people will judge the Senate with. I mean, I don't want to go into that particular issue, but I know everyone is focusing on the plagiarism. Alam naman natin kung ano ang tama at mali. But as I said, we will tackle that one by one.

First of all, plagiarism is a violation of what? Is it law, Senate rules, or the third mode of judging it which is if it's an action that affects the integrity of the Senate? If we say it is, it doesn't mean na guilty na agad 'yung taong ina-accuse. Kasi kailangan nating tingnan kung ano ang elements non.

It's better if the Senate, as a whole, will acknowledge what is disorderly behavior or what is the behavior that causes embarrassment or affects the integrity of the Senate.

In history, there have been borderlines. For example, you have seen animal rights activists in Europe and in the US, for example, who take off their clothes in their protests. If a Senator takes off his clothes while giving a speech, is that free speech or is that causing embarrassment to the Senate?

Sometimes, there's a thin line there. I'm pointing that out because there are things that are very clearto be wrong. Na kahit saan mo ituro, sa elementary, sa highschool, sa college, ang mali ay mali.

You have a right to free speech. Pero tulad ng typical na sinasabi sa lawschool na with free speech, yes, you have a right to shout, but if you shout "Fire!" in a movie house, you can be held liable for that. Hindi ko kinokopya 'yon. Nasa lahat ng law books 'yon.

There are things that will be very clear to the committee. But there are things that will be on the borderline, that the committee can say that we will proceed because we have to look into it further or because it is a violation.But that doesn't mean we're saying that that person actiually violated something. I want to be very clear with that because as we move on, there might be conclusions already that this senator or that senator did this or violated that.

Hindi 'yon ang ibig sabihin ng rules as we proceed.

Reporter: Sino ang uunahin, si Senador Sotto, Sen. Pia, o sabay?

ASC: Lahat ng nag-file ng complaint na pareho, ipagsasabay. So in the next hearing, assuming pasado na ang rules, and then as we go from one of the other, those who have a reason to inhibit can inhibit. For example, if in the first case you realize that you have a same case against you, then you can inhibit there.

Reporter: Ilan lahat ang may mga kaso?

ASC: Six, as of today. One case has three respondents. We will release them as soon as the rules get signed, but if you want to get it directly from them, that's okay. Tatlo kasi ang pinag-file-an. But under the old rules, we cannot release it right away.

So allow me to follow up on that hangga't hindi pa napipirmahan. But there's nothing to stop you from going to the archives and other venues for it, but I can't order the committee to release 'yung sa committee na-file.

Reporter: Sa ngayon, wala pa pong adopted rules?

ASC: As of today, it's approved in principle, subject to the signatures of the members.

Actually, before all of these, and before the impeachment, wala namang nag-o-object na. Kaya wala akong nakikitang dahilan na hindi pumirma ang majority by Monday. Kaya ko lang sinasabi na by Monday kasi we still need to type it up today and have a clean copy. Also, I think the majority of the members will be there on Monday.

So when we get the signatures on Monday, I can try to go for either Thursday or the Monday after. Pumayag naman sila sa budget na ma-suspend ang rules because it's very important for us to show na kahit importante 'yan, hindi gagamitin na dahilan 'yan para ma-delay ang Ethics Committee.

Reporter: Anong significance doon sa ia-adopt ninyong rules?

ASC: Dalawa lang ang iniba ko. One is that if six years ang term mo, at ang ginawa mo ay within your six years, pwede kang kasuhan. Pero hindi pwede 'yung ginawa mo 20 years ago. Kasi kung ganoon, walang katapusan 'yon.

Number two is that instead of the Chairman himself looking at the complaint, ang mangyayari niyan tatawagin ang complainant, tatanungin kung ano ang ground, saan ginawa, kanino ginawa, and then instead of the Chairman coming out with a report himself alone, imi-meet na niya kung sino man ang present and then mag-uusap kung klaro. Kung klarong 7-0, 6-1, o 5-2, we'll draft it na together or kung sino man ang magda-draft. Kung mukhang hati, 3-3-1, or 4-3, we can assign two people.

Sa present rule kasi, ang Chairman ang gagawa. Ang problema, kapag sinabi ng Chairman na i-dismiss, tapos sabihin ng majority "Sandali lang, malinaw ang violation," babaliktarin ka at mawawalan ng credibility ang Chairman.

On the other hand, kapag sinabi ng Chairman na "Kasuhan 'yan," sinabi naman ng majority "Babaliktarin kita," again, lahat n g speculation nandoon, na pinagtatakpan ang kasama.

