January 19, 2012
Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile
On the Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona
Q: Sir, dapat daw po nakikita ang neutrality pero kahapon daw nawala ang neutrality among other senators?
SP: Hindi naman.
Q: Sir, ano po ang expected later? Article II pa rin po?
SP: We are still in Article II this afternoon. Ang ipepresenta nila ngayong hapon ay 'yung mga testigo tungkol doon sa mga sinasabi na mga ari-arian ni Justice Corona na mga lupa, condo at kung ano pa.
Q: So, sir, tatapusin niyo na po ba ang Article II later?
SP: Hindi ko alam kung matatapos 'yun.
Q: Sir, sasagot na po ba ang Senate sa comment na hinihiling ng Supreme Court doon sa TRO?
SP: Wala pa. Sampung araw 'yung binigay sa amin. Hindi kara-karaka na masasagot 'yun. Although, more or less alam ko na ang sagot dun pero hindi ko masasabi sa inyo.
Q: Kasi may question po kasi kung ang impeachment body is co-equal with the Senate...
SP: Alam mo, there are only three branches of government. They're co-equal and independent from each other. Separate and independent pero they are coordinated. Now, the meaning of co-equalness pare-pareho. If you look at the Constitution, powers of government is divided into three parts assigned to three branches of government. One implements the law. The other which is Congress, enacts the law. The third branch, the Judiciary, interprets. Ngayon, ang ginagawa ng Senado na paglilitis ng impeachment, special 'yun. Assignment 'yun to Congress and it involves the two Houses. One prosecutes and the other tries and decides the case but in this case, it does not mean that we become superior. My reading of the Constitution is that in this special situation is that we have the sole power to try and decide the case. Meaning, no one can interfere with us as long as we apply the Bill of Rights and the Principle of due process, as long as we do an impartial and fair administration of justice. This is an administration of justice. Ngayon, kapag kami ay nagkamali and we become arbitrary or tyrannical or oppressive in our decision, then maybe that will become an issue later on after we have done our work. But while we are doing the work, in our opinion, no one can interfere with us.
Q: Sir, pero kapag nag-file po kayo ng reply sa Supreme Court then, somehow, you will acknowledge that you are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and if that Supreme Court rules to stop the impeachment.
SP: We will not abandon the Constitution. In the same manner that if we ask the explanation of the Supreme Court, they also have to explain to us. In the same manner that we will have to comply with their request that we explain our position with respect to the pending cases. Otherwise, we will break down the system of government that we have.
Q: So, whatever is the decision of the Supreme Court, you will follow it?
SP: Depende kung ano ang decision nila.
Q: Sir, hanggang anong point po magiging lenient ang Senate impeachment court sa pagtatanong ng senator-judges?
SP: Hindi ko sasabihin sa 'yo. Do not ask me what I will do.
Q: Pero, sir, mayroon lang po kasing impression na somehow baka makilingan ang magkabilang panig...
SP: Let that impression be a function of the public. If they have that impression, then they can punish us.
Q: Nakikita niyo ba o may anticipation ng clash between Korte Suprema at ng impeachment court?
SP: Hindi. Wala.
Q: Hindi niyo po nakikita na mangyayari 'yun, sir?
SP: Wala akong nakikitang krisis. We are all Filipinos. We are all for the country and we have to handle things.