Press Release
September 15, 2009

Transcript of ambush interview with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On Sen. Ping Lacson's Privilege Speech

Q: Sir, what is your reaction doon sa naging privilege speech ni Senator Lacson kahapon?

SP: Well, that is one side of the story. I cannot say that Ping has no basis, neither can I say that he has a basis. I do not know the facts so let the other side also speak out. And if we can hear both sides then we can make an evaluation.

Q: Sir, balak din daw po ni Jinggoy (Estrada) mag-privilege speech.

SP: Okay lang 'yon. That is exercising his right of reply.

Q: Sir, nakausap niyo na po si former President Erap?

SP: Hindi pa.

Q: Sir, what would you do kung may ganoong sagutan among the members of the Senate?

SP: Pinababayaan ko lang 'yon. That's their individual, personal positions. We are not dealing with an issue that affects the interest of the state at the moment.

Q: Sir, hindi po ba parang magseself-destruct ang opposition?

SP: Hindi. Ang opposition ngayon is divided into factions so this is actually an intramural within the opposition group and within this smaller group. Even in our majority group in the Senate, we differ in positions on certain issues and there is no dictation from anyone.

Q: Sir, pero are there some efforts para pag-ayusin sila?

SP: We will try but hindi muna ngayon. Mainit pa. Palamigin mo muna 'yung kaldero bago mo hawakan.

Q: Sir, sa mga privilege speech, may immunity po ba ang speaker?

SP: Whatever you say inside the Senate plenary session is privileged. You cannot be questioned by anyone outside the halls of the Senate.

Q: Sir, pwede ba siyang evidence if a case is filed?

SP: Hindi evidence 'yon. You have to bring the person in the courtroom, swear him to testify and tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help him God. Without that, it is not evidence.

Q: Sir, pero based sa allegations ni Ping (Lacson), can Erap still be charged for pressuring the Yuchengco family?

SP: At this point I do not know what is the case that can be taken against him because the transaction went through value-for-value. Of course, the only thing there is, if it was true, that Yuchengco was coerced to sell. That's one thing. Second, you have to determine whether the coercion led to a depreciation of the price of the goods sold. But if the price was fair and reasonable, Mr. Yuchengco got value for the value that he parted, then it is very difficult to build a case on that basis alone. Of course, there is a problem of propriety if the story was true at the time Erap was president.

Q: Sir, even po si former Governor Singson dinepensahan po niya na totoo daw po 'yung mga binanggit ni Senator Lacson.

SP: Well, that is their version. Let us hear the version of the other side. And if there is a case then let the case be handled by the courts because the court will be the one to decide this. No one else can decide this.

Q: Sir, do you think it will affect the candidacy of former President Erap?

SP: I do not know whether it will have an impact. Any story like this will have a bearing on the candidacy of Erap or the candidacy of anyone who is the subject matter of a publicity like that. The question is to what extent. To what extent is the candidacy affected? How many votes will he lose? We do not know yet.

Q: Sir, can you say na politically motivated 'yung ginawa ni Senator Lacson?

SP: Given the time of the event, many people will say that it was motivated by politics but Ping (Lacson) is no longer a candidate for public office, Erap is. But I do not know the motive of Ping. On the other hand, he says that he is doing this for history and for country. So, presumptively, I will have to take his word for it. Now we will see how things will go. Q: Hindi po ba ito pag-aaksaya ng oras ng Senado considering na budget season na?

SP: Hindi pag-aaksaya 'yon. Every issue brought into the Senate is in the interest of the country and the Filipino people.

Q: Pero, sir, are you going to allow it kasi si Senator Lacson may part two and part three pa daw?

SP: Well, it is the right of every senator to use the Floor on a matter of privilege. You cannot stop that.

Q: Sir, hindi ba ito magko-cause ng further fracture sa opposition ngayon?

SP: Well, if it will cause further fracture, so be it. We cannot stop it.

Q: Sir, have you intervened kay Senator Lacson?

SP: No. I have not stopped anyone of my colleagues to exercise their right as senator.

Q: Sir, what will happen if there will be further fracture sa opposition?

SP: I don't know. We'll have to be patient and hear them. Hear the parties concerned. That is their right. That is also the right of the people to know.

Q: Sir, hindi ba kayo nagtaka na while he claims na this is for the interest of the country, it took him years before he speak up?

SP: The timing is his choice. Of course, those who are cynical will say, 'bakit ngayon lang?' Those who are at least open-minded will say that, 'he has kept it in his mind and his heart for such a long period of time and he wants to unburden himself'. How can we dispute that?

Q: Sir, sa pagkakilala niyo kay Erap may bago pa ba sa mga binanggit ni Senator Lacson?