Ibig sabihin, halimbawa, kung ang maging decision ng Committee ay 5-2, 'yung two na nag-dissent, pwede naman silang sumulat.

Reporter: Can you expound on the amendment to the procedure of preliminary inquiry?

ASC: Yes, for the preliminary inquiry kasi kumbaga diba yung court unlike sa judicial system natin, yung piskal magdedesisyon kung may probable cause ba o wala, yung court guilty ba o hindi. Sa amin, kami na ang piskal, kami din ang judge eh.

So, under the present rule, solong piskal yung Chairman. So, kapag sinabi niyang 'hindi, walang crime yan', hindi na... unless baliktarin siya nung Committee. Mahirap din siya baliktarin ang Committee dahil usually hindi naga-attend ang majority.

I'd rather that it'd be a collegial body which will also help if you'll find for guilt. Why? -Because you'll need their support when you get the plenary. Remember whatever decision the Committee has, to be able to penalize the senator to make it effective, kailangan yung plenary. Even if reprimand lang yon ah.

Because of the Committee system, it's basically a delegation to Committee do the hearing and the work but basically, of course as far as the public is concern, pagka may report na yung Committee ibig sabihin parang may tama na sa reputation nung tao.

Reporter: First in first out?

ASC: Yes but I am not committing that we will have one case at a time. Meaning, kung kaya 2 -3 cases at a time bakit hindi.

Reporter: Can you clarify how cases will be tackled?

ASC: First is with the form. Kung mali yung form madali lang kasi sosoli mo lang, aayusin niya. Pangalawa, yung substance. What the substance means is that you are accusing him of doing something wrong. In layman's term, ang trabaho namin, first instance is kung may substance o wala meaning, is it something wrong?

What is the definition of something wrong? Yung tatlong sinabi ko kanina: (1) you violated a law; (2) violated any rule of the senate relating to his/her conduct and/or demeanor or during the performance of official duties as a member of the senate; (3) Engaged in improper conduct which may reflect upon the senate.

Reporter: When will the rules be published?

ASC: Madali yung publication because sinusunod na natin dito yung immediate effectivity after publication, meaning kung may signature na on Monday, Wednesday pwede mo na ipublish yun. So kung holiday ang Friday, most likely sa first week of December.

Reporter: Will the cases of Sen. Pia and Sen. Sotto be prioritized?

ASC: As I said, I will not participate but for me, once na may unahan, susceptible na sa partisanship ito. You could also ask me the opposite eh: 'What if my sister or someone else moves na mauna yung ibang kaso, papayag ba ako?' I have to have the same answer to everyone.

Kung ako tatanungin, regardless dapat sundin yung order pero in the case of my sister, wala namang choice kundi mag-inhibit ako. As I said, ang logic kasi before is you only have one case at a time.

Kung natatandaan ninyo yung kay Sen. Villar, andaming sinabay na case pero isa lang 'hinear' nila at sabi nila tatapusin muna. But if you have a time-bound Senate, it is not practical to just talk about one case.

So katulad nitong six cases, as far as the preliminary inquiry, pwede mo nang ratsadahin yon e. Iisa-isahin mo kasi tatanungin mo lang basically yung complainant at nasa iyo naman yung complaint. Ang ika-clarify lang does it constitute a violation under the rules.

Reporter: will the accused be required to attend?

ASC: Unang una sa preliminary hindi pa, but may hearing they could be allow to do it. Basic due process its that you cannot force a person to be a witness against himself. On the other hand, everyone has the right to say his accuses. But this is a political office. So, usually it's not really the rules but the portrayal of the person to the public. So, usually there's enough public pressure na harapin ng senador yung accusers niya. Hindi compulsory but then they take the consequences politically. Sometimes that is even more powerful than the reprimand.

Reporter: Public Hearing?

ASC: Yes. I was not in favor of yung baliktarin yung rules na magbobotohan to make it public. Ang sinang-ayunan ko baliktad. Magbobotohan if you are going to make it close to the public. So, the general rule, it will be open but if there are sensitivities or issues of national security and everything.

Reporter: Open to Imposing of Deadlines?

ASC: Actually, yung deadlines kasi katulad ng sa Sin taxes, naka-ilang deadlines kami pero hindi mo naman ma-control kung ilan ang magtatanong at magsasalita.So, it's more of the Committee being aggressive and actually scheduling more hearings.

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