Press Release
February 23, 2011

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the issue of AFP corruption and the appointments

SP We did not take the issue of corruption in the AFP. That is being handled by the Blue Ribbon Committee. It has nothing to do with the senior officers that were confirmed. We have scrutinized their individual service records and backgrounds, and we have not seen anything that would arouse our doubts or suspicions.

On whether there should be forced evacuation of OFWs in Libya

SP Libya is a very big country. I do not know where our people are located. Tripoli is in the west, across Italy. Bengasi is almost close to Egypt. You know, when you travel that distance between Tripoli and Bengasi, it will probably take several hours of jet travel. So, I cannot answer the question whether there is a need to evacuate anybody. We have an embassy in Tripoli, and I assure you that the Libyan people are as civilized as we are. They have a long history. They have no history of that except now, they are using the residual power of the people to assert their freedom and probably to change their form of government. We pray for them. We hope for them, and also our compatriots who are there. I am sure that our people there will not be harmed because they have nothing to do with the situation in Libya.

Q May negative impact ba 'yun sa economy ng ating bansa?

SP Well, to the extent that it will affect and disrupt the jobs of thousands of our compatriots who are working in Libya. To that extent, it will have an effect on us, and of course, what's going on in the Middle East will trigger an escalation of the price of crude and that will affect us. As far as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates and even Iraq, Iran--in those places, we have many Filipinos, so any disruption of those economies will have an effect on us. That is a fact of life. In this planet, there is no stillness.

On renewable energy

Q Kailangan na po natin isulong 'yung renewable energy?

SP We are already working on renewable energy. What renewable energy can you tap? The sun? That is too expensive at the moment. The wind? That is also expensive at the moment. The ocean currents? That is still into the future. River currents? None has been used. Geothermal, we are one of the biggest users of geothermal steam in the world. Now, what else?

On the Commission on Appointments

SP Una, kay Gen. Villanueva, may mga members of the Commission who requested time to ask him questions, so we have to wait until next week. In the case of Ping de Jesus, there were issues raised, not regarding his integrity, honesty or capability and qualifications, but only with respect to matters pending in his office. That was threshed out so things went smoothly.

On Taiwan's insistence for an apology

SP You cannot fault the Taiwanese government for asking that. It is a matter of national interest to them. Although we deal with them as a body of people, we do not deal with them as a national entity in the realm of international diplomacy and international law because of our one-China policy. But given that, I think it is best that we bear with them and understand the problem that they are raising. Probably, I am not sure, I want to emphasize that, I am not sure of the facts, but to them, they feel that there were lapses in the administrative portion of our government with respect of the handling of the Taiwanese nationals who were involved in that deportation. That is their position, and I respect their decision. We are to look at their complaint and see if indeed, there is a basis for those complaints. Find out what we could do to repair them.

Q Including an apology?

SP Well, that is a matter to be decided by the highest leader of the country.

Q Pag nag-apologize, admission na po 'yun na nagkamali?

SP You know, in the game of nations, there are strict norms and nuances, so the head of state, the head of government, represents the collectivity of the Filipino people and he has to make a judgment and decision on that. I think the President of the Philippines has made a judgment.

Q Malacañang said that the apology of the ambassador did not represent the government, did that worsen the situation with Taiwan?

SP I don't know. I do not have control of the facts.

On Mrs. Erlinda Ligot

SP I issued a subpoena, a formal subpoena. I will not anticipate what the Senate will do if she will not appear, but I hope and pray that she will appear.

On what lesson Libya can learn from the Philippine People Power

SP They can learn to be a little bit more controllable in the use of weapons in order to preserve the lives of their people because once you use bullets, you unleash force, you will create a long healing divide in your society. Otherwise, if they will use bullets on the government side, the possibility of people arming themselves to defend and assert their rights is not farfetched.

