Press Release
February 14, 2011

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On Senator Enrile's 87th Birthday and Valentine's Day

SP I would like to greet all the female population of the country, a very very Happy Valentine's Day!

Q Sir, may birthday wish ka pa ba?

SP At my age, I think all I can say is all I have now are prayers, to pray everyday. That's it.

Q How old are you, sir?

SP I'm 87, still standing on my two feet. You know, I will tell you something, that CPR, a very brilliant Filipino who became a President of the UN and later on served the country well as foreign secretary says that, "Age does not really matter. What really matters is when the matter ages." Whatever that means, I do not know. But anyway, that's his definition of time.

Q Birthday wish niyo daw po?

SP I hope ang Pilipinas ay happy ka! Q Para sa sarili niyo, sir?

SP Siguro ang wish ko lang ay to be friendly to everyone and to make all the people that I can touch, happy.

On Senator Trillanes' allegations

Q Sir, you mentioned over the weekend that kailangang i-prove ni Senator Trillanes 'yung mga binitawan niyang salita na dinadawit ang previous administration.

SP To be fair to Senator Trillanes, he talked to me today. He said that what was reported was not exactly what he said. So, he called me to greet me and in the course of our conversation that is what he said. Of course, all of us are human beings. We make mistakes. I'm sad that the words, behavior, manner by which our proceedings went caused a very deep injury into the sensibility of Gen. Angelo Reyes which was probably not intended but the receiver is a different person and with different reaction. Now, the people who asked questions to him are also different human entities and their perceptions might have been different --- that they were doing their jobs and they were trying to ferret out what they considered "truth". It's very difficult to judge. Of course, individually, we have our own perceptions and I respect the perceptions of others but let us just leave it to history to judge who is wrong and who is right. In the meantime, the Senate will continue to perform its function and its duty to the people to search for that truth, whatever it is, in order to craft laws for the people, for their benefit.

Q Sir, tinanong niyo po ba si Senator Trillanes kung kaya niyang pangalanan kung sino 'yung sinasabi niyang powerful person behind General Garcia?

SP Hindi ko sinabi 'yon. Basta sinabi ko, lahat kami libre na magsalita. We do not muzzle our members in the Senate because that is precisely why we have a Senate. It's a bastion of liberty of the people. But while we do not muzzle anyone, we expect everyone to speak when they have concrete, strong and credible evidence to pin down the responsibility of anyone who committed any act that would be inimical to the interest of the country.

On the appointment of retired AFP chief as DND secretary

Q Sir, reaction lang po sa sinusulong ni Senator Jinggoy na pagbabawal ng agarang pag-appoint sa lahat ng retired AFP chief as DND secretary.

SP Well, papakinggan ko muna kung ano ang rason ni Jinggoy diyan sapagkat sino ba dapat ang hahawak ng kusina kung hindi 'yung kusinero. Hindi naman pwede na barbero.

Q Sir, kailangan daw three years muna bago ma-appoint.

SP I will have to hear him before I will say yes or no.

Q Sir, tama ba 'yung nagpadala ng envoy or missionary sa Taiwan para magpaliwanag sa nangyari?

SP Tama 'yon. That can be done sa backroom diplomacy. Pero 'yung making an act of state like deportation, when you deport a person, you must deport the person to a country of his citizenship. Well, as far as we are concerned, while we respect Taiwan as a social community, we do not consider Taiwan as a political entity in the realm of international relations because we have recognized only one China under the policy of One China. So, how can we now renege on that commitment and on that position which involves our national honor as a people so that we will be believed by the international community when we say something with our dealings with them if we now sent out these people to a social community that is not recognized by us as a political entity under international law. Hindi naman tayo pwede maging salawahan, di ba?

On the "pabaon system"

Q Sir, 'yung pabaon system, sabi ni Senator Guingona, inilalantad ng PNP na 'yung mga testigong tulad ni Rabusa pwede raw mapunta sa PNP.

SP Well, lahat 'yan pwedeng abutin kung may lalantad sapagkat ang pinag-uusapan natin dito ay corruption. Corruption ang issue dito. Ano ba tayo? Hindi ba natin naiintindihan ang ginagawa natin? Ang issue na pinag-uusapan ng buong bansa magmula noong eleksyon ay korupsyon. Ngayon, korupsyon saan? Sa pamahalaan.

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