Press Release
June 5, 2014


On the Scheduled Confirmation of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla

Well, that's my discretion. I feel that he has not been an effective Secretary of Energy, makikita naman natin na may nagko-complain . Ang mahirap sa energy sector is that you will not know that there is a problem until five years from the time the mistake was committed. So, kung may kakulangan ngayon ng power it was something that the department and the entire leadership did not do in 2010 and 2009.

So, sa ngayon po kung anumang uumpisahan nilang power plant will only be felt by 2019. So there's a big lag time at syempre ang reaksyon muna ng tao "Uy, nasaan 'yung power? Bakit nagkulangan ngayon ng power?" Hindi naman tayo pwede bumili ng Eveready battery na isasaksak natin sa mga generating plants.

I have seen that they have hardly moved in the organization of the energy program since 2010. Quiet lang po ako noon, sabi ko they are just beginning, they're getting they're feet wet, they're getting to learn the ropes.

But 2011-2012 sinabi ko na sa secretary noon before Secretary Petilla, "Chief we're gonna have a shortage. You'd better bring down the cap rate from P62 to P32 temporarily." Hindi nila ginawa, medyo timid sila. 2013 pumutok. Sabi ko there these will be the time to lower the cap rates after the rates already went up across the board in Luzon by about P4.50/per kilowatt hour. Masakit yun kung average rate mo is about P5 and all of a sudden you get a P9 bill, you call it the roof times the kilowatt per hour consumed. So, ang kailangan po nila maging proactive, you have to plan 5, 10 and 15 years in advance at wala po silang plano. I already asked the President to change secretary Petilla.

Ngayon, nagsalita yung mga malalaking generating sector na what's happening, bakit ganito nangyayari sila naman ang nagpo-produce ng power and then hinihingi nila sa Presidente "Can you please give us your plans, what's the irrigated terms?" In other words wala kayong plans. That is the situation today and I'm totally unhappy about the performance of the energy department.

Osmeña's plan on scheduling Energy Secretary Petilla's confirmation hearing When the time is right... that will happen when I realize it's the right time. Ang sabi ko nga, this not overnight that you can put a thermometer in a bottle of hot water to determine the temperature. Makikita naman niyo if I conduct hearings, he'll just be under severe pressure because I will certainly ask the toughest questions. Maski hindi ako magko-conduct ng hearing the president can just keep on re-appointing him. That's the loophole. There's no limit and now there's a proposal's on how to limit to three hearings. That's also very silly.

Q: Why sir?

Because sometimes you would not determine in two hearings whether a person is fit or unfit for the position. Most of the members do not do their homework. Nalalaman naman niyo ito, iisa lang ang magho-homework o dalawa. I guess we just go along with what everybody else says, that they play "Mr. Nice Guy." So we will not be fulfilling our constitutional obligation to determine the fitness and competence of a particular nominee for a particular position

On Sec. Petilla being heard in a CA hearing during the Aquino administration

Maybe it's possible.

On the power of the committee to reject the appointment or not confirm

The committee has to approve the nomination first before it is sent to Plenary. So 'yun po 'yung nangyari yesterday when the Committee hearing Sec. Dinky Soliman's nomination passed her nomination and it is now sent to the Plenary. So we will meet in Plenary on Wednesday and consider the nomination of Sec. Soliman.

If you do not see him fit for his role why not just reject his appointment?

Because it is very hard to get a reject vote. In the history of the C.A. since Congress was reconstituted in 1987, there have only been two reject votes. And that is because nagkaron ng personalan. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Sec. Ramon del Rosario were rejected.

Na-reject po sila sa CA?

Yes, there was an actual vote to reject, but in all other cases there was no vote to reject. Either nag-resign 'yung secretary nila sa frustration or the secretary knew that his nomination was more and more impossible. Like for example, DOTC Sec. Bebot Alvarez, because of the PEATCO scandal. So we had six hearings, mahabang hearings 'yun. And I think after the 6th hearing, he just tendered his resignation.

