January 11, 2012
Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile
On the Impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona
Q: Mayroon daw pong motion ang camp ni Corona. They are asking for some personalities to be subpoenaed...
SP: I was just told right now that there was a request received by my office for a subpoena and I have to take that up with the members of the Impeachment Court.
Q: Para kanino po 'yung subpoena?
SP: Some members of the House. I think I will not disclose their names as of the moment.
Q: Sir, ilan po?
SP: Siguro mga six or seven of them.
Q: In connection to the Articles of Impeachment or doon sa motion for preliminary hearing?
SP: I think it's in connection with the Articles of Impeachment.
Q: As what po?
SP: I don't know. I was just told that there was a request for the issuance of a subpoena and they're entitled to that. I would like to get the position of the members of the Senate because we have to define whether we could subpoena our counterpart in the House of Representatives.
Q: So, sir, kailan dedesisyunan ng Impeachment Court itong motion?
SP: Sa Lunes siguro.
Q: That is holding the Senate back dahil co-equal ang Lower House?
SP: No. We will have to discuss it with the members of the Senate as a matter of courtesy and duty because there are members of the Court. I am not the Court. I'm just the presiding officer.
Q: Sir, mag-aapply pa po ba 'yung pagiging co-equal body considering na Impeachment Court naman ito at hindi naman Senate ang nag-iinvite?
SP: We will discuss that. We'll find out.
Q: Pero ano po 'yung prevailing doctrine sa ganoon?
SP: We cannot interfere with their internal rules in the same manner that they cannot interfere with our internal rules. I would like to hear the arguments of both sides whether the Senate has the power to go into the preliminary issue of form and substance of the Articles of Impeachment or we have to give credence to the action taken by the House of Representatives in accordance with the Rules. So, I'll have to take that up with the members of the Senate because the wording of the Constitution is that in case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by 1/3 of all the members of the House, then the verified complaint shall become the Articles of Impeachment and trial in the Senate shall forthwith proceed. That is the wording, "shall forthwith proceed." To me, I do not know whether this Constitutional provision opens an interpretation that we can delay the hearing or deal with preliminary questions because the use of the word "forthwith proceed" meaning we are asked to hear, try and decide the case.
Q: Clarify ko lang po para maliwanag, pinapa-subpoeana nila 'yung six to seven congressmen in connection with the actual Articles of Impeachment, not for the preliminary hearing?
SP: I don't know. To be truthful about it, I have not heard the request.
Q: Sir, 'yung binabanggit niyong "trial shall forthwith proceed" so that negates the argument of Corona's camp that there's a need to verify the signatures.
SP: No. I'm just stating facts. I cannot say negate that's why in the course of dealing with the preliminary hearing that was moved by the lawyers of Justice Corona, we will hear the arguments of both sides before we make a judgment.
Q: Pero, sir, as an Impeachment Court, the Senate can always summon members of the Lower House for the trial?
SP: I do not know. I cannot answer that question because there's an inter-parliamentary courtesy between the two Houses. I would like to discuss it with the members of the Senate.
Q: Sir, 'yung six to seven na binabanggit ninyo, kasama ba doon 'yung members ng prosecution ang pinapa-subpoeana or totally different personalities?
SP: I will not disclose the people that will be subpoenaed.
Q: Sir, kapag nag-prevail 'yung doctrine na even as an Impeachment Court, the Senate cannot summon members of the Lower House...
SP: I will not deal with ifs.
Q: So this issue is still a gray area pa rin po?
SP: Wala pa naman pero more likely we will ask the indulgence of other members of the House to bear with us. That's why we want to hear the arguments of both sides, to find out where lies the correct theory.
Q: Sir, the chief of the defense team is saying that President Aquino has been talking to some senators...
SP: I don't know if they have talked to some senators. I'm not aware of it.
Q: Sir, si President Aquino raw po ang nagtatawag sa mga senators? Sa inyo, sir?
SP: I don't know. I have not heard of anyone here that was called by the Palace or anyone else.
Q: But just in case, there's nothing wrong if the President will talk to senator-judges?
SP: I will not mind. Both sides can talk to any of the senators. It's up to the senators to exercise their circumspection. You cannot avoid the President. I'm talking to his partymates. The behavioral requirement in this impeachment process is addressed to the individual discretion of the members of the Senate.
