Press Release
July 26, 2011

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the SONA

SP It is natural for a president to take that stance. I would support him, but it does not mean we are going to wage war against anybody. We will exhaust all diplomatic efforts to assert our right over the area. As he said, what is ours is ours. We can go to the UN, we can go to the World Court, we can go to the adjudication body of the UNCLOS, the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, and many other avenues.

On the proposal to investigate the 2004 and 2007 electoral fraud

SP Personally, I do not encourage that exercise anymore. What will be gained by us? We have enacted all the legislations needed to prevent the occurrence of cheating in our electoral process, we have automated our election. Now, if there is any evidence of any wrong doing in the past election, then charge everybody, whoever they are regardless of rank, regardless of stature. Regardless of social standing.

On the over-all assessment of the SONA

SP You know, you will never find any unanimity about a particular speech of a president. It is a very political material. Those who are against him will always find a source to criticize him. Those who are following him and are supporting him will always find a way to support him. In my case, I considered it a recitation of the problems that he encountered and the solution that he offered, and the direction of how he will handle the leadership of the country. At least, one thing I noticed is that there is a strong resolution on his part to stamp out venalities in government, in his reformist speech. I appreciated his candor. Imagine, he found out about P1 billion coffee in PAGCOR. That is no joking matter. If you quantify that, according to him, P10 billion over ten years, so P100 million per year divided by 365 days, my God, they would be spending about less than P300,000 for coffee alone per day in PAGCOR. Who were the drinkers of coffee there? What kind of coffee are they drinking? The most expensive coffee on earth, civet coffee? They must be importing civet coffee.

Q Will the Senate investigate it?

SP I don't relish investigating civet coffee. It sounds funny, but it is not really funny when you think about it.

On Carpio-Morales as new Ombudsman

SP I think it was a good choice. You can see the reaction of the people. One thing you can say about the lady, the former chief-justice of the Supreme Court, she was like Margaret Thatcher. She has something between her you-know-what. She has the stamina, the grit, the mind, the doggedness, the stubbornness, and the skill to make it work.

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