On the proposed amendment to the CA rule

You won't get a reject vote. You'll have to do your homework and study the C.A. Name one nominee who's been rejected that you know. Wala. So it's very hard to get a reject vote because Malacañang controls the vote in the CA.

On the impossibility of getting a reject vote

I never used the word impossible. I said there have only been two instances in memory in the last 28 years where nominees actually were put to a vote and rejected. Those were Sec. Del Rosario and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Is it safe to say na deliberate yung hindi niyo pag-schedule sa kanya since you are calling for his resignation anyway?

Yes. But you know I'm waiting for a member of the C.A. to ask me "Can we hold a hearing?" Then I will say, "We should consider it." But the way I look at it, it's really useless because the questions I will be asking him will just serve to embarrass him.

Now, while he is still sitting as a department secretary, I want to see him be more effective in his job and to pay more attention to the problems that our country is facing not only today but for the next five years.

I have to tell you, I meet once in a while with the stakeholders also to get their "feel" for what is happening. We are going to have a real problem here in Luzon in 2017, 2018. Okay, so we cannot use power two hours a day or three hours a day. But my most serious concern is that the investors know what will happen and so they will wait. So, instead of building their factory today and give more jobs to our people, they will wait until 2019 or 2020. So, we will have a potential loss. And this is not what we are supposed to do. Government is supposed to facilitate, orchestrate, make sure that everything is perfect for the investors para every year, every month pwede sila papasok dito, okay lang 'yan.

This is the concern I am trying to drive at. The more I postpone the hearing, the more I am telling the government, "you are not getting your act together."

On Sec. Petilla's visit

I guess maybe last year, he visited me. We spoke about the problems in the industry.

On whether he told Petilla that he will not schedule him yet for confirmation

No. I did not tell that to him directly.

On whether you can talk to colleagues in CA to get the majority vote

No. They will not displease Malacañang. That's the nominee of the President. It is very hard. There was only been two subjected to the vote who were rejected.

On Aquino's case that he never ask the CA to confirm his nominees

I guess he will do that to Senate President Drilon so you will have to ask him. But siyempre kung nominee niya, he wants him to be considered and approved. I'll give you an example. Si Domingo Lee. They were never going to withdraw his nomination. One hearing, hindi; two hearings, hindi; three hearings, hindi. Nakita n'yo naman ano nangyari sa hearing. If I had asked all of you to take a vote, I guess you would all have rejected it. But Palace did not reject him. It was only when Spratlys happened, 'yung Bajo de Masinloc issue, that President Aquino realized that he needed a professional in Beijing. Ambassador Domingo Lee said that I could make friends with everybody but that's only a part of the job of ambassador and I tried to show that perhaps this person is not right for the job and I think I proved it. But if I had allowed it to go to the vote, I would have lost the vote. It was the President himself who did not appoint him.

If Energy Secretary Petilla knows the senator's concern

He knows my concerns. We meet once in a blue moon in private. I talked to him... sometimes, there are common friends and also, I have spoken with the media. You know, I lost my cool already when the spite happened last November. Kasi alam naman nilang mangyayari iyong maintenance downtime for one month na walang biagas. We know it happens every three years. They cannot say na ooppps! nabigla lang kami. Anong bigla? 2007, 2010, 2013 the next scheduled maintenance will be on 2016. It is not a break now... that is a scheduled maintenance. So, in 2013, inis-schedule ng Shell, they will undergo maintenance on March or April. And, the Secretary and the others talked "teka muna, huwag sa March or April. We do not want to have a shortage during the campaign. We might have a shortage of elections. So, they moved it to November." But, they did not do anything to ensure that all the other plants will be operating on November. Kasi ang mawawala sa atin niyan is 1,200 megawatts which is big junk of installed capacity in Luzon which is 12%. And, our reserve is only about 20%. So, ang maiiwan sa atin is only 8% na lang. So, you have to ensure na iyong 8% na maiiwan sa atin ay teka muna, wala munang scheduled maintenance iyan. Saka na muna iyan pare. You can orchestrate it to the best of your ability and they did not do so. Maski iyong 600 megawatts ng gobyerno mismo, hindi in-offer. Pumutok naman ngayon iyong pressure sa wholesale electricity pot market. What can I say?

