February 13, 2012
SENATE MINORITY LEADER ALAN PETER CAYETANO
Senator Alan Peter Cayeteno (ASC): Magandang hapon, Mr. Presiding Officer. Sa prosecution, defense, at mga kasama natin. Hindi puwedeng hindi natin pansinin ang issue na ito sapagkat ang integridad mismo ng korte ang pinag-uusapan.
I just want to ask questions to the lawyers of the defense panel. Anyone of you can answer except the good justice Cuevas for the simple reason that he was not in the press conference. Can one or some of you answer a few questions, please?
Defense lawyer Cuevas asked for permission for Jose Roy III to respond for the defense.
ASC: At the onset, gusto ko lang ipaalam sa inyo na pilit kong iniintindi ang ginawa ninyo at pilit kong iniintindi na mayroon kayong kliyente na kailangang depensahan. Ngunit kayo na rin mismo ang ilang beses nagpaalala sa korte na ito na kailangang respetuhin ang korte, kaya gusto kong linawin ang ilan sa inyong mga sinabi sa pamamagitan ng mga katanungang ito.
Counsel, I would assume that except for some very young lawyers in your panel, most of you have had extensive practice, is this right?
Counsel Jose Roy III of the defense answered in the affirmative.
ASC: And I would assume that respect to the court is given.
The counsel agreed.
ASC: What do you think would happen if you had a case in the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court, and a night before the important decision has to be made, I would go on air and say that some of the justices are being bribed and being offered a hundred million pesos?
The counsel said it is a terrible allegation, but cleared that that was not the allegation made. He cleared that what the defense said was that they received information that senator-judges are being bribed, and that the pronouncement was not meant to taint the integrity of the senator-judges.
ASC: But by implication, did that not mean that some, if not all, or at least one of the senator-judges is susceptible to bribery by saying that they are being called and are being offered a hundred million pesos in soft projects?
Hindi ba ang implikasyon nito o perception na ibinibigay nito sa ating mga kababayan ay para bang hindi solemn oath ang aming ginawa dito at puwede kaming tumanggap ng ganyan kalaki, kapalit ng aming boto sa kahit anong issue?
Counsel Jose Roy III apologized for the defense if their pronouncement was not clear.
ASC: At this point, thank you for your apology, or for your clarification. That's important for each member of this impeachment court. However, let me continue my questioning.
If in fact you made that statement before the Supreme Court, don't you think that the Supreme Court would make you explain, or at least subject you to disciplinary action if you make those allegations?
The counsel agreed and explained that that is precisely why the defense came in full force.
ASC: Isn't it true also that with what you did, you put the court in an awkward situation? Kung nag-desisyon kami na huwag sundin ang TRO, lalabas na may tumanggap sa amin ng isang milyong piso. Kapag naman sinabi namin na kailangang sundin ang TRO, lalabas na natakot kami sa press con ninyo. But it should not be limited to those two scenarios.
We all announced on Thursday that there will be a caucus today to talk about the TRO. A day before the scheduled caucus, all the members of the media were calling us, not to ask those questions, but to ask us to confirm or deny your allegations.
Isn't that an insult to us to even have to deny that we are susceptible to bribes? You put us in that situation.
The counsel explained that the defense had very little choice. He said that the defense received word late Saturday afternoon and that the information was from Sen. Tatad.
ASC: We will deal with Senator Tatad, or whether he was right, separately. What I'm saying is that that is not the only thing the defense panel said.
Kasama po sa sinabi na hindi na patas at hindi na kayo makapag-presinta ng ebidensya. Turn na ba ninyo makapag-presinta ng ebidensya? Hindi ba pagkatapos ng prosekusyon pa lamang kayo makapagpepresinta ng ebidensya?
The counsel argued that they are being tried in public.
ASC: Is that the fault of the senator-judges, or is it a part of the whole process and the system? My point is that you can go ahead and engage in a trial with the prosecution because that is democracy, and that is the system.
We will try to restrain both sides. Senator Honasan has stood up so many times to try to restrain both sides, pero bakit pati ang referee ay gagawan ninyo ng intriga? Iyon po ang punto ko doon.
Dahil noong sinabi ninyo na hindi na patas, hindi maganda sa amin. Noong kinlaro ninyo, hindi niyo lamang sinabi na nakikialam kasi ang pangulo, Ang sinabi ninyo, nakikialam ang pangulo at inuutusan ang senator-judges. Ang implikasyon tuloy, kami ang nauutusan dito ng pangulo.
