February 16, 2012
Transcript of interview of Senator Franklin M. Drilon
Karen: I am holding with which I cannot show complete on camera as ruled by SP Enrile are customer identification and specimen signature cards of PSBank. In the same card, you would see dollar and peso accounts that were opened by Corona in the bank. Ano po ba talaga ang hinihingi ng senator-judges gayong sinabi na ng PSBank fake daw ang document na ito?
Drilon: Kagaya ni Senator Jingoy Estrada, ako ay hindi naninIwala na peke ito dahilan sa kung titingnan natin itong signature card, lahat naman tayo dumaan diyan, pumirma, it could appear to me to be authentic on its face. Ngayon, dahil sila po ang nagsabi na ito ay peke, kailangan naman, may karapatan kaming senator-judges to prove, ask, and test the credibility of the witness because she/they made a conclusion that this is fake. We have the right to ask, as SJPE sustained us, the right to see whether it is fake. What did I say yesterday? I'm not talking of the dollar account, just peso account numbers.
Karen: Oo, nandito po iyon, may mga column po dito.
Drilon: Oo, may column. Ngayon, mayroong authorized officer
Karen: May mga pirma po, may signature.
Drilon: Sino itong pumirmang ito for the peso accounts? So, para natin malaman kung talagang hindi niya pinirmahan ito, kaninong pirma ito? Ngayon, may mga dollar account diyan, ako I'm just presenting my side.
Karen: Actually dalawa.
Drilon: Pero ito numero lang, walang amount. Ngayon, itong mga numerong ito, sinabi ni Garcia na existing pero never mind.
Karen: Huwag na yun.
Drilon: Huwag na yun. Ang sinasabi nila kahapon yung mga highlighting lang wala sa kanilang kopya. Ni-highlight daw yung ganito wala sa kanilang kopya. Kung highlighting lang ang pagkakaiba, siguro kung sino may hawak ni-highlight ng highlighter pero hindi ibig sabihin peke. Sinasabi nila may entries doon sa amin na sa tingin nila wala sa kanila, tingnan natin kung magkakaiba ba, nabago ba itong signature card dahil sa mga entries. Ano yung mga entries na iyon? Ibig nating mapatunayan ang sinasabi ng testigo na ito ay peke dahil hindi naman natin kailangan tanggapin kaagad ang kanilang opinion na ito ay peke. So, iyan po ang aming pakay. Iyon po ang aming hiningi.
Karen: What makes a document fraudulent, fake. Ano ba ang legal definition ng fake?
Drilon: Kung may alteration na kaiba, naiba ang meaning ng dokumento.
Karen: Article 171-172 ito?
Drilon: Yes, kung may alteration by intercalation, may isiningit ka.
Karen: Something important na isiningit.
Drilon: Yes, for example sa isang dokumento, "Karen is beautiful," sisingitan mo ng "Karen is not beautiful," yung not po ay intercalation na which will result in falsification. Yun basically ang rule.
Karen: So far, it seems that Senate is not ruling whether this document is falsified even if PSBank insisted it's spurious, fake, altered. The Senate is not buying it...
Drilon: Yeah, until wee se the original; iyan naman ang sinasabi nga na the best evidence is the document eh di tingnan natin. Tingnan natin yung original kasi ang sinasabi nila itong xerox copy ay peke so tingnan natin sa original kung ano ba ang peke. Ang pagkakaiba ba ay substantial, nabago ba ang dokumento. Kung ang sinasabi, sa naririnig ko kahapon, sa dokumentong ito may highlighting sa amin wala, hindi iyan peke.
Karen: Isn't it the prosecution's job to reverse PSBank's document to prove that this document is not fake? You know what I mean?
Drilon: Yes, it has gone beyond that. In fact, the SP himself who said, well: "you Mr. PS Bank (Mr. Garcia), you alleged that ito'y peke at isinumite sa amin sa husgado"
Karen: And we issued a subpoena.
Drilon: Yes, we issued a subpoena. Kaya sabi ni SPJPE pinanindigan ko na nag-issue ako ng subpoena, may karapatan ang aming presiding officer na tingnan kung ano talaga ang nanyari dito. Wala ng pakialam ang defense o prosecution dahil sa nag-issue siya ng subpoena on the basis of this.
Karen: Nakakahiya naman kung nag-issue ng subpoena on a fake document.
Drilon: Kaya iyan, may karapatan ang husgado na tingnan kung iyan ay fake.
Karen: Now, this is on Article 2, tell me if this enough you feel for senator-judges to already make a determination, I want be balanced and fair; or do you think dollar accounts are important?
Drilon: Well, I will be going to the merits. But I would refrain... Just one thing that I point out, this Annex A that was requested for subpoena has not been submitted as evidence. What have been submitted as evidence are the account numbers at yung laman ng account. Kaya doon nakita ang lamang ng isang account na ang ending balance as of December 2010 ay mahigit sa P12 million. Mayroong isang account na lumagpas sa P8 million.
Karen: And there's another one.