So palitan na lang sir?

No, kapag ako ay manager ng isang kumpanya at marami akong branches. Siyempre I have to oversee and supervise. That's my job. One manager is not doing well, then, I would tell him maybe I would put a square pay in a round hole. Sec. Petilla, is a very nice person. I met with him four or five times. And the discussions are on the concerns about the energy sector. He is intelligent, he is well educated, he is sharp. But maybe he doesn't devote enough time. Ang tawag nga sa kanya doon sa energy department ay Mr. 1/3 Secretary. 1/3 because 1/s of his time, his main concern is Leyte. This was even before Yolanda. The other third is to pay attention to his business. He has a very successful BPO business. Though he says, his wife is running it. You need somebody, a professional, with full attention on the energy industry. You and I, do not realize how important it is, until we lose our lives. And, them nagmumura na kami kung sino may kasalanan nito. This was something that was not done 5 yrs ago. E wala na , tapos na. The administration is gone. So, who you will be blame now?


Okay, let me take the nepotism issue first. Nepotism is when you appoint your own relative. It seems Secretary Butch was not the appointing power, it is not his fault. What you probably mean is patronage. Because Butch is malakas, siguro nilapitan niya naman ang mga appointing powers diyan from Pinoy on down, and they appointed. That could or could not be true, because I know Butch's relatives are pretty sharp and they probably earned the position on their own. Marami diyan, I have seen many who have earned their position on their own. Nothing to do with 'my father being in the Senate, or my mother being in the Cabinet.'

I will give you an example: when my father graduated from New York University n 1938, umalis siya sa Pilipinas and he first wanted to teach, so he got a job as a professor of FEU, and he also found a job as a professor in UP. Now, at that time, my Lolo, Sergio, was Secretary of Public Instruction. He was Vice President of the Philippines and his Cabinet position was Secretary of Education. At that time they called him Secretary of Public Instruction. When he found out that my father was at the UP, he told my father to resign. He asked why? And he said "I am Chairman of the Board of Regents at UP, I don't want you there. I know that even if it is not true, I know that you are qualified, I know that you applied on your own, that you did not use me, I cannot afford to have other people say na I am there, nandoon siya, because of Lolo Sergio. So my father resigned from UP. Na-upset ngayon yung Presidente ng UP, because you cannot resign in the middle of the semester, nobody will take your place. So, my father was forced to continue teaching until the end of the semester, without a salary and he was just starting out. He had just graduated with a degree of Commerce, Bachelor of Science in Commerce, so in his first job, he was not paid. After the end of the semester, umalis siya sa UP.

Sometimes you are right, the perception is more important than the reality. Ganoon po yung Lolo ko noon. 'Teka muna, kung Chairman of Board of Regents? You cannot work there, even for free.' On whether he will block DENR Secretary Paje's confirmation

I do not know what he means by block, because that is a very simplistic approach. If I ask questions, I am blocking. No, when I ask questions about Domingo Lee, I was not blocking. I have nothing personal against Domingo Lee. I was determining if the guy was fit and proper. So, no, I will not answer the question because you might think it is blocking while I have nothing personal against Secretary Paje.

On whether blocking means haharangin

Section 20 is an arbitrary way to stop the nominating process. I have never agreed with it. Unfortunately, that rule was there since time immemorial. As a matter of fact, it was Senator Drilon and I that introduced that amendment except on the last day, so ast least na-cut short. So okay, if you want to delay the nomination, that is fine, it will not be considered until the last day.

Sir you have many questions pa kay Secretary Paje, ang end goal that he may not be recommended to the plenary?

Well, if that is the end result, that is the end result. I am sorry I have questions, and it is my right to ask those questions and to have them resolved by Secretary Paje.

Will the questions be resolved in just one hearing?

