Press Release
December 14, 2011

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

On the Impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona

Q: Ngayon kasi nagkaroon Court Holiday against sa impeachment kay Corona...

SP: Well, they are exercising their right of assembly. I hope we can quiet the situation.

Q: But Malacañang, for its part, has not tempered its vile comments against the Supreme Court...

SP: The political rhetoric is rather heated so we better tone down our comments. I hope that they will exercise circumspection in their statements and conduct in this time because tension is mounting in the country.

Q: Pero, sir, sa palagay niyo may mali po ba kung magkaroon ng Court Holiday ngayong araw na ito?

SP: Hindi naman. That's within the discretion of the court. They can do that. They're an independent branch of government. There's no limitation as far as they're working schedules are concerned and that is dictated by the Supreme Court because the Constitution has given them full independence, in fact. They're independent as far as their budget is concerned. They're independent in the administration of their own bureaucracy. They're independent in the functioning of their offices except that they're bound to obey the laws and if they commit any infraction of the law then like all the other citizens of the country, they have to answer for it before the bar of public opinion and before the bar of justice.

Q: Hindi naman daw po pumayag ang Supreme Court na magkaroon ng holiday pero tinuloy pa rin ng Manila at Quezon City RTC...

SP: Well, that is the prerogative of the judges. You see, the Constitution allows the members of the bureaucracy to organize themselves into groups for whatever purpose except illegal purposes.

Q: Sir, what is the worst case scenario in this situation where the tension is mounting?

SP: I'd rather not say anything because we are now confronted with an impeachment case. So, anything we say may have a bearing on it.

Q: Sir, paano po 'yun sabi ninyo you want to calm the temper...

SP: All I can say is to caution the public, caution everybody.

Q: Pero sir, nagsisimula pa lang kasi ang proceeding hindi pa nga kayo nagco-convene. What more kung may trial na...

SP: That's a given. In the impeachment of Erap, we were pilloried. Those of us who took a position different from the position of the opposition at that time were pilloried by various groups so we took it.

Q: Sir, papaano po kung dumating na sa sitwasyon na hindi na mag-report sa work...

SP: I hope that they will not do that.

Q: Sino pa ang pwedeng magparusa sa kanila?

SP: Wala, unless the Executive will order the police and military to bring them back to their workplace which is going to be delicate.

Q: But the President has the power to do that?

SP: Well, he has the power to execute the laws. If the conduct of the protestants or the people who are expressing their feelings is peaceful, let them be.

Q: Sir, what if the Supreme Court declares the action of Congress as grave abuse of discretion?

SP: I'm not going to anticipate that. Anything I will say on the course of the impeachment might be misunderstood so I beg off.

Q: Sir, how can we be sure na sa impeachment trial hindi mangyari 'yung nangyari kay Erap na nag-walkout yung prosecution?

SP: That will not happen because I know what I'm going to do.

Q: Sir, ano po ang pwedeng gawin?

SP: I will order the Sergeant-at-Arms to close the doors of the Senate so nobody can get out.

Q: Paano kapag may nagpumilit, sir?

SP: Hindi pwede. Mayroon kaming contempt powers. Hindi ginamit ni Davide 'yun.

Q: So sir, hindi na pwede 'yang mga walkout?

SP: Hindi pwede. We'll go through the trial from beginning to end.

Q: Sir, after Corona two more justices daw po ang planong ipa-impeach...

SP: I don't know. Let's wait when the things become a fact and if that happens we'll be preoccupied throughout the year with impeachment cases. We'll not be able to work on our legislative duties.

Q: Sir, do we expect partisan votes or independent votes in the impeachment?

SP: I don't know. I haven't talked to the members of the Senate except in a caucus I called yesterday in order that we will prepare for the trial of the impeachment case filed against the Chief Justice.

Q: Sir, paano kung mag-file ng petition para mag-inhibit ang isang impeachment judge?

SP: I will not anticipate those questions. Anything having to do with impeachment is something I could not answer.

Q: Sir, kung ini-impeach si Corona dahil supposedly he's favoring Arroyo, mas mahirap 'yung posisyon ng susunod sa kanya?

SP: Sinabi ko na sa inyo, I will not express an opinion on these things because they go to the heart of issues involved.

Q: Sir, would you advice the members of the Impeachment Court to be silent?

SP: No, I will not dictate on the members of the Senate. They're responsible people. They're duly elected by the people on the faith that they're responsible people. I know they're responsible people. I know they know the Rules and I know they will abide by the Rules. So, I do not have to tell them what to do.

Q: Sir, ia-allow niyo po ba ang rally sa vicinity ng Senate?

SP: As long as it is peaceful, sure. They can rally here. They can bring all the people that they want to bring. If it is unruly, we have to utilize the contingent under the Sergeant-at-Arms to maintain order.

On Secretary Dinky Soliman's Appointment

Q: Sir, kailangan po ba ni PNoy ng ad interim appointment after the bypass of Secretary as Social Welfare head?

SP: Hindi ko alam. Ipapaubaya ko 'yon sa Presidente.

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