Press Release
December 3, 2012

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the RH Bill

SP: Kami naman ay hindi nakikipag-showdown. Mayroon pa namang proseso na gagawin, di ba? Ngayon, kung gusto nila isara 'yung period of amendments, they can make the proper motion and let it be decided by the Chamber.

Q: Sir, kung magkabotohan sa House after i-meet bi PNoy 'yung mga congressmen, makaka-pressure po ba 'yan sa Senado para pagbotohan ang RH Bill?

SP: We will do our jobs here without being pressured with whatever the other House will do.

Q: Pwede ba, sir, sa procedure ninyo na isasara 'yung period of amendments?

SP: Kailangan. That's according to the Rules. The bills, under the Constitution, will have to go under three readings --- first, second and third. During the second reading, interpellation, amendments --- both committee and individual.

Q: Kahit po hindi pa kayo tapos sa amendments, obvious naman daw po na pang-delay 'yon.

SP: No, we are not delaying. We are as much interested in a vote but we have to follow the process. They're saying that we are delaying. It has been debated for a few times here but we have given in to their desires. I have stopped my interpellation but I hope they will not deny me to introduce my amendments.

Q: Sir, wala pa bang invitation from Malacañang para kausapin din ang mga senador?

SP: Wala naman. To be fair to the President, he does not talk to us, to me anyway.

Q: Kung sakali sir na imbitahan kayo?

SP: I will go. I will see the President.

Q: Pero 'yung stand ninyo, mababago?

SP: I have always supported the programs of the administration that I thought are good for the country but I have also my own mind. I have also my own notion of what will be good for the country. I think that this one is not among them. So, I have to beg off. I'm not impeding. I'm only one vote. I'll render a negative vote.

Q: Sir, hopeful itong mga nag-sponsor ng RH Bill na matatapos before Christmas break. Do you think it's possible?

SP: I don't know. Maybe they have aces in their sleeves that we do not know.

Q: But it's still not your priority, sabi ninyo?

SP: Every bill here is a priority. It's just a question of the order of business.

Q: Sir, ano ang implication that the President is already appealing to the Lower House to vote on RH Bill?

SP: Well, the President is the leader of the country. He's the leader of the administration. If he feels that that measure is a part of his program, he has every right to appeal for support but that does not mean that everybody will heed the appeal of the President. No President has accomplished that, you know.

Q: Pero sir, hindi ba siya meddling in the affairs of the Congress?

SP: Well, he has the majority support in the Congress. He has a right to call his partymates, coalition members to a powwow caucus to discuss the measure. That's common. That's the right of the President. It is not interference.

Q: Sir, paano kapag hiningi ni Presidente ang suporta niyo sa RH Bill?

SP: I will beg off respectfully and I think he will understand.

Q: What will make you change your mind in your stand about the RH Bill?

SP: I don't think I will change my mind because I think it will change the future of the country. I will not base my decision on this particular bill on moral ground or religious ground although those are important to me. I confess I'm a Catholic and a Christian. I believe in my faith but over and above that, I see that in my own mind, maybe I'm wrong but that's my decision, my view, it will not bring about the long term future of this country. The panacea that is being talked about, in fact if we study the experience of other countries, they are now changing their policies. Some of them anyway because they found out that it weaken their respective country.

Q: Merong rumors that this will lead to a coup...

SP: I'm at the disposal of my peers. As I've said, I have no torrens title over the position of Senate president but at anytime, one like me could lose a seat if your peers do not agree with you and they have the numbers to unseat you.

I never imagined that I will be supported by my peers in all the issues and I also hope that they will respect my position as I will respect their position.

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