It all depends on how responsive he is. Kasi minsan kung mag ho?, Ha?, Etc., then I have to follow up questions and that is also frustrating on my part. If you are very direct in answering your questions, ganito ho yan, ganyan yan, mas mabilis ang takbo ng hearing, di ba? It all depends, but I don't measure it that way. You guys might scream at me, four hearings na, five hearings na, but we have to do it the right way. If you are following, these are not silly questions. I pride myself in doing my homework, and it is a lot of work. I can say that for every one hour that I open my mouth, I have a minimum of ten hours of reading and homework.

On Secretary de Lima's nominations

And even Petilla. I think Petilla is better off. You know there is such a thing as square pegs in round holes. Di ba? It might be a golden peg but it's in the wrong position commensurate with his abilities, training, proclivities, mental temperament etc. So, there are people who would be good for legislation, executive, accounting, operations. You have to pick and choose. Hindi mo masasabi na these guys are so good, I have to put him as secretary of finance. We could have a disaster. That's what I'm saying. There are certain people, in my own limited judgment, that I may identify and say that these are people that might be forces for the public good, in a forum like the Senate. So, I hope I'm not wrong. I would endorse him in the Senate because I can see that he would be better at being in the Senate rather than at the Department of Energy. I would have a difficult time being the secretary of energy. I know I have substantial amount of knowledge and experience in the energy sector but that's a very difficult job. I would have to get a professional management fellow, say from the corporate sector, who has been disciplined and trained how to look at 5, 15, 30 different issues at the same time and put them together.

On De Lima being the Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman

I was kidding. Perhaps she can be Blue Ribbon committee chairman and you know she is good in investigations. That is what the Blue Ribbon does di ba? The Blue Ribbon is the premier committee in the Senate. It is a committee wherein the chairman, himself, the committee members, themselves, can decide to conduct a hearing, an investigation, without the approval of the Senate. Pwede 'yan.

On reports that you (Sen. Osmeña) is not seeking re-election

I want to keep that option open. There are times you feel up to it. You don't feel up to it. Believe me, it's always an option. Maybe you're tired of doing the same thing and you want to do something new. I want to be secretary of fishing if there is because I like to go fishing so I can promote tourism. On agriculture

Alam mo, mahirap ang agri. I am the only farmer in the Senate. They don't know this but I'm the only one. I also went to Los Baños for a couple of semesters but you cannot solve agri problems overnight. And 'yung mga naging secretary thinks by next year mayroon na tayong ganito, ganyan. Hindi po tama 'yon. Agri is even worse than energy. Agri is a 10-year timeframe because you have to train the farmers, develop the markets, the linkages, bagsakan, study how it connects to the main market which is usually greater Manila. It takes a coconut tree 10 years to grow into fruition so hindi mo masasabi na that's okay we will plant coconuts. You can plant coconuts but at earliest it will bear fruit in seven years. (Transcribed by PRIB ?)


Q: Sa ginagawa po ng Malakanyang sa mga appointees nila, palagay niyo po ba binibigyan pa nila ng halaga ang Commission on Appointments as a screening committee?

Serge: Hindi po. We were never consulted. All of a sudden the names were given to us. It's really a defensive part on the side of Congress and the Filipino people, because under the Constitution we're supposed to give the President advise and consent, that's the term used in the US Constitution. The US Senate, 'yung CA sa America is the US Senate, at committee lang ng United States Senate. The energy secretary in the United States would have to pass through the Senate Committee on Energy, that's the CA. Then they would present it to the entire Senate. Parang rubber stamp lang iyong entire Senate.

Q: Dito sa atin, parang CA ang bina-bypass?

Serge: Hindi pinapansin ang CA kasi kontrolado iyan ng Palasyo eh. Call a vote on anything, it will always be approved. Maybe you'll only have 1 or 2 negative votes. So we really have to work very hard when you feel somebody is not qualified or there's some shortcomings which might affect his performance in his office. To do our homework and to come out with issues during the hearings. Napakahirap mag-block ng nominations. So when you make it much harder by saying we'll only have two hearings and then we'll put it to a vote, kayo na lang, di ba? Because we will not be fulfilling our constitutional requirement. Sa America maski 'yung mga appointments to the Supreme Court dumadaan sa Senate, at talagang tinatanong ng mga senador, is that guy to the right side, is he too rightist, or is he too much of a leftist. But here, it hardly works that way.

