Press Release
September 4, 2018

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III

On the revocation of Sen. Trillanes' amnesty

SP Sotto: We look at it that way but the thing is I have consulted some of the members of the Senate already. To preserve the dignity of the Senate, we have to not allow any senator to be arrested in the Senate premises. Outside the Senate premises, that's no longer our concern, but within the Senate premises, that's the decision of the leadership. Now Senator Trillanes can find redress in the proper courts. It's his call. At this point, it's his call.

Q: Ibig sabihin, Trillanes can choose to stay in the Senate?

SPVS: Yes although we will probably discuss some limitations later on. I understand that during the session, which is about to be called, magpi-privilege speech siya, and then they will ask for a caucus so that the entire majority will be together in the caucus and we will discuss it further.

Q: What would be the limitations?

SPVS: Hindi ko pa masabi. Tingnan natin kung ano ang sasabihin nung mga senador, because there are other perspectives, from those who have experienced the same, and those who have not experienced the same, they are looking at it in a different perspective.

Q: Is he actually placed under the Senate's custody?

SPVS: Ang napag-usapan is simply, as I said, I have given instructions to the sergeant-at-arms that based on the tradition in the Senate, (unclear) he cannot allow a senator to be arrested in the Senate premises. So if you would like to consider or if it is considered as the Senate leadership taking him into custody, it can be gleaned that way, pero as I said may mga limitations din yan.

Q: Meron bang special request sa inyo si Senator Trillanes habang nasa custody ninyo?

SPVS: Wala naman siyang binanggit except that he said it will give him a chance to go to court and question the order.

Q: Sir sa Senate as an institution, two po kasi pangalawang senator na ito?

SPVS: Ito kasing issue na ito, walang precedence. It's a different situation from that of Senator De Lima, it's different from that of Senator Enrile, Senator Revilla, and Senator Estrada. Magkakaiba ito.

Q: Sir the fact na proclamation nga inissue ni President, it as to go through Congress' approval. Will you entertain such document considering na in the past, wala namang revoked na amnesty?

SPVS: That is an issue now being discussed by the Supreme Court because it is the same situation as that of the ICC. Merong nagsasabi na hindi raw pwedeng magwithdraw sa ICC kung walang concurrence ng Senado o Kongreso that was a requirement in the Constitution, that dapat may concurrence to enter. And the same thing with amnesty, there must be a concurrence of Congress to enter. But there is nothing in the Constitution that says, and it is silent na in any revocation, it should pass through Congress also. Walang ganun. The proper courts would be the proper venue.

Q: Sir matagal na kayo sa politics, pwede ba talaga na irevoke ang may grant ng amnesty sa isang rebel?

SPVS: It is within the power of the President.

Q: May concurrence dapat ng Congress?

SPVS: Walang nakalagay sa Constitution na ganun.

Q: So yung sa pagbawi, silent?

SPVS: Oo, sa pagbawi, wala. Even sa agreement sa treaties, wala, silent din.

Q: Pero yung pagkuha ninyo ng custody, sabi kasi ni Senator Trillanes he is under your custody?

SPVS: Yes. Parang he has turned over his person to me, the Senate President.

Q: Yung inyong directive na wag siyang arestuhin dito, ibig sabihin po ba you agree na questionable yung pagpapaaresto sa kanya?

SPVS: Hindi ganun yun. I would rather be neutral in that respect. Who am I to judge whether there is legal basis or not?

Q: They are claiming a warrantless arrest sir.

SPVS: I cannot be a judge of that. The proper courts will be the judge of that.

Q: Bakit ninyo kinustody si Senator Trillanes?

SPVS: It is not precisely taking custody. That is how eventually lumalabas na ganun, pero, ang sinasabi ko, ang order is a senator cannot be arrested within the Senate premises. So if Senator Trillanes wants to remain in the Senate premises, then the instructions to the sergeant-at-arms is that he cannot be arrested.

Q: Whether Congress is in session or not in session, he cannot be arrested basta nandito?


Q: You expect the PNP to respect the Senate building?

SPVS: I think so.

Q: Hindi sila allowed na pumasok? In short, you are allowing Senator Trillanes to use the Senate as his refuge?

SPVS: Alam mo you are looking at it as a glass half-empty. Hindi ganun, basta't the situation is simply, we cannot allow a senator to be arrested in the Senate premises unless the senator voluntarily goes with them. Like in the case of Senator De Lima before, nandito siya, hindi naman siya inaresto. Lumabas siya, umuwi siya muna, pinayagan siyang umuwi muna para kumuha ng gamit tapos doon siya inaresto.

Q: Practically sanctuary ito ni Senator Trillanes?

SPVS: Well, you can look at it that way, ganun ang tingin ng iba, but as I said very specific yung sinabi ko.

Q: Pero sir na-coordinate na yan properly sa mga authorities na nandito? Sa arresting officers?

SPVS: You better ask the sergeant-at-arms. The instructions that I gave him are very specific.

Q: Dapat pala sir nagawa din ni De Lima yun?

SPVS: Ginawa niya.

Q: Pero sir, hindi naman ito attack sa Senate as an institution considering pangalawang senator na siya?

SPVS: I don't think so, not at all.

Q: So individual cases?

SPVS: Merong mga prerogatives ang Executive, merong prerogatives din ang Legislative. We are just exercising our prerogatives. The President is exercising his prerogative, the Senate is also exercising its prerogative.

Q: So kung magdecide si Trillanes sa Senate building, wala na kayong jurisdiction doon?

SPVS: Syempre, oo. It is no longer our concern.

Q: Sir clarification lang, when you said that the President has the power to revoke amnesty, bakit ninyo nasabi yun?

SPVS: It is within his power as the President.

Q: Silent din po kasi yung Constitution on that.

SPVS: Better they ask the courts about that. Definitely, it is within his power.

Q: Pero definitely sir, sa tagal na ninyong mambabatas, ito yung first time na may nirevoke na amnesty?

SPVS: I'm not sure. Ang institutional memory ko is as far as the Senate is concerned, wala pa akong narerecall. I don't know, I am not sure.

Q: Considering na siya ay from the minority at critic ng administration do you think it has something to do sa pagiging opposition sir?

SPVS: I'd rather not venture into speculations.

Q: Bakit hindi n'yo na lang siya pinayuhan na mag-yield sa authorities, surrender?

SPVS: We can't. We leave it up to the Senator to decide.

Q: Magco-caucus pa po kayo?

SPVS: Yes.

Q: So habang nandito, allowed siyang mag-attend ng lahat ng activities sa Senate?

SPVS: Oo, habang nandito siya sa Senate premises, pero pag-uusapan nga namin yung mga maaaring maging limitations.

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