Press Release
June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013

ANC Headstart with Karen Davila
8:00-8:30 AM

On the resignation of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Were your surprised?

SJEE: Very surprised. When Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was delivering his privilege speech, wala sa isip ko, we never knew that he was going to resign, irrevocable at that. After he delivered his privilege speech, I requested the members of the chamber to have a short caucus if they would want to elect a new Senate President right there and then. Because the (Senate) rule states that if the Senate President resigns, the Senate President pro tempore shall take over until after the chamber shall elect a new Senate President. But the consensus among them, because I do not want to participate in the caucus, the consensus was to stick with the rules first and elect a new Senate President come July 22 when the 16th Congress opens.

The landscape of the Senate will be changing. You will be part of the minority. How many will you be?

SJEE: Probably six. Senate President Enrile, Sen. Tito Sotto, Sen. Honasan, Sen. Nancy Binay, myself and Sen. JV (Ejercito).

Ilan ngayon ang administration?

SJEE: Minus 6, that's 18, because 24 ang members ng Senate.

Who are you expecting to win as Senate President?

SJEE: Reports have it that most likely, the most likely incoming Senate President is Sen. Frank Drilon.

Will you still nominate Enrile?

SJEE: Yes, I will. Even if you don't have the numbers, and of course definitely we don't expect him to become the next Senate President again, he will become automatically the Minority Floor Leader. That's why we have to nominate him as Senate President.

How is he taking this?

SJEE: While he was delivering his privilege speech last week, I think he was really hurting with Jack losing. Masakit iyon sa isang ama. Tapos iyong araw-araw na pambabatikos sa kanya sa dyaryo, sa radyo, sa tv, siyempre you cannot expect an 89-year-old man to be happy with that. He is kind of depressed.

People were not quite impressed with the performance of the UNA. It started out as a stellar, formidable coalition with a lot of experienced and old names with it. And then you have a showing of 9-3 in the end, with only Binay, Ejercito Estrada winning and another with a hairline win Sen. Honasan.

SJEE: First of all, Team PNoy has all the resources, hawak nila lahat pati mga pulis. Malawak ang kanilang resources. And I think they are more organized than UNA.

What do you think were the weaknesses of UNA?

SJEE: Lack of funds definitely. Kulang ang UNA sa mga advertisements. The other camp, the Liberal, halos araw-araw, minu-minuto mayroon silang TV ads. Sa UNA, kokonti lang. And magaling ang kanilang campaign manager, isa sa aking kasama sa Senado, magaling mag-strategize si Sen. Serge (Osmena).

People say that PNoy is a very strong endorser. Did you see that?

SJEE: Yes. As far as UNA is concerned, we have the so-called Three Kings - si Vice President Jojo Binay is also very, very strong endorser, former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

But they were not able to carry the other candidates?

SJEE: Because my father was busy campaigning in Manila. And Senate President Enrile, medyo malabo ang kanyang mata, so sometimes hindi siya nakakasama sa mga sorties ng UNA. It was only Vice President Binay who did the rounds and who went to the campaign rallies of UNA.

You were supposed to at one point endorse JV during the campaign. What happened there? People were surprised that he came in number 11, considering that in the early surveys, he was in number 4 or 5. What happened?

SJEE: Well, I really do not know. With regard to the endorsement that you mentioned a while ago, yes that's true.

Did you offer it? Did your dad ask for it?

SJEE: No, my dad did not ask for it. My dad told me, "Why don't you help your brother?" I decided to prepare a media plan for him and make an advertisement. I told my dad... gagastusin ko na lahat, siya na lang magbayad sa airtime. And then when they presented it to JV, I think mayroon na rin yata silang ibang media plan. Baka hindi tumugma doon sa kanilang media plan.

But did he tell you?


He did not. But were you expecting him to come to the shoot?

SJEE: Well, hindi na rin because parang he did not want the idea of me endorsing him. So ok lang.

How difficult is that for you? I mean you are older than him and it seems you've done your part in reaching out.

SJEE: Alam mo, hindi ko na lang pinapansin. In fact when the 16th Congress opens in July 22, I will treat him as a fellow colleague.

All eyes will be on both of you.

SJEE: It's ok. No problem. If he asks for my opinion, guidance, I will be more than willing to guide him being a neophyte senator and I being a senior member of the chamber.

What's ironic is that people tell me you used to be close when you were much younger. You were playing together.

SJEE: That's true, my father often brings him to our Sunday reunions in San Juan in the house of my grandparents.

When did the distance start?

SJEE: I really cannot remember. Matagal na.

Now there's a whole new complication to the situation because you're both in the Senate. You are in a bloc together. Will UNA become a legitimate party?

SJEE: I think so. I think Cong. (Toby) Tiangco might file before the Comelec UNA as a political party. But in the Senate, I will remain as member of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) together with Senate President Enrile and Sen. JV.

Pwede ba iyon, if UNA becomes a legitimate party, you can stay with PMP?

SJEE: Yes. I have a different case. I belong to the party of my father, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. I was not a candidate last elections. I am not a member of UNA.

But when 2016 comes, you would probably be a candidate.

SJEE: That remains to be seen.

Is it safe to say that it would be Vice President Binay who is the presidential candidate on 2016 for UNA?

SJEE: Definitely. Most probably.

You are the Vice president?

SJEE: No, I am not saying that. In fairness to Vice President Binay we haven't talked with regard to who will be his running mate.

Grace Poe is with Team PNoy. Chiz is already out of UNA as well. You have to get someone from within the bloc.