Q: Amenable po ba kayo dun sa kalakaran na kinakausap ng mga nominees ang mga members ng CA para pag-usapan ang mga issues para pagdating ng CA hearing okay na? Impression ng iba, sa mga ganung usapan nagkakaroon ng horse-trading.

Serge: That's one of the corruption issues that's why nakita natin sa expose na certain departments already had PDAF, pero PDAF sa department, hindi sa pangalan ng congressman or senator, na binibigay nila sa mga members ng CA na alam nila mahihirapan sila. So, sometimes they make the rounds. Even (Former appointed ambassador to China) Domingo Lee visited me. I remember what I told him, 'Well Mr. Ambassador, you better prepare your presentation to the CA committee. He requested, don't ask me anymore questions. And I said 'No Mr. Ambassador, I will ask you questions because this is a very critical appointment.' Then I said this to my colleagues: if he were appointed as ambassador to Peru, I will not ask questions. But this is Beijing, this is the biggest headache of the Philippines. To me, this is as critical a position as our ambassador to the United States. So I had to, this was my job. Nakita niyo naman ang results, very basic naman ang questions ko. I just asked him to define what is diplomacy...

Q: May incident po ba na may lumapit sa inyo and he/she offered something?

Serge: It happens. Or they will send a friend.

Q: Regular or irregular iyan?

Serge: Ah, no, no. I told you, hardly anybody visits me. Must be they don't love me. Even Napoles never visited me, so I felt left out ?

Q: Ano ang usual na ino-offer to get your vote?

Serge: Wala nga akong usual because they don't come to see me.

Q: Pinadalang kaibigan?

Serge: Once before, about 10 years ago. Sabi bibigyan ako ng project, sabi ko thank you na lang. Para sa akin, maganda ang sistema natin dito sa Pilipinas eh, pinapadala ang kaibigan. Hindi ko naman i-expose ang kaibigan ko, that's one. Two, it's one on one, it's his word against mine. Wala akong proof, hindi ko naman siya tine-tape. And the one making the offer to the friend will just deny it, 'that's not true, I never told him to do that.' So, useless din to pursue that line.

On Sec. Ramon Paje's confirmation

Q: Ano pa po ang issues niyo against him?

Serge: You're always judging it by time, and that is not a very smart way to judge it by time. We've only had our 5th hearing. If the committee chairman schedules out the hearing like once every 6 months, eh ang hirap eh, nawawala ang train of thought mo. Sometimes, it's like starting all over again. This is his 4th or 5th hearing since 2010. I am still not happy with all of his answers, they're all very general. And I want him to be more specific. You know why? Because there's a lot of shenanigans going on in the sector covered by the DENR.

1. Blacksand mining. He allowed time to pass, may blacksand mining pa rin sa Pangasinan, sa Zambales, sa Cagayan. He has not been able to stop that. Sometimes may excuse siya na, 'Sir na TRO ho kami diyan.' 2. 'Yung illegal mining sa Zambales. Ninanakaw ng mga Intsik and load it in their ships. May mga litrato ako and pinakita ko pa sa kanya at ang sabi niya, 'Sir, I know that. But they were able to get a TRO.' 'Anong problema?' 'We've got a corrupt judge, he issued a TRO.' Now, what are his options to pursue that further? Ang sabi niya, 'Naku sir, wala po akong magawa kasi na-TRO na po iyan.'

That shows a weak secretary to me. Because I would bring that to the media, to the press, para mahiya 'yung judge sa iyo, huwag bigay ng bigay ng TRO, hindi ba? But he's very cautious.

3. Then the illegal logging. He claimed he has practically stopped the illegal logging. But when I asked people from Surigao, meron pa ring illegal logging. Ano ba yun? Eh kasi sir, wala ho kaming helicopter eh. Ang dami nilang excuse. For me, if they're going to perform, they have to perform.

