Press Release
December 17, 2012

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On Sen. Miriam Santiago

SP: So, I said to myself, maybe she does not really like me as a person. Why should I impose myself upon her? When I received this gift, I said, "You know, I'm not a hypocrite." I looked at it and there was a card but just the name that it came from her office. Maybe her staff made a mistake of sending a gift because that's normal among us so I decided to return it.

Q: Sir, what about kay Sen. Pia Cayetano...

SP: Nagkamali 'yung aking receiving clerk dahil noong natanggap niya 'yung pinababalik kong kay Miriam, akala niya dahil sa RH Bill. Wala naman akong problema kay Pia.

Q: Sir, galit po ba kayo kay Senator Santiago?

SP: Wala akong galit sa kanya. Siya ang may galit sa akin. Di ba sinabi niya? Ngayon, kung ang tao hindi ako tinuturing na kaibigan o ako ay kinuha lang as a ninong for convenience or status at a time when I was Secretary of Justice so I call a spade a spade. I do not impose myself upon her.

Q: Sir, are you planning to talk to her?

SP: What for?

Q: She said she is willing to kiss you in public...

SP: I'm not a hypocrite, you know. When I don't like a person, I don't like a person. In fact, I don't want her to be in the majority when I became Senate President the last time and it was because of Senator Villar who's a friend of mine who interceded for her. In fact, if you recall at that time, she also attacked me. I was invited to dinner at the Shangri-la. I told Manny, "Manny, I don't think I can do it but okay, for your sake, I will meet them." It was both of them, husband and wife. So we had dinner and she apologized. She said sorry. I said okay. That's why, if you remember, she got the last available committee because I really did not want her to be a member of the majority.

Q: Sir, can you say that the RH Bill worsened your relationship?

SP: No. It's common that we debate. We take different positions. It's a matter of conscience. We vote according to conscience, according to our own notion of right and good for the country.

On Senate coup

Q: Coup plot to oust you...

SP: Okay lang 'yun. Matagal na 'yan. I've been waiting and waiting. I understand it will be in February.

Q: Bakit February, sir?

SP: It was reported in the paper.

Q: Pero personal knowledge niyo, sir?

SP: I don't know. I have not heard of any efforts against me but I always anticipated that some people will be dismayed with me, at least two. The others, I don't think they're unhappy.

Q: Has Malacañang called to express their confidence in you?

SP: There's no need for them to do that. I do not expect Malacañang to do that. I must tell you that unknown to people, I was not aspiring to be Senate President in 2010. I was supporting Frank and Kiko to get the number. Manny was also aspiring at that time. It turned out that they could not form the necessary bloc to form a majority. So, when Manny, Greg and Tito Sotto went to my house and said, "Manong, ikaw na lang ulit. My group in the Nacionalista will support you." Sabi ko, "Salamat." Sumama sila Ed Angara. At that point, I have the majority. We met at the house of Loren Legarda and decided who gets what committee. I did not finalize the arrangement. As a matter of respect and courtesy to President Aquino, I asked for a meeting with him. We met at the house of Mar Roxas in Quezon City. Present in that meeting were the President himself, Mar and Butch Abad. So, I said to him, "Mr. President, I was asked to head the Senate again and I would like to form a committees organizing team. Second, I want to know who are the members of the Senate that you are comfortable with or not." He wanted the administration to head the committees on Finance, Ways and Means and Blue Ribbon. I think it was the President or Mar Roxas who suggested Agriculture. That is why I committed these four committees to the Liberal group and then I met the majority again. I told them what happened and Ed Angara raised some questions. I said, "Ed, let's be realistic. The President needs these committees." They acceded to my decision. Finally, I met the liberals. If I'm not mistaken, I met them at Intercon or one of the hotels in Makati. It was there that I discussed with them the conversation I had with the President. So, I told them that the Committees on Agriculture, Finance, Ways and Means and Blue Ribbon are available to them. It's up to them to allocate it. So, they allocated it. Frank got Finance. Ralph was given Ways and Means. Agriculture went to Kiko. TG Guingona was assigned to handle the Blue Ribbon although he also wanted to take over the Committee on Energy. I said, I could not commit that because the others have to have major committees.

Q: Sir, hanggang madaling araw po kayo mamaya kasi ang haba ng agenda niyo bago mag-RH Bill?

SP: Hanggang kung kailan kami matatapos.

Q: Sir, papayag po kayo na diretsuhan 'yung voting hanggang third reading?

SP: Titingnan natin.

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