The counsel apologized again and explained that the message that they wanted the people to understand is that the senator-judges are being pressured, which makes the whole circumstance unfair to the defense.
ASC: Mr. Counsel, hindi po ba obvious na marami naman talaga ang susubok na mang-pressure. Whether it's public opinion, or your family, or politics, pressure is always part of the game.
Ang kuwestyon ay kung nape-pressure ba kami o hindi. Noong kami ay nag-oath, ipinangako namin sa inyo at sa mga mamamayan, at sa Diyos, na hindi kami magpapa-pressure kahit kanino man.
Bilang huling katanungan sa puntong ito, kung ngayon ay may TRO sa Supreme Court, pumunta ako sa media bilang isang abogado at sinabi kong mayroon akong balita na ang mga justices ay binibigyan ng tig-P50 million para lang patagalin ang TRO, don't you think the Supreme Court will ask me why I should not be held in contempt or why I should not be disciplined?
The counsel from the defense agreed.
ASC: And wouldn't you think that we are on the same level, at least, as the Supreme Court, as far as the impeachment is concerned?
The counsel from the defense agreed and explained that the reason they wanted to go to the media is so the issue will be cleared out.
ASC: We fully understand that and I once, like Senator Arroyo who was a prosecutor, did not reach the Supreme Court when we were trying to impeach Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the former president. Senator Guingona, Senator Escudero, at ang ibang mga kasama namin na sina Joel Villanueva, Cong. Zamora, all of them, we would have done something like that. But we would have stopped when it came to the integrity of the court, casting doubts upon the court.
Let me go my last few questions on the source.
Is any of you, defense counsels, members of the media?
The defense counsel said he does not know.
ASC: I asked that because we are all aware that the members of the media have source privilege granted to them by a republic act. Is this source privilege also given to members of the Philippine Bar?
The defense counsel said that there is a fundamental right that the defense draws comfort from. He reads Paragraph B of Section 20 of Rule 138.
ASC: But will you confirm to me that the attorney-client privilege is only available when there is an attorney-client relationship?
The defense counsel agreed.
ASC: So unless your source is your client, then you are bound to reveal your source if this impeachment court asked you to reveal such.
The defense explained that the attorney-client relationship pertains to the whole conduct of all the business of the client.
ASC: I will not argue with you on that because we do not have time. But I want to bring that to the sense of the court, because I have heard some of the members wanting or challenging you to come out with the names so that we can clear the air here.
Let me just make this strong statement also that you put us in this situation. Isipin po ninyo, kailangan pa namin mag-deny. The mere fact that we have to stand to say that there is no P100 million, walang lumapit sa amin, walang nag-o-offer, paano po ngayon kung nag-desisyon kami kung pabor o hindi pabor sa inyo?
Kayo ang naglagay sa alanganin sa korteng ito. Mabuti na lamang, ang tingin ko, ang mamamayan ay may faith at confidence sa impeachment court at makikita nila na bawat desisyon namin ay may dahilan.
We want to explain every single vote we make. But we're trying to save both the prosecution and the defense time. But when you make allegations like that, the net effect is that when we make our votes, we will have to explain.
The defense counsel apologized and assured that their view of the senator-judges has always been of the highest regard.
ASC: I just like to leave you with this short story. This is not my original.
May isang pumunta sa pinakamataas na bundok. Kinuha niya ang unan at tinastasan iyon at inilabas lahat ng balahibo sa loob ng unan at pinakawalan ang mga ito. Pagka-baba niya, may nagsabi sa kaniya na tsismoso siya dahil puro tsismis at unreliable sources ang sinasabi niya.
Tapos sinabi ng taong ito, "Boss, pasensya ka na, mali pala ako. Naging mapusok ang damdamin ko at sinabi ko kaagad." Tapos sinabihan siya na umakyat ulit sa bundok at lahat ng balahibo ay habulin niya at ipunin niya.
Ang sagot nung taong nagpakawala ng balahibo, "Boss, hindi ko na po magagawa iyon dahil kalat na po." 'Yon din ang sinabi sa kanya ng taong kausap niya. "Unfortunately, ang tsismis mo kalat na at hindi na makukuha ulit o mababawi."
Sana po maisip ninyo that when you make statements like that, it's easy to apologize, but you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube.
I will stop there but I hope it is clear to all of us how sacred this duty is and we shall be very responsible in everything we do in this court or outside of the court. That goes to both the prosecution and the defense, and even the senator-judges.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Monday, May 25