Q: Ma-co-confirm ba siya? Is he fit or unfit to be DENR secretary?

Serge: I could do better. I could appoint a better secretary. I mean, I could appoint a better guy, not me, but I could do better in appointing a more competent person, a more hands-on person. So am I happy? No, I am not happy. But then, I am not happy with most of the president's appointees. ?

On Sen. Santiago's claims vis-a-vis confirmation of DSWD Sec. Soliman

Q: Sabi ni Sen. Miriam mga trapo, etc ang mga kasama niya sa CA?

Serge: What can I say? She loves me so much, that if I open my mouth...

There is that rule, Section 20, and it makes the members of the CA very powerful. The rule before was like this, 'Any member may move to defer the consideration of the nomination of anyone submitted without questions.' Tapos. Kapag sinabi mong ayaw ko iyan, tapos na. Sen. Drilon and I, in the year 2000-2001, sabi ko sobra naman ito. Let's limit. We added the phrase, 'except on the last session day.' The last session day this year falls on June 11, next Wednesday. But that's a rule. And she has been a member of the CA, on and off. I hope she knows the existence of that rule. How can she blame us for enforcing our rules?

Q: Naisahan daw siya?

Serge: That's the way the game is played, unfortunately. Twice, I have gotten past that rule. Kinausap ko lang ang mga kasamahan ko and I told them, 'You know, I still have more questions. And they were considerable enough to say that we will not consider it on the last day.

Q: Ganun dapat?

Serge: Alam mo dito sa Senado, lambingan eh. Don't be confrontational with your own colleagues. In the Filipino culture, lambingan lang iyan eh. Even during the regular Senate sessions, hindi kami nagbabanggan, kakausapin namin, pwede ba ganito, ganyan, solved! Her style will not fit well with the Filipino culture, where she'll embarrass you publicly first, then chide the rule. But that's the rule! She should have objected ton that rule a long time ago!

Q: She should attend the confirmation hearing?

Serge: It's up to her to attend or not to attend.

Q: But can she still oppose during the CA session?

Serge: Yes. They will just let her oppose. You know what will happen? They will wait for her to finish talking, then they will move for a vote, then tapos na.

Q: Hindi pwede i-request to defer?

Serge: She can. But any request she wants, it will be a NO. 'Yan ang reading ko ha, hindi naman ako kasama sa meeting nila the other day.

Q: Hindi lang pwedeng i-invoke ang Sec 20?

Serge: Yes.

Q: Concern ni Miriam is old grudges pa...GMA time...

Serge: And that makes it worse. Kasi it became a personal thing. You're supposed to be checking at her fitness, and not use an old grudge. First, in a democracy, anybody can say anything, you don't know how many times you have been insulted every other day, pero okay lang. Harry Truman said, if you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Nasanay na kami diyan...

But, she holds a grudge for a long time. Perhaps she should have admitted that that was her reason, she should have said well, because Sec Soliman is not performing well, the CCT, the rehabilitation efforts, etc... iyon, baka pwede pa. But, I don't like her face, that's not valid...

Q: Balimbing daw?

Serge: Because I believe because of the way our political system is set up. Many people can be accused of that. But that's not a valid issue, because half of the congressmen change parties whenever it's election time.

On De Lima's confirmation

Serge: I think she has a very good chance in her confirmation.

Q: May enough numbers?

Serge: You don't even have to vote. As I told you, the Palace controls the vote. The minute you bring it to a vote, it's going to be a yes. So your tactical move is, don't bring it to a vote.


Q: Sir, kumpleto na daw pong napasang documents sa blue ribbon, kelan na daw po ang hearing?

Serge: Halika, samahan mo ako at sabay nating basahin itong 31,000 pages na ito ? You're asking me, but I have not even read the documents. It's 31,000 plus pages, so I'm leaving it up to the staff of the blue ribbon and Sen. TG, I have not seen Sen. TG for sometime...

Q Bakit lagging missing in action si Sen. TG?

Serge: I don't know. I think he's very busy reading the 31,000 pages ?

Q: Wala bang urgency among the senators, mag-se-session break na kayo next week...nawawal 'yung momentum eh...