On the coming EDSA revolution anniversary

SP The first thing we did on our side was to see to it that unnecessary bloodshed would be avoided. That is why, the first thing I did when I arrived in Camp Aguinaldo that afternoon, Saturday the 22nd of February, was to call for Gen. Pedro Balbaner. Why Gen. Pedro Balbaner? Because he was the head of the Military Police brigade, with a force of about three thousand, and whose headquarters was at the back of my office in Camp Aguinaldo. I told him that we were going to do what we did, and please do not attempt to arrest or even indicate any use of force against my men because they were ready to die. He agreed that he would stay neutral. When he agreed that he would stay neutral, I told him okay, deploy your men around the perimeter of Camp Aguinaldo to see to it that we will not break out of this camp, so that Malacañang will not be threatened, and that the forces of the Palace would not come near us to avoid any encounters so that we could discuss the problem civilly.

On Sen. Marcos saying that the Philippines would be at par with Singapore had his father not been ousted?

SP Everything was possible but, on the other hand, at that point, our situation was really precarious, both politically and economically. In fact, Roberto Ongping, he was operating an underground central bank known as the Binondo Central Bank precisely to stave off a collapse of the economy of the Philippines at that time.

On Pres. Aquino giving the decision to bury Pres. Marcos to Binay

SP Mabuti. It will now be on the turf of Vice President Jejomar Binay to decide whether the burial of Pres. Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani would be authorized, because the Libingan ng mga Bayani is within the jurisdiction of Makati City. The burial of people in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, if I remember correctly, it is the function of the Department of National Defense, and of course, the Office of the President, being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Q Wala pang naging issue na 'yung President decided on who will be buried at the Libingan?

SP Wala akong natatandaan na naging issue namin, sapagaka't noon, pag dumating ang papeles sa akin, walang maraming usapan d'yan. Pinapayagan ko 'yung beterano, lalung-lalo na 'yung mga napasama nung giyera sa mga Hapon, mga gerilyero na naging tanyag, 'yung mga naging presidente ng Pilipinas Kagaya ni Carlos P. Romulo. Palagay ko si Carlos P. Romulo, nalibing doon sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. Nandoon lahat sila.

On Sen. Sotto getting information from DOLE re the three OFWS being recruited by an international syndicate

SP Dapat 'yun ang aatupagin ng gobyerno natin. Hanapin yang mga drug syndicate na 'yan at tapusin lahat sila. Kagaya nung ginawa namin nung panahon namin. Alam mo, 'yang durugista na 'yan, walang border sa kanila. Marami silang pinapatay at sinisira na mga buhay sa ating lipunan. Limpak-limpak na salapi ang kanilang kinikita. Kaya nga sa Columbia, may giyera doon na hindi natin napagmamasadan, pero may giyera doon sa pagitan ng gobyerno at army ng durugista. 'Yung gumagawa ng cocaine, nagtatanim, nagbe-benta. Doon din sa Mexico, ganoon. Kaya sa Mexico, pinapatay nila 'yung mga durugista.

Q Sir, sabi ni Sen. Sotto, dapat dumistansiya daw ang gobyerno?

SP Alam mo, hindi mo matatanggal sa ating kultura na tayo ay makiramay sa kapwa. Ngayon, hindi natin mapipilit ang China na baguhin ang kanilang patakaran para sa atin. Problema natin 'yun dito sa ating bansa. Dito nanggaling ang problema, dapat dito gamutin, at 'yung mga nandoon na nakakulong ngayon, na nagpagamit, ay tutulungan natin sa makakaya nating mabibigay na tulong, Ngunit hindi natin mapipilit ang sambayanang China na susundin ang ating kagustuhan sapagka't may batas din sila. Pag nangyari sa atin 'yun, mga Intsik ang nandito, at ginawa nila 'yung ginawa ng ating kapwa Pilipino sa China, siguro naman na tayo rin, gusto nating ikulong sila. Sisigaw ang bayan, ikulong ninyo. Ganun din ang China sapagka't nasasaktan 'yung mga mamamayan ng China. Ngayon, nakakaawa 'yung mga Pilipino pero, on the other hand, sila ay nagpagamit. Alam nila kung ano 'yung pinapasukan nila, alam nila na masalimuot 'yun, pag mahuli sila, mayroon silang pananagutan. Gagawin ng gobyerno ang kaya niyang gawin pero walang garantiya na maging successful ang ginagawa ng gobyerno d'yan sapagka't hindi natin kontrolado ang hukuman ng China, ang pamahalaan ng China, at ang lipunan ng China.

News Latest News Feed