SP: Hindi ko alam. I do not know Erap that well. He's my good friend but I cannot ask questions. I have not investigated his background. I have not pried into his personal life.

Q: Sir, merong parang na-mention si Senator Lacson na kayo rin nagkaroon ng ganoong instance…

SP: Iba 'yung akin. Well, ganoon din. He served Erap, I served President Marcos. I went against President Marcos, gambled my life in doing so. But there was a reason for it and I cannot disclose the reason.

Q: Sir, 'yung reason niyo mas mabigat?

SP: It involved my life.

Q: Sir, who's most likely to benefit dito sa bickerings ng opposition?

SP: Everybody. All other candidates will benefit out of it because the attack is now against Erap. Villar, Noynoy, Chiz and others will benefit out of it if the followers of Erap are brittle. But I don't think they're brittle. Many of these people are committed to him.

Q: Sir, sabi niya mas malala pa daw 'yung mga binabato kay Erap noong tumatakbo siyang presidente noong 1998?

SP: Alam mo noong panahon ni Marcos nangyari rin 'yang ganyan. Binato sa kanya napakabibigat na mga issues --- Nalundasan case, corruption in the import control, corruption sa stock market, corruption sa land grabbing. Maraming issue ng pagsasamantala na binato kay Marcos. But the followers of Marcos were committed to him --- fiercely committed to him. And he made it as a president.

Q: So, do you think sir na pwede pa rin manalo si Erap kahit ganito na maraming ibinabato sa kanya?

SP: Pwede. Everything is still fluid kaya nga si Marcos decided to provoke the side of then Pres. Diosdado Macapagal so that they'll bring out all the issues against him early enough and the election was too far away. As the election moved on, people had the tendency to take things for granted after that. Pulitika lang 'yan.

Q: Ganito rin sa sitwasyon ni Erap? Mas mabuti na lumalabas na ngayon?

SP: Well, titingnan natin. I'm just talking about Marcos. We do not know how it will affect Erap. Hindi naman makakalimutan ng tao pero before they get the issues they start to think about it and analyze it. Marami ring defender ni Marcos, marami ring defender si Erap. Ipapaliwanag 'yan sa publiko. On No Election Scenario

Q: Sir, when you discussed kahapon 'yung possible no election scenario, meron kayong info?

SP: Wala. I'm just analyzing the situation. Anyone who has been in the national scene for such a length of time could anticipate all kinds of possibilities. It is the duty of a leader to look at the situation as they emerge and then assess it from the viewpoint of national interest. Kung mangyari ito, ano kaya. Kung mangyari 'yon, ano kaya.

On Oil Deregulation Law

Q: Sir, 'yung reaction niyo lang noong binenta ni FVR 'yung Petron during his regime.

SP: That should not have been done. I was one of those who negotiated for that purchase. The other one was Geronimo Velasco. We were tasked by then President Marcos to negotiate with Mobil Oil and Standard ESSO to acquire the refinery and their distribution outlets all over the country. That became Petron. This was an offshoot of our experience because of the 1973 and 1979 oil crisis. So we decided to set up a department of energy to handle our power problems and exploration of crude oil in the country in order to unshackle ourselves from dependence on imported fuel. Geronimo Velasco became the secretary of energy and President Marcos designated me as a part of the negotiating team composed of Geronimo Velasco and me because I was secretary of defense and at the same time involved with some economic issues in the government to deal with American owners of Mobil Oil and ESSO Standard Vacuum. They have the Bataan refinery and two distribution outlets. So we acquired these assets at a very reasonable price and the purpose of it was to use this as an arm of the government to control the prices of fuel --- gasoline and diesel in the country against the big players like Caltex, Shell and the others that were here at that time.

Q: Ibig sabihin sir eto rin ang isang dahilan kung bakit ngayon hindi kayang babaan 'yung presyo ng petrolyo?

SP: Dahil ngayon wala ng batuta ang gobyerno na gagamitin kung hawak pa rin ang Petron. Kung binagsak ng Petron ang presyo, sasama 'yung dalawa. Sapagkat hindi pwede pupunta lahat sa Petron ang mga bibili ng gasoline kapag mas mababa ang presyo niyan. Kaya hindi kaya ng dalawa na itaas ng itaas 'yung kanilang presyo, mawawalan sila ng negosyo. 'Yun ang simplistic way of thinking why the government acquired Petron.

Q: Sir, di ba may ginagawa kayong measure ngayon at may law kayong ipapasa ?

SP: 'Yung power reduction bill ko, 'yung Malampaya. Isinusulong ko 'yon.

Q: Sir, kamusta na po 'yung status noon?

SP: Ipinasa na namin sa Senado. Andoon na sa House. Kinausap ko kahapon ang secretary of finance on this and pinag-aaralan nila 'yon.

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