Drilon: There's another one. Also the two other accounts, yung starting balance nila kung magkano yung dineposito ay mga P5 million, o P2 o P3 million. Uulitin ko, itong signature cards ay hindi sinumite as evidence. Ito ang naging source ng subpoena noong nga accounts mismo. Sa katunayan, sinabi ni Garcia na hindi siya pwedeng magtestigo. Sinabi mo na "these are existing", that's enough. So, Karen I would refrain from commenting on the dollar accounts.
Karen: But you made a stand during voting that senate should not follow the TRO of the SC?
Drilon: We believe that we should not be bound by the SC.
Karen: That is a tight vote, 13010. 10 is a lot.
Drilon: We believe that the impeachment court is an independent court and cannot be bound by the rulings of the SC. Ito po ang ating paliwanag na itong impeachment is part of the check and balance among the three branches. Kung nag-aabuso po ang isang impeachable officer, walang magawa ang taumbayan kung may betrayal of public trust at high crime committed, wala ng remedy ang taumbayan kundi ang dumulog sa House of Representatives at humiling na i-impeach ang isang impeachable officer. Ito ay sa aking paningin at sa napag-aralan natin, hindi pwedeng pigilin ng SC dahil kung pipigilin nila sila na ang magiging IC hindi na kami dahil sa ito ay ibinigay sa amin ng Saligangbatas. Nakalagay sa Saligangbatas "the Senate shall try and decide, the sole power to try and decide.' Ibig sabihin wala ng pwedeng makialam. Iyon ang paninindigan natin, pero ako ay naninindigan na kahit kami ay natalo sa botohan na walang jurisdiction ang SC sa amin bilang IC.
Karen: What would be the protection of respondent if the IC is abusive so to speak?
Drilon: In the same manner, Karen, that the when SC commits a supreme error, you have no more remedy.
Karen: Totoo iyan.
Drilon: Tingnan mo si (Lauro) Visconde, hindi siya naniniwala but he has to accept ganoong ang desisyon ng SC. Iyon talaga ang sistema natin. Kami, kung magkamali kami sa IC, ang taumbayan ang magsasabi "umalis kayo diyan, will vote you out in the next election." That is the remedy. Hindi yung sasabihin ng SC "hoy itigil ninyo yang impeachment." That can't be done that way. Otherwise, the Constitution should have lodged to the SC the power to try and decide impeachment cases.
Karen: So, clearly you have different views from SPJPE, but you don't engage in debates?
Drilon: We debate in caucus because that is the way...otherwise, baka hindi na kami makapag-discuss kung magdebate araw-araw. If you recall on time, SPJPE issued an opinion on the matter of the admissibility of the evidence, etcetera, I just said: "I'm standing up, I just don't agree, but I don't want to debate." Because otherwise if we debate wala ng katapusan.
Karen: Is it important for you to determine the source of this doc to make a judgment in the end because Senator Estrada said for him it is? For you, what does the law say that you believe when it comes to this illegally-obtained document?
Drilon: Firstly, itong Annex A is not part of the evidence. The question is the accounts which are mentioned here, are they excluded? No. There is no rule on exclusion in the secrecy of bank deposit law. In other words, it does not say that if it comes from alleged fake documents that you exclude a document that is authentic. Remember the accounts are not fake.
Karen: Yeah, they were acknowledged by PSBank president himself.
Drilon: Yes, himself, the dollar accounts and peso accounts are presented in detailed. These are not fake documents, these are valid documents.
Karen: Is the source important?
Drilon: For me, in this particular case, it is not. The law does not exclude them, that is my view.
Karen: What about RA 1045, who is liable? Congressman Umali, or the bank employee?
Drilon: The bank employee who released it is the one liable because under the law who is punished, what is punished is the willful disclosure of bank documents which would be punishable.
Karen: Is the prosecution under the IC required to declare a source because journalists would never declare a source?
Drilon: If Umali stands by what he said, I don't know what we'll do.
Karen: On a light moment, clearly among the senators, it is only you whom Serafin Cuevas has the most heated argument with.
Drilon: Right now they filed a petition asking the five of us to be disqualified. And not only disqualified, they're saying because the five are there stop the trial.
Karen: It is you, Cayetano, Pangilinan, Guingona at Osmena.
Drilon: First, this clearly has no basis. They're saying that we have the capacity to be impartial and look at the evidence. Number two, even in the strictest judicial process, judges ask questions and that the answer would favor one or the other is immaterial. Ang hinahanap natin dito sa ating pagtatanong ay upang maliwanagan at ang katotohanan. Even under the rules of court and under the decision of this IC, hindi kasalanan na magtanong ang huwes. Hindi mali ang magtanong.
Karen: Even inadvertently?
Drilon: Even inadvertently. Ang hinihingi ng husgado yung monthly statements doon sa BPI, ang humingi nito hindi kami si Cuevas. Sa record, siya po ang humingi na dalhin mo yung monthly record ng 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 at 2010.
Karen: Didn't he take it back?
Drilon: Siguro, na-realized niya mali. Parang toothpaste iyan hindi po pwede ibalik. Nag-order ang husgado. That's an order in open court and there was no objection on the part of Cuevas until he further realized na mali siya. But under the law, the stakes of council is binding on his client.