Q: Sir, considering na maraming mga motions, sa Monday kaya makapag-start na agad?
Q: Sir, na-finalize niyo na po ba 'yung scenario on Monday?
SP: Tapos na
Q: Paano po ang chronology, 'yung sequence po ng mangyayari sa Monday?
SP: Hindi ko alam. 'Yung Secretariat ang gagawa noon.
Q: Pero dedesisyunan po muna lahat ng pending motions?
SP: Syempre we have to finish muna with the preliminary motions so that we can go immediately to the trial proper.
Q: Sir, may pre-trial pa po ba 'yan?
SP: Walang pre-trial kasi sinabi "forthwith proceed."
Q: Sir, paano ise-settle 'yung halimbawa how much time will be devoted to each witness? Gaano katagal ang cross-examination?
SP: Nasa Rules namin 'yun. We will not shackle the parties in presenting their sides. The only thing that I will ask is no dilatory, unnecessary arguments.
Q: Sir, lahat ng motions will be decided through voting?
SP: Depende kung anong klaseng motion 'yun. Maraming motion 'yan.
Q: 'Yung preliminary hearing, subpoeana...
SP: Syempre 'yung mga ganoon have to be voted by the members of the Senate.
Q: Pati po 'yung disciplinary action sa members ng prosecution panel?
SP: Yes. We will have to vote on that whether we will discipline them or not.
Q: Sir, paano 'yung evidence na isusulong ng prosecution which is not related to any of the eight Articles of Impeachment? Could that evidence be admitted?
SP: We will see what kind of material. Irrelevant materials will not be admitted for sure or immaterial evidence or impertinent evidence.
Q: How about 'yung new argument which may constitute a new Article of Impeachment?
SP: They have to amend the Articles of Impeachment.
Q: They can do that po?
SP: Yes. We have a precedent already here where we denied an item because it was not included in the Articles of Impeachment. So, they have to amend the Articles to be taken up here.
Q: So, that can be done in the middle of the trial?
SP: Yes, personally, unless I'm outvoted by the other members. We do that all the time, the amendment to the complaint.
Q: Sir, 'yung eight Articles of Impeachment, pwede pa madagdagan depende sa prosecution?
SP: Depende sa prosecution but they'll have to amend the Articles of Impeachment. They have to bring it back to the House and vote upon it again.
Q: Sir, there are several petitions in the Supreme Court asking for a TRO on the impeachment trial...
SP: I think I will have to see whether a TRO is possible because otherwise, the Supreme Court can cancel out the mandate given to the Senate to try and decide. No one else can decide this case. Not the people, not the Supreme Court or anyone else. The one ordered to try and decide an impeachment case is the Senate. So, I don't think the Supreme Court can reinterpret the Constitution. It's so clear. The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide. What's the meaning of that? No one else. It excludes everyone.
Q: So the Supreme Court cannot stop the proceedings?
SP: I don't think so. Of course, we will be guided by the opinion of the lawyers.
Q: 'Yung issue ng validity ng impeachment complaint, ang magre-resolve lang is the impeachment body and not the Supreme Court?
SP: We will hear the arguments of both sides. I'm not prejudging the case. We are not dealing with the merits. We are dealing with procedures.
Q: Pero it's not with the Supreme Court to decide the validity?
SP: In my opinion, the Supreme Court has the power to review the basis of the impeachment but once it reaches the Senate, they cannot say that there is a lack or excess of jurisdiction or abuse of discretion because we have not proceeded yet. Unlike in the case of the House, when they received the verified complaint of impeachment where the Supreme Court issued the status quo ante because a case was filed with them, it was not yet functus officio punto sufficio then. It was not yet finished. When the case is transferred to the Senate, the mandate is trial by the Senate shall "forthwith proceed."
Q: Pero ang kinu-question ng petitioners is not the Senate but the members of the Lower House. In terms of the verification of the signatures for example.
SP: Well then, they should have done that there before it was brought to the Senate. Once it is here, we have acquired jurisdiction that everyone to hear the arguments of both sides. You can interpret it both ways.