SJEE: Nothing's permanent. Perhaps we'll start talking maybe next year. Three years is a long way to go, we have a long agenda in the Senate.

What would be your main consideration for running for VP?

SJEE: First of all, surveys. I have yet to go around the country and feel the pulse of the people.

What won't make you run? If someone like Grace Poe or Sen. Chiz were competing for the VP slot, would you run?

SJEE: It might be tough of course. Sen. Chiz is a respected lawmaker. Grace turned out to be number one. She's very intelligent, I can vouch for it. She's my kumadre. Maybe Sen. Alan (Cayetano) may also want to joint the race, maybe Sen. Bong Revilla, even Sen. Marcos. Let's just cross the bridge when we get there...Malalakas ang mga kalaban. Maraming pwedeng mangyari. Pero siguro early next year marami na ring realignments ng partido yan.

When there's change in Senate leadership, what changes in the Senate?

SJEE: There will be committee reorganization. I have been with the minority during my first term as senator in 2004. In fact, ironically, it was Sen. Drilon who was the Senate President then. And he was reaching out to all senators-elect and incumbent senators and he was courting us to be on his side. During that time, it was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was president. So I politely told him that I cannot join him, I cannot be in the majority because of your boss, President Arroyo. I remained with the minority. And our Minority Leader then was Sen. Nene Pimentel. So there was a lot of reorganization. In fact, it was Sen. Drilon who asked me to hold the chairmanship of the Committee on Labor. Sabi ko, "Thank you very much." Kahit minority nabibigyan pa rin kami ng committee.

On Senate officials.

SJEE: Sen. Enrile will be a shoo-in for the post of Minority leader. Sa Pro Tempore, wala na akong karapatang mamili. That is the business of the majority already. And I think si Sen. Alan is eyeing for the post and Sen. Legarda.

Can you explain to the public, why these posts are important?

SJEE: The Senate President Pro Tempore, in case the Senate President is unavailable, you have to preside. In official functions, in case the Senate President is unavailable, you represent him. Majority floor leader, napaka-importante ng puwesto na iyan. You agenda all the bills in the Senate. The Minority leader is an equally important position. You have to fiscalize. Apat ang officers ng Senate - Senate President, Senate President Pro Tempore, Majority and Minority Floor Leader.

Another factor is the Commission on Appointments, magbabago din iyon.

SJEE: Magbabago din definitely. Right now I think ang balak ni Sen. Drilon ay party representation. That is a tradition. But during the time of Senate President Enrile, pinagbigyan niya lahat, mabait si Senate President Enrile. Right now by party. Tatlo kami, we belong to the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, kami na lang 3 ang mag-uusap kung sino ang uupo sa Commission on Appointments.

Paano kayo mag-uusap ni JV?

SJEE: Ok lang iyon. Siguro naman he will respect me an elder brother and as a senior member of the chamber.

Your dad will be sitting as Manila mayor. That is a lot of pressure on him because he says that is his last hurrah.

SJEE: In fact he made the rounds already sa Divisoria, sa Manila City Jail. He was very, very disappointed especially when he went to Divisoria. Traffic, hindi makadaan ang mga motorists, masikip, hindi makadaan ang mga pedestrian dahil punung-puno ng mga vendors. He went to the City Jail and it was really cramped. He distributed some goods for the inmates. And he visited the City Hall yesterday.

Does he really plan to revive it?

SJEE: Yes. Of course, he cannot do it in three years. He needs all the support of the Manilenos for him to succeed.

One of the moments that actually redefined you as a senator was the expose on the generals. You had an expose on Gen. Ligot then, his houses in the United States, the alleged corruption in the military. How are you feeling with where they are today?

SJEE: I think Gen. Ligot and wife, Mrs. Erlinda Ligot, have a tax evasion case before the Court of Tax Appeals. Tapos dnismiss pa ng Ombudsman ang mga kaso na finile ni Col Rabusa, that's very, very disappointing.

Are Senate investigations still relevant?

SJEE: Of course. Marami naman tayong napakulong because of the Senate investigations, like yung kaso ni Gen. Ligot and Mrs. Ligot is ongoing. Kaya lang, gusto ko nga sana mas mabigat sa tax evasion case, but unfortunately, tax evasion lang ang ifinile sa kanila. Gusto ko nga sana plunder because they accumulated a lot of money during his stint as comptroller of the AFP. And the wife is always travelling together with the wife of former late Sec. Angie Reyes. They travelled 40 to 50 times in and out of the Philippines, they went to the United States, Hong Kong, they went to Singapore, Europe. That's very glaring. That's why it was quite disappointing for me when I read in the papers that the Ombudsman dismissed the cases filed by Col. Rabusa.

Are you satisfied with President Aquino's performance?

SJEE: Yes of course. In fairness to him, he is a hardworking President. Even when I was with him for three years in the Senate, he works very hard, he came to the Senate always prepared. In fact he was debating with Senate President Enrile, with the legal luminaries in the Senate. He was very serious with his work as Senator, and even now you can see how serious he is as President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Last words.

SJEE: First of all, I would like to thank the Manilenos most especially for supporting and helping my father to become Mayor of the City of Manila. And to those who voted for the candidates of UNA, maraming, maraming salamat po. Rest assured that I as incoming member of the minority will not be a destructive opposition, we will become part of the constructive opposition.

Future VP?

SJEE: Hindi po.

If ever you decide to run, can you announce it here?

SJEE: Sure.

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