February 22, 2012
Transcript of interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile
On the impeachment trial of CJ Corona
Q The prosecution is complaining na naging strict ang Impeachment Court?
SP Hindi naman. Bakit ako istrikto eh pinayagan ko nga yun na magkakaroon sila ng panahon na tumingin nung mga monthly bank statements, di ba? May objection dun, inistress ko na lang yung rule para sa ganoon ay maipasok nila yun kung gusto nila, pero dito naman, maliwanag na yung predicate, sabi nila, that he lacks integrity, independence, probity and competence because... kung sinabi nila because he was impartial, that he was receiving favors from somebody, it's okay, but for them to be bringing in an extraneous predicate to their charge at this stage is unfair. Unfair to the respondent. He was not able to answer that in his answer. How can he answer something that did not exist in the pleading? Elementary yun. Dapat bumalik sila sa eskwela.
Q Sana daw you can extend parliamentary courtesy?
SP What do they want? We are in a trial. They are here as trial lawyers. I do not know what they are talking about, parliamentary courtesy? Kung debate namin nga sa legislative matters, sometimes it becomes heated but here, we are trying a person to deprive him of his honor and dignity for a lifetime, demonize him and totally destroy his life. Are they taking this very lightly and cavalierly?
Q Sa naging ruling ninyo, wala namang nag-react negatively among the Senator-Judges?
SP I do not know of any but they could have disowned me if they wanted to. They could have objected and they could have divided the House, but I think they realized too that the fairness demanded that I have to issue that ruling. You know, I will tell you that I am a little disappointed. I expected that as my fellow lawyers in the profession, when they come to court, when they go to any court, they are prepared. I have been in many trials. I have also been chastised by court and disciplined in not exercising my right to cross-examine a witness, but I have my own strategy. I handled a case once, involving a civil case. My opponent was the late Jose W. Diokno who was a very capable and respected trial lawyer. I was in my younger days then. The judge, who was presiding over the case, was Judge Arsenio Solidum. If you read the history of Judge Solidum he was a field judge. He was very strict and acidic in his remarks. Diokno presented six witnesses against my client. I did not cross-examine, and the judge was telling me, you could be disbarred for not doing your work, but I had my own strategy, I was prepared. So, when I cross-examined the witness, after my cross-examination, I stopped. The whole decision was based on that cross-examination and it became a model for teaching cross-examination in FEU. I am not saying this to lift my boot straps; I am just telling my experiences in the courtroom. My life in court.
Q Hindi ninyo po pinayagan kahapon yung PAL executive, pero sa manifestation ng prosecution, parang na-achieve din nila yung purpose nila?
SP Manifestation is not evidence. Maski ano pa ang idadakdak mo doon na istorya. You are not under oath, you are not a witness. You are not sworn in; you are not subjected to cross-examination. What is that? That's nothing.
Q Kahapon paulit-ulit ninyo pong sinabi na you have warned the prosecution many times? Does that mean medyo sumobra na sila kahapon?
SP Hindi ba sinabi ko, pag-aralan ninyo mabuti yung Articles of Impeachment ninyo because that is a fatal flaw if you do not watch out? You are treading into very dangerous ground. They should reread the decision of former Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales. What did she say in writing Articles of Impeachment? You have to charge one charge in one article. Yung sinasabing merong bribe, influence, that is a bribe. They are asserting bribery. That is written in the Constitution as graft, they should have asserted that.
Q Dahil sa inyong naging ruling, according to Cong. Tupas, ite-terminate na nila yung Article 3 and then start na ng Article 7, so mapapabilis na po ba?
SP Bahala sila. I will not teach them how to handle their case, but I am telling them to really study their pleading. I did not prepare the pleading for them. They should know it by heart. I just looked at their pleading, I am not inventing at all. I read it to them.
On the Del Castillo impeachment
SP I will not make any statement about that because again, they have to study that case very carefully. They have to study the grounds for impeachment.
Q Pero hindi pwedeng pagsabayin yung trial?
SP Pwede yun. I can tackle it. If they want, we can handle that in one day, and the other case in another day.
Q Pwede po magsabay?
Q Hindi po kayo mahihirapan?
SP Ako? Well, we will tackle the legislative work in the morning, and then handle the impeachment cases in the afternoon.
Q Hindi ba masyadong pagod yun para sa inyo?
SP Hindi ka tatanggap ng trabahong ganito kung tamad ka.
Q Pwede rin po bang hindian ng Senado kung sakaling iakyat dito?
SP Hindi pwede. Basta sinabi sa Constitution, pag Tinanggap mo ang Articles dito sa Senado, a trail shall forthwith proceed. Ano ang ibig sabihin ng forthwith? Proceed.
Q Pero kayo po ang mag dedecide when to start?
SP No. Nasa regular rules namin yun. Hindi ako nag-dedecide. Nasa rules namin yun. Pagka yan ay ginawa namin, a summons will be made.
Q Paano ang gagawin ninyo, hahatiin yung araw?
SP Bahala na. We will budget our time. Kung kayo, yung SALN ngayon na isusubmit ng lahat ng empleyado ng gobyerno, pati grocery, pati toilet paper ilalagay namin. Paano yun? Eh di ganun din ang gagawin namin.
