Press Release
March 23, 2017

Transcript Ambush Interview of Senate President Koko Pimentel

On the rejection of the impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo

Senate President Koko Pimentel: Good. That's a very good sentiment expressed by the President. Impeachment is serious business. You don't it lightly for any reason. You do it for grave reasons when you are convinced that there is a good reason to subject to impeachment a high ranking public official.

On Speaker Alvarez's comment that he will push for the impeachment

SPKP: Pag-aaralan yan siyempre but I'm sure ganun lang yun. All doubts to be resolved against pursuing impeachment.

Q: Si President Duterte parang ayaw niya or sabi niya 'Give her a break'

SPKP: Si President kasi narinig ko sabi niya it's too early. But ako kasi hindi ako sa time nakatingin. If there's really a ground, kami sa Senate, I will say this again, in the impeachment proceedings we act as the court. Look at the RTCs, ordinary courts. They do not encourage the filing of cases with them. But once the case is filed with them. Kailangan nilang trabahuhin yung kaso.

On the stand of PDP-Laban on the impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo

SPKP: Walang stand ang party. Theoretical ang usapan.

Q: Wala po ba kayong plano kausapin si Speaker Alvarez?

SPKP: Alam mo si judge hindi kinakausap si fiscal. Ganun din yung mga senador. Pagdating sa impeachment dahil we are potential judges, we follow the code of judicial conduct.

Q: Sir, do you agree with the president when he said its about time that we focus with our work

SPKP: Of course, that is our default attitude. Magtrabaho muna tayo. Marami tayong pinangako nung kampanya na kailangan nating ideliver but kung may ground, that is for the House of Representatives to determine. Basta reminder lang. Don't treat impeachment lightly. It's a very serious allegation. It has very serious effects. Matatanggal po sa office ang isang high ranking government official. Kung hindi kayo kumbinsido sa ground, don't file it.

On the suspension of the Barangay elections this October and the appointment of Barangay officials

SPKP: That needs a law. There should be a legal basis. I would have to discuss that with my fellow senators and I hope si Speaker would discuss it with his fellow congressmen.

Q: Sir, kailangan ba talaga iappoint nalang yung barangay officials?

SPKP: Kailangan namin marinig bakit naging ganun yung sentiment ni Presidente. I think it has something to do with drug money still being around and available for use by some local politicians to win the elections.

Q: So hindi lang po pwede na basta basta mag announce siya ng ganun and then ippostpone na?

SPKP: Kailangan ng batas. Batas lang kasi nasa constitution din po natin na the term of office of barangay officials shall be provided by law. Yun lang po yung local official na yung term ay batas ang nag-ggovern sa term.

Q: Do you favor na bigyan yung president ng appointive power para sa barangay officials?

SPKP: If we will have to postpone, then this will now be the second year extension of the incumbent barangay official. I think its better to deem their term as expired. The law abhors a vacuum. The appointive power is by default placed in the president. He should be able to appoint. Siyempre kailangan ng batas yan. Mandate kasi yun. Barangay office, barangay post, elective post is a public office based on public trust. 'Yan ang principle natin. The mandate must be renewed periodically.

Q; Kasi diba mas kilala ng mga taga-barangay yung mga kapitbahay nila kaya dapat sila rin ang nageelect ng leaders nila?

SPKP: Ganun nalang ang gawin. Without making it a partisan election, kung merong hawak ang political party or kung sinong politiko ang information on who is on the drug list, then maybe we can make this as an election issue. Legitimate election issue naman yan. Who are the friends of the barangay captain? Who are the supporters of the barangay captain?

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