Karen: It is not the only time, actually, when BIR Commissioner took the stan it was also the defense council who asked Kim about the SALN.
Drilon: That's correct. When they asked Kim about the SALN, which, by the way, the prosecution did not ask for, gave an opportunity to Kim to expound.
Karen: She's unstoppable. She went on and one.
Drilon: The first rule on cross examination is don't cross examine a very bright witness.
Karen: Is that right?
Drilon: Yes, especially that she was testifying on the basis of the record.
Karen: Questions via Twitter. Do you deny the allegations that your actions side with the prosecution?
Drilon: I deny that. As I early explained, the judge is allowed to ask that the answer, in favor of the prosecution, is something that we cannot control. For example, the SALN. My question was negative, "Since you have no authorization from the SC, you did not bring it with you?" She said "I brought it with me." Lahat kami nagulat. Now, is that just because she brought the SALN which was required by the Court does not favor the prosecution. That is why I just a question in a negative manner.
Karen: Good litigator talaga. Iyan ang mga secret. Don't get me wrong. There is a running joke that the prosecution can't seem to get the answer.
Drilon: I make them appear incompetent then.
Karen: Yeah. How do you define clarificatory questions? Do you believe you way of asking questions are not akin to cross examination? Drilon: If you watch it on a daily basis (unclear. We have to remind the witness that they're under oath, they're covered by subpoena to bring documents. Kung hindi natin gagawin ito, hindi rerespetuhin ang IC, eh di hindi natin mailalabas ang katotohanan. The technicalities are there to let the truth come out, not to block the truth. That is the principle of number of cases decided by the SC. That is even substance of CJ Corona's decision in the case of RP vs. Sandiganbayan, sinabi niya iyan. All of us lawyers are conscious of the precedents cited by the SC. We can debate on it, but these are pronouncements of the SC, right or wrong.
Karen: What's your take on Atty. Cuevas who said that you do not follow the bill of rights?
Drilon: Where is the bill of rights there? Corona is represented by high-caliber lawyers. The senate president is very conscious about bill of rights.
Karen: Can people expect that members of the LP to be fair? You won't vote because of party line?
Drilon: Under our rules of the impeachment, all that is required of us is political neutrality. We are not, the standard is not the same as the standard in a judicial court. Ibig sabihin, we should not allow to color our judgment, that's the rule imposed. Number 2, when the issue of subpoena before was in the court, I voted not to allow the subpoena with the family. It was the block, I think, if I recalled it correctly, it was Sen. Villar's block. In the case of Sen. Cayetano who said we can subpoena the wife and the children because that is different from violating the confidentiality of conversation. I agree with him. If we subpoena Mrs. Corona, we subpoena the children. Ask them question, if their answer will violate the marital privilege, then that is the time to invoke the right not to answer it.
Karen: But you voted against?
Drilon: Yes. In fact, the son-in-law, which was also asked to be subpoenad. I also voted not to subpoena him because the son-in-law, because Sen. Cayetano is correct, that the son-in-law is not. He could be required to answer the question.
Karen: But you voted against it?
Drilon: Yes. That shows that we vote in accordance with what we see to be fair and we vote according to our conscience. It is not a party vote. If it is a party vote, we would vote in favor of Corona.
Drilon: Truth-seeking court. This is a class by itself (unclear). Hindi kasama sa judicial branch of our government. We are here to seek out the truth, nothing more, nothing less.
Karen: How can you change so quickly you publicly professed your love to ex-PGMA.., only to call for her resignation one week later?
Drilon: Karen, sa buhay natin nagkakamali rin tayo. Inaamin ko ay mali, ngunit ako ay nanidigan sa tamang prinsipyo noong panahong iyon.
Karen: Masyado raw kayong gigil?
Drilon: Hindi naman. Masyado akong gigil para ilabas ang katotohananan. Like many people, ako ay nakaupo roon at frustrated na malaman ang katotohanan puro sila objection, ngunit iyan po ay kailangan para walang masabi na niyurakan natin ang kanilang karapatan.
Karen: Is it your job is to only determine if there's sufficient proof...?
Drilon: Hindi po. Kahit sa husgado ay may tungkulin ang isang huwes na ilabas nag katotohanan.
Karen: How did you acquire your alleged house in Forbes?
Drilon: I have never owned a house in Forbes. I have never lived in Forbes. I live in my house in Greenhills for the last 15 years, not a single square foot of lot I own and did I won in Forbes. That's part of black propaganda. I expect more will come out.
Karen: (unclear) Re: Ocampo Case.
Drilon: Under the secrecy of bank deposits law, the IC is an exemption to bank secrecy. Originally, RA 1405 was applicable to both peso and dollar accounts. Subsequently, the foreign deposit accounts was enacted which allowed maintenance of foreign deposit within our banking system, and subsequent to that, Marcos wrote a decree which said that to attract businessmen to deposit dollar in the Philippines, there must be strict confidentiality. That is to make us the Switzerland. But there were exceptions by the SC on that, you cannot interpret that law by its absurdity. What do I mean? Kasi kung ang lahat ng magnanakaw sa gobyerno, ilagay lahat ng account sa dolyar, hindi mo na makikita.
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