Q Kaya pa ng budget ng Senado?
SP Kung hindi kakayanan? Dapat kakayanin. Magtipid. On the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN)
Q Nabanggit ninyo na lahat nga idedetalye ninyo sa SALN, okay ba sa inyo yun?
SP Sigurado maraming mag-aangal doon. Akalain mo, kanin mo, kung kakain ka ng bihon, kakain ka ng dilis, kukuha ka ng resibo? Pag uminom ka ng tubig, kasama yun. Sumosobra tayo, we are going into extremes.
Q Sir, pwede po bang i-question 'yon? Yong format na 'yon?
Q Pero sir, kayo po magpa-file na po kayo sir di ba?
SP Ako, palaging naka-detalye naman 'yung akin, pero 'yung grocery hindi ko nilalagay yan.
Q Pati toiletries sir?
SP Ang kinakain ko lang naman ay saluyot.
Q Sir, sa mga dyaryo ngayon may mga full-page ad tungkol sa wealth ni Corona, is it healthy at this point sir, na may mga lumalabas na ganun, dinadala na sa publiko 'yung parang trial?
SP Maski na ano ang palabasin nila sa periodiko, in the end, ang mag dedecide 'yung mga Senador. Either way, you cannot. Kung kami, if we buckle down because of public opinion, then we might just as well close the Senate. We are bound under our oath to follow the law.
Q So, hindi po ba 'yon makaka-influence sa Senator-Judges?
SP Ewan ko. Sa akin, wala akong ibang batayan kundi batas eh.
Q Sir, tingin ninyo po ba inaabuso na ng prosecution 'yung liberal implementation of rules?
SP No, it's not that but I have to tell them what the rules are. Pinababayaan ko 'yung pwedeng gawin, ibibigay sa kanila. I'll give it to them. In fact, sometimes I was already helping them so that they can put across their points. Ano ba 'yung tinanong ko tungkol doon sa SALN na sinasabi na fake, napaliwanag na there was an alteration. Nobody can say that the alteration was done by the members of Congress. Somewhere else. Siguro, at a certain point, kung gusto nila na, I am not going that far. If anybody would want to call the people who handled the audit sa Bangko Sentral, and the AMLAC, then we will find out where the alteration came from.
Q Sir, yung AMLAC po, dine-deny po nila na inaccess po nila.
SP Natural they will deny. I will not expect them to say yes, would you expect them to say yes? Would you expect anyone of those people to say yes? That's why you have the technique of cross examination, to find out who is lying and who is telling the truth.
Q Mas may weight po 'yong statement ni Pascual Garcia III, kasi under oath po siya, 'nung sinabi niya na AMLAC accessed their bank accounts?
SP Syempre, sinabi na nila ang procedure, how they handle their documents. That's why I went into the details of how the bank handled its documents. Kung nakikita ninyo, I spent more than an hour to just scrutinize the procedure, until I went outside of the bank and the people that handle it there. I do not know how they handle it. They were the investigators and this is a lesson for people because they are bound under the law by the restrictions of the laws to handle matters according to law and not according to their own agenda or designs or interest.
Q Sir, kailangan pa po ba ipatawag ang AMLAC or BSP to test the credibility of Mr. Garcia's statements?
SP Bahala na 'yung mga abogado ng magkabila. I am a judge, I am just clarifying things because I was the one who issued the subpoena, and I am not withdrawing my responsibility in issuing the subpoena, I stand by it and that's why, we are going to take up this issue because we are going to comment, give our comments to the Supreme Court.
Q Sir, 'yung prosecution parang nagrereklamo or naooffend na sa madalas na panglelecture daw sa kanila. So, covered ba 'yun? Kasi inihihirit nila 'yung parliamentary courtesy, covered ba 'yun?
SP If they feel offended then they say so. I will tell them do you respect the jurisdiction of this court? We're not acting as a Senate at the moment, we are acting as an impeachment court and they are prosecutors of the House of Representatives. They do not respect the jurisdiction of this Impeachment Court? What then?
Q Para wag sila masermonan?
SP Then they can ask for my exclusion. I'd gladly give it to them. I'll gladly give it to somebody that will handle it. They do not want to appear before me, they can tell the Senate to withdraw me as presiding officer. I don't want to be controlled by them. I am not controlling them. I don't want them to control the way I preside, I listen to them there.
Q Hindi issue dito sir 'yun pong parliamentary courtesy?
SP What parliamentary courtesy are they talking about? Define. They are here as lawyers, they are not here as non-lawyers, most of them, all of them are lawyers. They know the rules of the trade, of the profession. They are not here as barberos, barbers. They are lawyers and I respect them as lawyers but they must show me as their presiding officer that they know what they are doing. They better not tax my patience because I have no time.
Q Nauubos na ba pasensya ninyo sa kanila?
SP No, I've been trying to be patient but we have to call the attention of these people so that they want to perorate, they want to make manifestation, why do they not put the witness to the witness stand and tell a story through that witness?
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Wednesday, March 5