Serge: No. The urgency is with the chismosos, they want to know, the public wants to know. But legally, there's no urgency with us because it's already with the Ombudsman. They are the ones, under the law, that is tasked to conduct an investigation and file a case. So no matter what we say here, it's chismis. Eto o, etong litrato, etong listahan, front page iyan, we just want to let people know in advance what the information is. But it's not our duty to prosecute.

Q: Bakit hiningi niyo pa ang dokumento?

Serge: Chismis. We wanted to know. Seriously. Let's say that there's accusation that a crime has been created. The whole country is involved. Wow. 25 senators and former senators, 180 congressmen and former congressmen, plus some Cabinet officials. Everybody wants to know, 'sino yun, sino yun?' Lumalabas unti-unti. Nilabas ni former Sen. Ping Lacson, Sec De Lima, Benhur Luy, Inquirer got a scoop by going directly to Benhur. The appetite is whetted, let's complete the picture. We at the Senate, we're supposed to legislate, we're supposed to conduct investigations in aid of legislation. And we hope we have enough information, I think we have enough information, to make the proper amendments. But unfortunately, this story has taken a life of its own. And people want to know more. So, that's why we're still conducting hearings because of that, to satisfy the public demand. But as far as the criminal process is concerned, that's out of our hands. It is in the hands of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice, the Sandiganbayan.

Q: Just to satisfy the public demand?

Serge: Yes. That's why you have been asking me questions for the past 6 months. If you were not interested, namatay na itong issue na ito.

Q: Akala namin i-e-evaluate ninyo ang mga documents tsaka kayo mag-uusap kung kailan i-re-reopen 'yung investigation?

Serge: That's the practical side. Actually, decision ni Sen. TG iyan eh.

Q: What are the chances that you will hold a hearing during the break?

Serge: We have always given ourselves the power to continue to conduct hearings even during the session break.

Q: So maghi-hearing kayo?

Serge: Let Sen. TG decide. Hindi ko na kasalanan iyan. ? He already took cognizance na siya ang lead dito kaya hindi namin ginugulo.

Q: Kung mag-request ang members ng blue ribbon? Hindi naman daw sila kinakausap ni Sen. TG?

Serge: In other words, the answer is 'No.' ? Or not yet. My answer is the same as that, hindi ko alam, I have not been able to talk to him, even on the phone.

Q: Gusto pa ba ng mga kasamahan ninyo na mag-investigate pa kayo?

Serge: I-define iyong ibang senators. Some senators don't like ? Maraming shades iyan eh. Sila Sen. Jinggoy, they want, sila naman, bakit kami lang. 'Yung mga 'sila naman', ayaw na nila... ?

Q: Kumonti na 'yung mga gustong ituloy mula nung lumabas 'yung listahan ni Napoles?

Serge: Yeah. Naiipit nga si TG eh.

Q: May control ang Palace kay TG?

Serge: The Palace does not control Sen. TG. But it's very obvious that the Palace is trying to control the information coming out of the other agencies.

Q: Between who or whom naiipit si Sen. TG?

Serge: Between a rock and a hard place. Like I said, the hardest thing in the world is investigating your own peers. Kasamahan mo iyan di ba. It's difficult. I don't envy him. So, you know the same facts that I know, you're just trying to make me say something to give you a sound byte tomorrow. Pero talagang mahirap eh. Mga kaibigan mo rin 'yang mga iyan eh. You should never ask a friend to judge, or render judgement, over another friend. Give it to a neutral person. Unfortunately, we are the ones who are elected to the Senate, and we have a committee called the Blue Ribbon committee that is tasked to investigate any acts of malfeasance, misfeasance, nonfeasance by any government officials. Poor Sen. Guingona is now stuck in that position where he has to conduct the investigation, and at the same time investigating his companions, his comrades, his friends in the Senate. So, he has to be very careful.

Q: Bakit biglang may ganyang concern, na mahirap mag-investigate ng kasamahan pero nung 'yung 3 senators lang walang ganyan?

