Press Release
September 22, 2011

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Kapihan sa Senado Transcipt
Re: SC TRO on ARMM poll postponement

On the Aquino Legal Team vs Arroyo Legal Team

Having said that, let me just try to give you the circumstances of the criticism against the legal team.

Former resident Arroyo who has had a good nine years in office was able to harness the legal team, put them into positions of power all over government. The private sector was able to help a lot of fellow officers and was able to, in her last two years, set up her defense when she gets out of power.

It's not really that it's easy for the government to come up with a legal team that has nothing to do with the Arroyo administration especially when many law firms just look at it as business. Meaning kinuha sila ng mga Arroyo, walang personalan. So they have to rely on their own group of lawyers.

Having said that, many even inside the administration are saying that you can't blame all losses on the Supreme Court or on the prowess of the Arroyo legal team. For example, nung tayo ang natalo sa Blue Ribbon committee, of course we were saying na bakit pabor masyado sa gobyerno ang ruling ng Supreme Court.

But we didn't accuse them of being an Arroyo court and we looked at our own legal team and just said that we have to improve and adapt. Natalo ka sa isang kaso, so what can we do to continue the investigation and to achieve the objective pa rin.

So ang nangyayari kasi sa adminsitrasyon ay nadadapa ito one too often. Rather than answer the question na whether weak or not legal team or whether nababara lang sila ng Supreme Court, I think all lawyers will tell you that the Supreme Court is supreme. This is not an original quote but I forgot who said it but it said not because they are always correct but because they're the highest court and their decision is final.

To the Palace: Defend the ARMM poll postponement

Meaning, there will be nothing wrong for Malacanang to assess its legal team. To strengthen it kung kailangan ng suporta. If there are people that have to be changed then they should be changed. If they need to hire a firm to help and assist them, why not?

For example, we have some of the best people to argue the case of ARMM in the Senate. But nung nireview ito sa Supreme Court, I don't think the Palace asked the sponsors and the help of the Senate to help defend the bill.

Remember, when the Truth Commission was declared unconstitutional, hindi lang ito sampal sa Malacanang. And if the TRO is upheld, hindi lang ito upfront sa Malacanang, pero pati na rin sa Senado at Kongreso. Kasi kami ang nagpasa at kami ang nagsabi na legal iyon. So we're all in a position to defend it.

Kung magaling ang legal team ng Senate at natalo pa rin then maybe you can say that yun talaga ang pananaw ng Supreme Court. But kung manalo, then maybe they can say mahina ang pina-argue nila.

But bottomline is, ganyan ang legal may stumbling blocks talaga. Minsan may humps, minsan may pader, minsan may dead end. Kailangan lang ng bulldozers that will make a way for you or you have to find alternative roads.

What to do next: 'Articulate very well and clarify the arguments'

Right now na may TRO sa ARMM what do we do next? We can't just sit around waiting for it. Last or two weeks ago, I suggested that the Malacanang speedily ask the Supreme Court for an oral argument or to submit pleadings asking to hear again why the TRO should be lifted and to articulate very well the arguments and to clarify what will happen now.

Kasi pag umabot yung expiry of term, wala rin namang karapatan yung dati na umupo, it will be extending the term of the Ampatuans indefinitely. Wala ring basis sa law yan.

Hindi naman pwedeng mag-appoint ang president under the TRO under the law that we passed. But if there's a void under the constitution, ang magaappoint president din.

Pero pag hindi kinlarify ito at tinuloy, baka ang tingin ng Supreme Court dito violation ng TRO.

What I'm saying is Malacanang supposedly can appoint two ways. Number one is through the law that we passed. Number two, kung tapos na yung term at walang officials under the constitution kung hindi nakalagay kung sino magaappoint automatically president magaappoint.

But this has to be clarified with the Supreme court. Kahit pending yan hindi pwedeng walang namamahala sa ARMM. So the legal team and not only the legislative team of Malacanang while waiting, ano pang reform ang pwedeng gawin sa ARMM?

Hindi pwedeng yung postponement lang equals reform. So we were waiting for a second legislative package that will include the reforms in ARMM.

Q: With the Truth Commission and the ARMM polls being torpedoed, the consistency of being derailed is almost funny. What do you think?

Malacanang should expect that the Arroyo group and whatever group they are trying to reform and whoever will be against reform measures they will do whether it's correct or not will be kicking and fighting. That's why whether or not we agreed that the team is weak, I think we will agree that it has to be strengthened.

There's no hindrance, there's no reason for Malacanang, for the policy makers not to put their heads together on how they can do this. For example, President Ramos was not lawyer but he made the chief presidential legal office very powerful.

Right now the ES is a lawyer so whatever system, whether they put it under the ES or under the PMS or the chief presidential legal council or rely on the SolGen, it doesn't matter. During the time of president Marcos the SolGen was a member of the cabinet.

So whatever it is, there is nothing to stop them from strengthening the legal team.

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