Q: Pero if in the middle of the trial the prosecution or the defense feels na merong grave abuse of discretion in the part of the Senate, there is a remedy for them to go to the Supreme Court procedurally?
SP: Against us? We'll see if they insist to do that. We'll respect the rights of the parties to take their legal remedies.
Q: Sir, clarification lang, ano 'yung tawag sa finile ng camp ni Corona ngayon?
SP: Request for subpoena.
Q: Sir, other issue na lang, dahil doon sa nangyayaring crisis sa Iran, Department of energy is saying na kino-consider nila ang possibility ng gas rationing. May gulo sir doon diba? So kino-consider nila yong fuel rationing.
SP: Well, that is addressed to the judgment of the Executive because they are the ones in-charge for that, kung hindi kasya 'yung supply of crude natin, we have no choice except to reduce the consumption of everybody, that means we'll have to limit the amount of fuel that each one can get, can buy.
Q: So, hindi naman parang alarming situation na kapag nag fuel rationing?
SP: Mas mabuti na 'yung gawin mo 'yun kesa sa pabayaan mo na yung maraming pera ay mag-iimbak ng marami.
Q: Sir, hindi ba alarming yung ganung announcement or at least yung ganung scenario?
SP: Well, anything about matters affecting the general welfare is alarming but, we do not know the basis of their decision, they are in possession of the facts. We cannot speculate.
Q: Sir, other concerns, for the next sessions po, up until the next recess, ano pong mga priority measures ang i-ta-tackle at the plenary?
SP: Marami. We will try our best to deal with them in the morning.
Q: Sir, kamusta na po yung Legislative Summit? Last time you said po it was around January, yung meeting nyo with the House of Representatives for the legislative summit. For the ChaCha sir.
SP: It will continue. We will find a way to discuss that, we can meet on a Friday, saturday, Sunday, if necessary.
Q: Sir, Yung charter Change tuloy pa rin yun?
SP: Ay, tuloy pa rin yun. Wala naming usapan na hindi itutuloy eh.
Q: Kahit na tutol ang Pangulo sir?
SP: Gipit kami sa panahon pero we'll try to attend to all our obligations.
Q: Sir, wala kayong appeal for sobriety habang wala pa yung impeachment trial kasi kabi-kabila sir may insinuation
SP: Natural lang yan sa adversary proceeding pero ang pinakikiusap ko lang ok lang na hindi ako igagalang pero igagalang nila ang karapatan ng senado. Hindi namin kagustuhan ito eh, the people reposed on the Senate the duty, the sole duty to try and decide impeachment cases. In the same way that iginagalang namin, iginalang namin yung karapatan ng House of Representatives to be the sole body to impeach. Now, since they submitted their case before the Senate that means they have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the Senate then, they must abide by the Rules of the Senate. Otherwise, we will be forced to apply the rules in order to effect in orderly proceeding.
Q: Sir, doon sa issue ulit ng oil, sa issue po ng oil supply natin. Di ba dati nakakuha tayo ng supply sa other nation, kahit hindi dun sa Middle East, pwede bang kumuha ang gobyerno...
SP: There is supply contract yan eh, it depends, if we do not have any supply contract from other nations, and we have tied up contract with another country then, we have to work out with other countries
Q: Thank you sir, salamat po.
SP: You're welcome
Q: pero sir, yng toga nyo, ano po ba yun, yung robe sir, Mondays lang po bay un or just on...
SP: I don't know, i don't know, alam mo hindi ako masyadong naaabala dun sa robe eh.
Q: Hindi naman mainit sir?
SP: Maski na anong robe pwede sakin. Huwag lang bathrobe
Q: Pero hindi mandatory na lagging suot sir?
SP: Depende sa kagustuhan ng mga senators. I have no special concern about that.
Q: Kasi nag-order pa daw po ng panibagong set eh kaya you'll be wearing new robes on Monday.
SP: Kasi yung isa na ginawa nila primero, masyadong makapal, mainit. Ako, ok sakin yun, pero some want a lighter one and the color like i said is medyo hindi naman dapat ganun ang color kinorek eh kumuha yata sila ng a little darker
Q: Black Nazarene yun, maroon eh. Maroon po?
SP: Huwag na nating isasama ang Nazareno dyan.
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