Press Release
November 10, 2015

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

Q: Sir, may majority signature na yun. Mapapatayo ulit po ba kayo mamaya sir? May majority signature na siya sir nakuha. Sir, pumirma kayo dun sa resolution niya about EDCA?


Q: May resolution siya eh, na unconstitutional siya dahil hindi dumaan sa pag-ratify ng Senate?

SJPE: No. I'll probably argue otherwise.

Q: Hindi sir kailangan ng Senate approval yun?

SJPE: My God, we are facing a problem that's beyond the capability of the country to handle militarily, even politically. Now, the question, why should we keep quibbling about our relationship with other countries? As far as security's concerned, it's the primary function of government and the entire people of a nation to maintain their security, Constitution or no Constitution. I'm not saying that we should violate the Constitution but we must be very careful in saying anything that will not impart to others who are hearing us that we are shackled by all kinds of limitations. We must remember that we are dealing with 100 million lives of Filipinos here.

Q: Sir, you think that deal will help us address our territorial dispute with China? Yung EDCA?

SJPE: Of course. An alliance with anybody with capability, naval capability like the United States we should welcome as a boon to our security. What do we have? Our laway? Let the talkative ones hold the guns to fight the people who will be coming here to invade us if we cannot settle these problems in a peaceful manner. We are not living in this world by ourselves. This planet is full of problems.

Q: Sir, ano ba ang weight kahit i-adopt ng Senate yung resolution?

SJPE: Hindi ko alam. Hindi ko pa nakikita yung resolution ng Senado, but I voted in favor of the Visiting Forces Agreement although I voted against the extension of military bases because I firmly believed then as I firmly believe now that we are unprepared to protect ourselves. You want this country to be occupied by foreign troops again? I ask you, I ask anybody, I ask my colleagues in government, I ask every Filipino if they know what it is to be in a war situation. You have not experienced what we went through, our generation went through in 1941. Don't be joking about this.

Q: Sir, yun bang EDCA, is it an executive agreement or treaty? SJPE: I don't know. We do not quibble about technicalities when it concerns the survival of the country.

Q: So sir, io-oppose niyo yung resolution ni Senator...

 SJPE: I will vote against it. Period. I'm not serving myself, I'm serving the country. I was elected by the people to serve them, not to serve anyone else.

Q: Pero sir, may mga nag-file din sa Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the EDCA.

SJPE: I do not want to violate the Constitution but if there's a way to see to it that our alliances are maintained, after all those alliances are worked out in accordance with the provisions of the international law and we adhere supposedly to the general principles of the international law. One of those is the sanctity of agreements among nations, especially in the field of security.

Q: Sir, yung sa Mamasapano ba, may implication ba sa Section 32 yung ibalik sa committee level?

SJPE: Depende sa kanila kung anong gusto nila. Pwede naman sa committee level, pwede dito na ngayon. Kung ayaw nila sa committee level, dedebatehin namin, kung masasagot nila yung tatanungin ko. Nasa kanila yun, sa mayorya. That's why I made those dichotomous motions. Either way, it's up to them, I'm prepared. If they want to go the committee, I gave them the option so that they'll have enough time to discuss a 3-trillion budget. If they don't, then we will discuss this here. I hope they can answer the questions that I am going to ask, anyone of them.

Q: So, sir, kung sa plenary, i-sisingit nalang siya sa budget deliberations?

SJPE: Makinig nalang kayo pag nagtanong ako ng question. You want to hear... I'm not saying that I know all the answers but, mind you, I can challenge anybody when concerns the security of this country, I handled it for 17 years. Not even the generals can match what I know about this.

Q: Are you going to present new information during the...

SJPE: Not information, I will discuss with them. I asked them what is your preparation to modernize this country's military? None of them could answer it. All of them who attended that budget hearing, I will ask them again from top to bottom, do they know what they're talking about? Modernization? What level of threat are they going to address and what equipment they are talking about?

It is easy to talk about terms, you know. Because you are lulling the people into... you're supposing that they're ignorant, but it's your duty as a leader to see to it that they are protected.

Q: Sir, mag-BBL ka ulit ngayon? Magre-resume ka ng interppellation?

