Interview of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile On Sen. Ping Lacson, Ombudsman Gutierrez, Ligots in contempt, and ARMM election

Philippine Senator Juan Ponce EnrileImage via Wikipedia
A press release of the Senate of the Philippines, March 21, 2011

On the Court of Appeals' decision to junk the warrant of arrest of Sen. Ping Lacson
Q: Sir, 'yung CA po junked with finality the warrant of arrest against Senator Lacson.
Senate President: Well, they have dismissed the information against Senator Lacson. They have quashed the warrant of arrest so that decision must be implemented unless someone will go up to the Supreme Court.
Q: Should Senator Lacson come out now?
SP: Yes. We do not know if the government will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court but that should be a signal to the government that in the appreciation of the Appellate Court, the evidence against Senator Lacson is weak and I hope that they will finally heed the decision of the Court of Appeals so that Senator Lacson can come back and perform his duties as senator.
Q: So it's too early to roll out the red carpet?
SP: We are not rolling out the red carpet for Senator Lacson. He's an ordinary senator just like me and we are not entitled to any red carpet treatment. We are talking here of administration of justice.
On Iglesia ni Cristo lobbying for the impeachment of Ombudsman Gutierrez
Q: Sir, 'yun daw Iglesia ni Cristo nakikialam sa impeachment?
SP: That's what I read in the papers. Whether there is any evidence to that effect, we'll have to check.
Q: Dapat bang makialam ang isang religious group dun sa ganung proceedings?
SP: Alam mo, sinasabi nila political 'yan. You have to expect pressure groups to come to play in this particular issue --- for or against.
Q: So dapat bang magpa-pressure ang mga congressmen...
SP: Hindi ko alam. That's an individual decision. You are serving the national interest and if you have a stand to take, then we stand for it.

On the motion to hold the Ligots in contempt
Q: Sir, dun sa motion ni Senator Jinggoy na ipa-contempt 'yung mag-asawang Ligot, ano ang stand ninyo?
SP: That has to be decided by the Committee.
Q: Pero sa tingin ninyo, there is a basis para isulong 'yung pag-contempt sa mag-asawa considering na palaging ini-invoke lagi ang right against to self-incrimination?
SP: I will not answer that question. Let us hear the Committee first.
Q: Sir, may isang statement galing kay Presidential Spokesman Carandang na Palace is expecting their allies in the Senate to convict Gutierrez.
SP: That is their position and I respect their position but I made a statement that this is a conscience vote. Each senator has to appreciate the evidence, study the evidence, hear the evidence, analyze the evidence and make a judgment. We're judges. We are going to be judges. What does a judge do even in a beauty contest? You check the exhibits and the exhibits in a beauty contest is the person herself. So, you judge her. You judge them. The same thing in trial of any kind, you accept the evidence, you analyze them as a rational human being and then, you make a conclusion. And that conclusion is for or against.

On the postponement of the ARMM election
Q: Sir, dun sa postponement ng ARMM election, there are some senators na ngayon pa lang ino-oppose na nila 'yun...
SP: Well, that is expected. We will see. All of these will be decided by the Chamber. I cannot impose on my colleagues. They have their own personal interest, political interest and other interests to serve.
Q: So sir, kahit certified as urgent 'yung Bill, pwede rin na hindi 'yun ma-approve?
SP: Kung wala kaming Bill dito. Inaantay namin 'yung Bill na manggagaling sa House and time is running out.
Q: May time pa ba para i-approve sa Senate?
SP: Hindi ko alam. Depende kung ma-aprubahan nila. Kung ma-aprubahan nila ngayong hapon, darating dito bukas, then we will calendar it and we will have one day to discuss it. Kung majority of the senators will agree, then we can pass it in one day.
Q: Kung hindi niyo ma-approve bago mag-adjourn, wala ng time?
SP: Kelan ba ang eleksyon?
Q: August.
SP: Meron pang time sa May, June, July. August pa.