Press Release
July 3, 2009

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

Q: Sir, ano ang main objective? Bakit kailangan pa itong infomercial?

SP: To get support for this bill. I planned this before. In fact, I got advertisements in major newspapers to project my advocacy. This is my real advocacy for the country.

Q: Sir, this has nothing to do with politics?

SP: Well, of course, if I run for public office again it has an impact on politics but that is not really the purpose. The purpose is to really get the consciousness of the people to support a bill like this for themselves.

Q: Have you decided to run for re-election?

SP: I will probably run for re-election. Erap had already included me in the list of the candidates.

Q: Sir, speaking of elections, reaction lang sa sigalot ng Smartmatic at TIM. Dapat pa bang ipagkatiwala sa kanila yung election?

SP: Ang namamahala ng eleksyon sa bansa natin ay ang Comelec. Sila ang nagdedecide niyan. Sila ang pumipili kung sino ang pagkakatiwalaan nila na mangasiwa sa ating eleksyon. Hindi natin pwedeng sabihin na mali sila hanggang mayroon tayong pruweba na mali sila. Ipaubaya natin sa kanila yung responsibility.

Q: Pero paano kung ibigay sa Smartmatic then magkaroon ng problema sa pera ulit, iwan sa ere yung eleksyon natin?

SP: Mahirap yung baka. Kung magkamali sila, batikusin natin sila. Ikulong natin sila. Sila ang may responsibilidad niyan.

Q: Sir, doon sa Smartmatic-TIM issue, these past few days dinikit yung pangalan ni FG doon sa TIM, pero lumabas yung report kanina na ang naging kliyente ng TIM was former President Estrada during the election of '98.

SP: Hindi ko alam yon. Bakit ba natin ikinakabit ang mga pangalan na 'yan sa mga presidente natin? Ano ang kinalaman ng mga tao sa nangyayari?

Q: Sir, hindi kaya mga losing bidders yung sumisira dito?

SP: Everything is possible but there is no evidence to show that.

Q: Pero given that issue, are you still pushing for automation?

SP: We can no longer stop automation if it can be done. The only thing that we are saying is yes, we will automate but we must not rely fully on automation because there is a possibility, although remote, that it may not work. We have not tried this. So we have to be prepared to shift to manual in the event that we realize that it will not work. We cannot afford not to have an election. Believe me, I will keep repeating, we cannot afford it. This country will be more than worse than a banana republic if we do not have any election.

Q: Pero yung automation sir, we do not have any choice really if it fails.

SP: Kaya nga, magmamanual tayo if the automation will not work. We'll have to go manual.

Q: Sir, dapat ba may deadline kasi ngayon daw malalaman ng Comelec?

SP: Kailangan may deadline 'yan. Hindi pwedeng open-ended 'yang automation na 'yan. Dapat sabihin ng Comelec kung kaya nila. Kung hindi nila kaya, sabihin na nila hindi nila kaya. Shift to automation. Otherwise, they will all be jailed. Sila ang may responsibilidad niyan. Sasabihin nila kaya nilang mag-automate in so short a time, 'yun pala hindi naman. Wala silang preparation for manual. Kailangan they have to prepare for manual election while they are automating the election as a back-up. That is the back-up of the whole exercise.

Q: Sir, yun bang pondo for automation, can that be used for manual election without amending the law?

SP: It can be used for election without amending it because that money is intended for election purposes.

Q: Sir, kapag bumalik daw sa manual ang magbebenefit daw ay mga maperang kandidato?

SP: It's better to have a manual election than nothing. Whatever may be the opinion of others, I'd rather have a manual election compared to no election or failure of election or a revolution because that will be the net result if we have no election.

Q: Sir, in case the differences between Smartmatic and Total Information Management are not patched up, the Comelec is assuming the role as the local partner. Can it be legally done without amending the automation law?

SP: I am not familiar with the law on procurement because I was not here when that law was passed. I do not know why they will require a Filipino partner for the winning bidder because this activity that we are discussing, elections, hindi naman public service 'yan. It's not a public utility operations which requires a 60:40 ratio of share ownership of winning bidder.

Q: Sir, kung matuloy ang automation, what will Congress canvass?

SP: Precisely, we will have to amend the election law hand-in-hand with this law of automation because there are provisions in the election law that must be changed.

Q: Be that as it may, the automation election in May, can you do it in the next Congress session to start amending ...

SP: When open in July, we have to start talking about this in preparation for 2010 assuming there will be an automation.

Q: Sir, yung rule sa substitution, paano po mag- aaply kung printed na ang mga ballots?

SP: Yun nga ang pag-aaralan ng mga Comelec. I am not an expert in computer. We'll have to involve the people who work out the software for this exercise how they will do a substitution in case a candidate for president dies or whatever reason cannot continue.

Q: Nasa email sir, na there are some sectors na gusto kayo tumakbo for president. Nabasa po namin sa email. May natanggap po kami, "Enrile for President."

SP: I don't want to run for president. I just want to be what I am.

Q: Sir, mukhang natuwa sila doon sa pinaglaban n'yo sa mga cellphone loads ...

SP: Aksidente lang iyon. That was unintentional. I did not even know the number of people having cellphones. When I got that experience, I got curious and that is why I delivered the speech. If I did not get that experience, I did not raise any issue.

Q: Kung may deadline ang Comelec, within this month kailangan matapos na iyang issue?

SP: Within this day and they cannot say within this month. Within this day kailangan, they have to make a decision.

Q: Doon sa TIM, may idea kayo kung sino ang mga people behind the TIM?

SP: No, I have no idea. I do not know who Mr. Antunez is. I do not know what TIM is. I do not know the people behind it. The first time I saw the face, I have the name of Mr. Antunez and with due respect to him when Senator Chiz Escudero chaired the hearing on Comelec automation, I was there and I saw him.

Q: If you are not interested in running for president, how about for vice- president?

SP: I don't what to be vice-president. If I am going to run for vice- president, I may just as well run for president. I don't want to be the utusan of another.

Q: Sir, pag naging law itong power related bills, what is the effect on economy?

SP: It will make the economy vibrant. They are the stimulant to the country.

Q: The problem sir is that the key to the approval of this measure is the support of President Arroyo and this has been discussed in the LEDAC with some economic managers.

SP: I am taking them all to the people. That is the purpose of these. I am generating public opinion.

Q: What can the public do to help your bill?

SP: I am getting a lot of support from the business sectors of the country. The whole Chambers of Commerce of the country are supporting these two bills. Politics is people. The ultimate analysis, we have to go the people to pass anything and to do anything in this country. And that's what I am doing.

Q: Sir, dito sa Senado may nakikita pa kayong problema sa two (2) bills?

SP: The Senate is all in favor of these two bills.

Q: Confident kayo sir na ma-aapprove iyan before 2010?

SP: Malaki nag pagasa ko na maaaprubahan ito, ewan ko sa House of Representatives. Pag nilabanan nila ito, malaki ang magiging problema nila.

Q: So, wala pa nag-commit na Congressman, sir?

SP: Marami na humingi na sila nag mag sponsor nito sa Kongreso.

Q: Is your power rate bill being objected by the Department of Finance?

SP: Yes, it is being objected by the Department of Finance and the Department of Energy.

Q: PCGG Chairman Sabio said that he will respond to your inquiry.

SP: I am waiting for his response and I will respect his position if he can explain his trips.

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