SJPE: I am ready on all issues here, that's why they sent me to Camp Crame to study for 13 months.

Q: Sir, do you think dapat daw mag-resign o palitan na si DOTC Sec. Abaya considering na...

SJPE: If he's incompetent, fire him without even asking to resign. Fire him, if he's incompetent.

Q: But, only the president can do that.

SJPE: He is not being paid by anybody, he's being paid by the people. If he cannot deliver, he should be fired. Any member of the cabinet for that matter. That's the norm.

Q: But, what if the appointing officer sir eh...

SJPE: Then, he is walang-hiya.

Q: But the appointing is defending them sir. Well, apparently sir, the president...

SJPE: During the time of Marcos when a thing like that happened, we resigned.

Q: Out of delicadeza sir?

SJPE: Not delicadeza, it is your duty. The people are the one paying your salary. If you cannot deliver the service that you should give to the people, honor, dignity, that's why you are called honorable. Suggest that you should scram, okay?

Q: Sir, magagawa kaya ni president Aquino na...

SJPE: Ewan ko, I'm not the president.

Q: Some are saying na 7months to go nalang so, let them finish their ano...

SJPE: That's no excuse, even for 1 month or 1 day. If you think that your cabinet member is stupid or incompetent or inutil, fire him for the sake of the country

Q: So, the pressure should now be on the president?

SJPE: I don't know. Those are conclusions, you know, and suppositions.

Q: Sir, kayo po, you think he is incompetent, si Sec. Abaya?

SJPE: I don't know. I cannot assess them. You asked me a question, I am talking from experience.

Q: Sir, kahit based lang dun sa mga complaints?

SJPE: Let us not anymore discuss. I think all of us, that's why I said a while ago, the country is quiet but bitter, okay?

Q: Sir, nag-file din kayo ng resolution tungkol dun sa "tanim bala" sa airport, so are you going to attend the hearing this coming Thursday?

SJPE: The hearing, yes.

Q: Sir, yung APEC summit maitutulong ba yun sa atin?

SJPE: I don't know. I don't know what is their output in three days.

Q: Sir, sa 2016 budget may mga kwe-kwestiyunin ka doon?

SJPE: Titingnan ko pa. Hindi ko pa nakikita yung budget eh. Nothing is easy this time.

Q: Why sir?

SJPE: That is my position. It is not easy for me. It is not easy for others. I am going to do my job. That is why I am being paid by the people.

Q: Pinupush nila yung Salary Standardization Law pero yung tax reform parang malabnaw.

SJPE: Why now, why not last year? Or yesterday.

Q: Late na sir?

SJPE: I am posing a question. Why now?

Q: Dahil sa elections?

SJPE: I am just asking questions. That is my function is to be a little bit socratic.

Q: So the timing is...

SJPE: That's your conclusion ha.

Q: Bakit sir? Matagal na ba yung Salary Standardisation? Tapos ngayon nila mamadalian nilang i-approve?

SJPE: Why is the peso becoming a "Mickey Mouse"? That is why we are cushioning the impact. I don't think so naman. What is the reason? Because they have no salaries? When did they realize they have no salaries?

Q: Para maka-adjust sila sa inflation, sa pagtaas ng bilihin.

SJPE: Akala ko ba ang lalaki ng bonus nila? Di ba?

Q: Under the proposed 2016 budget, andun na daw yung salary increase ng mga government employees.

SJPE: Why not last year? Why not the year before?

Q: You think it has something to do with the election?

SJPE: I am just asking questions. You are asking me to make a conclusion? No.

Q: Pero wala kayong ganong conclusion?

SJPE: I have to make my own opinion but it will just be an opinion. I will not deal with that but I have the right to ask a question. Bakit hindi ngayon? Bakit hindi kahapon?

Q: Kami na lang gaga ng conclusion, sir? (Laughter)

SJPE: Nasa sa inyo yun. Sinabi mo iyan. Kung ano yung susulat mo, hindi ako responsible doon.

Q: Kwinkwestiyon bakit ngayon, ang timing.

SJPE: It's good. Although late, it's better than never, okay. But I question the motivation. Why now? Not yesterday. All of a sudden, you realize the people are hard up? Is that the level of sensitivity, social sensitivity?

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