Press Release
October 16, 2012

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On Sen. Recto's resignation as chair of the Ways and Means Committee

SP I do not know who is going to take over from him who can handle the Ways and Means Committee. I think my reading of him is that he is very serious in giving up the committee and we will have to start again, we will have to restudy the matter, taking into account the bills pending here. There is the Bill of Senator Santiago, the Bill of Senator Lacson, and effectively the Committee Report which carries a draft of a new Bill. The substitute Bill will have to be withdrawn. The new chairman will now conduct a hearing and submit a Bill. The only two Bills available na pag-pipilian niya will be the Bill of Senator Santiago which is quite close, I understand, almost identical to the Bill of the Palace that was submitted to the House, and second, the Bill of Senator Lacson. Which one will be adopted, we do not know. Since there is an evident desire on the part of the proponents of this measure to get the maximum revenue, then logically whoever will take over from Senator Recto will probably adopt the Bill of Senator Santiago. That will have to be debated on the floor, the merits and lack of merits if at all of the proposal from the DOF. They will have to justify that. Maybe, we might even have to bring back into the Chamber the proponents, the Secretary of Finance and the Secretary of Health, in a question hour.

Q Is it not possible that the Senate will pick up where Senator Recto left off?

SP That is precisely why he is resigning, because there is an opposition regarding that Committee Report. I do not know whether the new chairman will adopt the Recto report in which case, we add nothing to the situation.

Q It is very possible we will start from scratch?

SP Yes, in effect. That is my reading. I do not know what they will do.

Q What if the new chairman chooses to use Senator Recto's report?

SP It is unlikely precisely because it has become controversial. They do not like that version.

Q There has been a report on the multi-million dollar lobby fund for those pushing for the higher sin tax bill.

SP I do not know whether that is a lobby fund. It just runs in the millions and there are recipients. Most of the projects where the money where allotments where made, were all dealing with tobacco control.

Q Does this also undermine the integrity...?

SP I do not know, I will not make that conclusion, but it only shows that there is an effort by foreigners to influence the internal policies of the country.

Q Which committee will investigate Mr. mamba's allegation of lobby money?

SP I do not know yet, I am thinking that it might not even merit an investigation by the Senate.

Q Bakit po?

SP He cannot substantiate what he is saying because there is no truth to it.

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