Press Release
August 16, 2011

Transcript of Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On P-Noy's priority bills

SP: 'Yung Anti-Terrorism Law, gusto niyang baguhin 'yung P500,000.00 per day na penalty. I will support and 'yung demanding and inflicting fear, gusto nila na demanding or inflicting fear. Okay 'yun. That's an improvement. Pangatlo, 'yung you have to notify the person being surveilled before you surveil him. I cannot remember that it was there already but I remember now that it was opposed by somebody.

Q: 'Yung penalty, sir?

SP: 'Yun ang babaguhin.

Q: To lower?

SP: I don't know. I'm open. Personally, I'll support.

Q: Bakit hindi nabanggit ang peace talks when he is leaving August 22?

SP: Hindi pinag-usapan 'yung peace talks. Ngayon, sa Freedom of Information, ang understanding ko is Malacañang is in favor of passing it but they are studying the whole thing because I think they have to modify the present version. Tama nga naman. Mayroon silang concerns. National secrets, halimbawa, national security problems. You cannot publicize that where the road will pass through here. So, if you have Freedom of Information, we want to know where this highway will pass. Magkakagulo naman diyan. They have a reason.

Q: Cha-Cha? Charter Change?

SP: Binanggit ni Speaker pero hindi namin pinag-usapan. We will consider it some other time siguro.

Q: Sir, mayroon na kayo na firm-up sa committees ni Senator Pimentel?

SP: Wala pa. Mamaya sa caucus.

Q: Is this the second time that P-Noy convened the LEDAC? Twice in two years?

SP: I don't know. I cannot recall.

On the RH Bill

SP: The RH Bill will be exposed to a full and open debate in the Senate. We do not know how soon we can really terminate it. We will give every proposal a fair hearing. This is our position. But as far as voting, for or against, it's a matter of conscience.

Q: Between Charter Change and RH, which is heavier?

SP: We cannot say which is heavier. Both are very important. You know, the Charter Change has a different level of concern.

Q: How so?

SP: It involves no less than the amendment of the Constitution. That's how important it is. We are dealing with values that are embedded in the Constitution.

Q: That will affect everything.

SP: No. We are not going to open up everything. We are going to limit it to economic provisions and it maybe even some portions of the economic provision, not all. So, it's a limited effort to amend the Constitution for a purpose and the purpose is to enhance the investment in the country without unnecessarily injuring the interest of the Filipino people. We will not injure the interest of the Filipino people, we will enhance it. That's the way it is but it requires an amendment of the Constitution.

Q: But RH will also enhance...

SP: How will it enhance the investment in the country? You are going to constrict the number of consumers, soldiers, potential sources of leadership. When you say enhance, it has a different semantical connotation.

SP: I am not going to talk to anybody among my colleagues. Each one of us will vote for or against based on conscience. Based on your notion of what life is, whether you are for life, or against life, or whether you are for constricting your population in order to reduce the number of people that will divide the pie or you will expand the pie, in order that your present growth of population will benefit out of it. Those are choices.

On Charter Change

Q: When Speaker Belmonte brought up Cha-Cha, how did he dismiss it?

SP: No, they asked us what other priority bills we had in mind. Ako, ang aking sinuggest, yung Coconut Levy Fund should be liquidated, converted into cash, which in my estimate would be around P100 billion. At least a P100 billion, and convert it into cash and place a well selected group of people to handle it with very high degree of responsibility, and then invest it in government treasury papers. The income, to be used for the development of the coconut industry where that fund came from because we can no longer determine who are the specific owners. Galing sa magni-niyog yung pera na yun, dapat lamang na gamitin sa industriya ng niyog to modernize it. Yun ang sinabi ko, so we will probably tackle it again.

Q: Nasaan na itong fund na ito po?

SP: Naka-invest sa San Miguel shares, sa mga coconut oil mills, sa United Coconut Planters Bank.

Q: Sino po ang nag-aadminister ng fund?

SP: PCGG. Nawawaldas na. Di ba nung nakaraan, pinalugi nila yung mga korporasyon na hinawakan nila?

Q: Ano po ang mangyayari sa mga government agencies na attached sa Coconut Levy?

SP: Iba 'yun, government yun. We are talking of the investments.

Q: Hindi po sila maaabolish?

SP: Hindi. The more so, yung Philcoa will be an instrument to develop the coconut industry. Yun lang ang sinuggest ko.

Q: Ayaw talaga ng Cha-cha?

SP: Hindi sa ayaw. That forum was not intended for Cha-cha. It was purely a legislative-executive meeting to consider the pending bills.

News Latest News Feed