Press Release
September 22, 2009

Transcript of ambush interview with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile


Q: Sir, do you foresee more cabinet officials supporting other candidates other than the standard bearer of the administration?

SP I am not following up that issue, so I think that will be addressed to the individual decision and wisdom of the members of the cabinet of the present administration.

Q: Sir, like yung nagsignify ng support si Sec. Romulo, others think na that also shows the weakness of the standard bearer ng administration?

SP Well, that's a good question. That shows that there is a division in the administration. Some members of the cabinet are not supporting what is perceived to be the candidate of the administration.

Q: Sir, so what should the administration be doing now?

SP I would not interfere with the decisional processes of the administration and the other parties. I belong to the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, and I expect them not to interfere with the decisional process in the same manner they expect us not to interfere with their decisional processes.

Q: Pero Sir, that is highly unlikely po, unusual na yung isang secretary eh mag endorse ng isang kandidato na hindi kandidato ng administrasyon?

SP Well, that means that he is not towing the line of the administration. I do not know if Bert Romulo is a member of the Lakas-Kampi party. If he is a member of the Lakas-Kampi party, then let the party to which he belongs take the action against him. Either they will discipline him, reprimand him, or expel him from the party.

Q: Sir, do you think those officials not towing the line should resign?

SP Well, that is addressed to the individual person. If you cannot support your administration's decision, then the logical thing that you should do is honorably resign from your position as a member of the cabinet. If I were in his place, if I cannot support the stand of my president, then I have to resign from the Cabinet. That is addressed to Mr. Romulo.

Q: Sir, did he embarrass the president?

SP I will not make that conclusion or judgment.

Q: Pero Sir, gaano kalaki yung implication nung sinabi niya?

SP Hindi ko alam. I do not know the extent of his political clout.


Q: Sir, yung formal declaration nung Noynoy-Mar tandem daw yesterday, wala na daw pong pag-asang mag-unite yung opposition, sabi ni former President Erap?

SP I do not know how they can unite the opposition. It is fragmented. You have Senator Villar running for the presidency, he stands on the opposite side of the administration. You have Noynoy running for president, he stands on the opposite side of the administration, you have Chiz, who is running for president, he stands on the other side of the administration, same thing with President Erap. With this situation, this is just like 1992, when there was Gen. Fidel Ramos who was running for the administration then. And there were several candidates against him. I was planning to run in that presidential election in 1992. I reorganized the Nationalista Party, I had a structure all the way to the municipal level, but I decided to quit because I saw that with the fragmented opposition like that, it is a very dangerous possibility that we will lose. And like in 1992, all the opposition candidates lost.

Q: Sir, do you think Erap can still overcome the supposed overwhelming support for Noynoy?

SP Well, I am a member of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. I do not decide my position in politics on the basis of surveys all these years that I was in politics. I decided on the basis of my feel, of the attitudes of the voters in the places that I go, and what I see in the municipalities, provinces and cities that I visited. So I think that if President Erap is not disqualified, and I hope he will not be disqualified because of legal technicalities, I think that he will have a strong possibility to win the election.

Q: Sir, pero dun sa sabi ninyo kanina, na based on the 1992 experience, yung mga opposition candidates hindi nanalo?

SP Kung fragmented. You are going to divide the opposition vote. All those who are against the administration, as voters, will have to vote for this or for that. Now, it depends upon the relative strength of the opposition candidates. You have to bear in mind that no matter how bad an administration is, there is a residual popular support for that administration. And with the machinery that it can wield in the election, to influence the election, and to reach out top the furthest corners of the country, you cannot underestimate those.

Q: So mahina ang chance ng opposition, Sir?

SP Hindi ko sinasabi but it will be a big hurdle. I am just pointing out what happened in 1992.

Q: Pero kanina yung sinabi ninyo na there is a big possibility that Erap could still win?

SP That is my estimate. I have been with him all over the country during my spare time. In fact, we were in Bacolod a week ago, we were in Iloilo a week ago, and I saw the reaction of the people. I may be wrong in my conclusion but that is my estimate.


Q: Sir, pero yung mga expose ni Senator Lacson against Estrada, do you think this would somehow affect his candidacy?

SP We will see soon enough if it will affect his candidacy. The former president is still going around. Of all the candidates today, Erap is the most traveled around the country. He has visited all the provinces, some of them twice, some of them three times. And he is still going around in the big provinces visiting every town. During our last visit to Negros Occidental, we went to the town, we went to the city of Bacolod, then we went to Isabela, Moises Padilla, La Castellana, and the city of La Carlota. In Guimaras we went to the town of Jurdan, Buenavista, two largest towns of Guimaras. In Iloilo we went to Iloilo City, then we went to Oton, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan, and Maasin. I can recite to you the towns we have visited. That's the way we do it methodically in politics. Why do I say this? Because people like to see the face, the body, the aura and presence of a candidate for president to evaluate him. They may know you, but if they do not see you, they feel that they do not owe you any favors, or you do not give them any importance if you do not visit their place. That is the political culture of the country.

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