Serge: No, I am not saying that what TG told me, that he's having a hard time investigating this. It would be unfair to him if you interpret it that way. Kawawa naman siya. Ang sinasabi ko, if I were in TG's place, I'd have a difficult time. How we conducted the first part of the investigation, that's his responsibility, you'll have to ask him that. Hindi ko ma-explain iyan.

Q: Hindi naman masasabi na inuupuan niya, being the chairman? 

Serge: Hindi naman. Tingnan po natin, ang problema lang po natin ay nagkakaroon tayo ng maraming, too many vacations eh. Pinoprotesta ko nga ito eh, kasi namamatay ang mga issues. Tulad nung when we had 11/2 months break during Easter, that was an important timeframe. We could have continued with the hearing. And now, we're going to 11/2 month constitutionally mandated recess. It's a difficult question.

Q: Hindi na ito in aid of legislation kasi bakasyon kayo?

Serge: Baka in aid of reelection ?

Q: We cannot say na inuupuan ngayon ng blue ribbon?

Serge: Are you authorized to say that? No, we're not giving you the authority to say that. Are you right in suspecting that? Yes, you're right in suspecting that.

Q: Do you want to reopen the investigation?

Serge: Reopen?!?! It's not yet close!!!

Q: Nagkaroon na ng committee report?

Serge: No. As a matter of fact, I am waiting for the Malampaya probe. In-announce na 'yan ni TG, sabi niya the next hearing will be on the Malampaya scam.

Q: Separate 'yung hearing niyo sa Malampaya?

Serge: No. I would not separate it. Why would we separate it? It's part of a whole scam, Malampaya was just another source of fund. But I think it's part of the giant scam to cheat the government and the people of their money.

Q: You want to resume investigation?

Serge: Yes. I want our investigation to continue. Unfortunately, I am not calling the shots. But again, I will say this, I am not saying that Sen. Guingona is stopping the investigation. Except that maybe he is overwhelmed with the amount of information that he asked for and was given, and now, he is drowning in papers. Mahirap basahin iyon ah, 31,000 pages?!?!

Q:Wala daw probative value iyong documents. So why not just invite Benhur Luy and ask him about the documents?

Serge: That's not absolute proof. When you're investigating a case, you start with an information, may tumawag, Boss si Cely nakita ko, pumapasok sa motel... that's not probative value. Lead na iyon. We're getting all of these leads. And eventually, when we have this quantum of evidence that can be used by the prosecutors as developing a probable cause to charge someone with violating the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

Q: You're having difficulty reading all of the pages. Why not just call Benhur Luy?

Serge: We can't. Because you cannot question him unless you read what he put in there. Kaya, kung ako po iyon, I'll get a staff of about 20 lawyers, then tell them, 'You read 1-5,000', talaga... just determine which are the most important ones and then, maybe they can come up with 1,000 pages instead of 31,000 pages. Then I'll ask them all to sit together and then, 'okay, let's put all the big puzzles together and make the connection.' That will take time.

Q: Is that what Sen. TG is doing now?

Serge: I have not talked to him. But I would imagine that's what he would assign his staff to do. And imagine, he even has to hire more lawyers, more investigators...

Q: Sabi niyo kasi we were right in suspecting that inuupuan ng blue ribbon?

Serge: Yes. Because from your point of view, if I were in your position, bakit hindi ko nakakausap si Sen. Guingona, bakit ang tagal-tagal na, kahit na press release lang kung kelan magkakaroon ng hearing, wala. So, if I were in your position, I would come to that same conclusion: That he's stalling. I am stalling also. I don't know what exactly is happening. I hope to see Sen. TG soon, or one of these days. But, I also don't know what's happening. Except that I satisfy myself with the thought it's the Ombudsman that is the key here, not the Senate.

Q: Normal ba iyan, na hindi kayo kinakausap ng blue ribbon chair? Hindi kayo mini-meet?

Serge: Only when Miriam is chairman. She doesn't talk to me anyway. ? Kidding aside, dapat kinakausap kami. I always talk to my committee members, to consult with them.

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