Transcript of ambush media interview after speech at DLSU Business Law Conference

Q: Your reaction on the row between Sen. Jinggoy and Allan:

Siguro kasi ganyan naman talaga, magkakaroon ng ganyang klaseng gulo o sasabihin mong alitan dahil yung iba sa amin ay nakasama o isinasangkot dito sa kasong yan. And in the process of investigating I guess Sen. Jinggoy felt he was being..it was a personal attack on him. But ganyan lang talaga, ganyan talaga ang mangyayari, hindi naman siguro tayo dapat magulat because the Senate is investigating itself in many ways, and the Senate is investigating some of its own members. Kaya this kind of..itong klaseng magkakaroon ng samaan ng loob ay hindi naman kataka-taka.

Q: Would you wish or suggest for the Blue Ribbon to wrap up its investigation?

Well, Sen. Jinggoy made a very good point, that it is not the venue, the Blue Ribbon Committee or the Senate for him to defend himself. Kasi kung me kaso, doon sa korte nya ipagtatanggol ang kanyang honor at kanyang dignidad. There is a feeling in some quarters na doon na ginagawa ang paghusga dun sa ibang member ng Senado. Perhaps we should focus our attention, when it comes to this whole PDAF scam, siguro ang dapat nating tingnan is really the legal side of it, kung nasan na ba ang mga kaso. Alam ko sumagot na yung tatlong senador. So we have to be, especially in something as explosive and controversial as this, ay dapat tayo ay medyo malamig ang ating mga ulo, we have to be objective and we have to be sober. Because it is, as I said, such a controversial issue, napapadpad tayo sa ibang issue pagka sa mga Blue Ribbon Committee. Of course, it is all being conducted in the public domain, so that is the difficulty with having the continuing investigation.

Q: Do you expect the conflict among the senators to escalate?

I don’t think so. I hope not. I suppose, as I said, hindi maiiwasan yang ganyang klaseng samaan ng loob. Pero sana nga hanggang dito na lang dahil wala na namang ibang witness na papupuntahin sa Senado. Nakapag-testify na si Cunanan, nakapag-testify na si Ruby Tuason, Napoles had also been to the Senate, perhaps it is now time to move to the legal aspect of this issue. We have to always remember lahat ito in aid of legislation. Sa aking pananaw everything that needs to be known in aid of legislation is already available to the committee, not only to the Committee but to all members of the Senate.

Q: Kahapon Sen. Osmena described the President as an awful manager. What’s your take? What’s your own assessment of the President’s performance?

Yes, nabasa ko nga yun. But alam mo si Sen. Osmena is a very plain speaking person. Kung yun ang opinion nya sasabihin nya talaga. I think he was…because maraming naging problema, because he is focusing especially on the energy sector at maraming naging problema, at siguro frustrating din sa kanya na wala tayong nakikitang pino-propose na solution that’s why he directed his most fervent attack at Sec. Petilla, dahil sya ang sa Energy. But talaga naman, between the investigation dun sa pagtaas ng presyo, dun sa tinatawag na sabay-sabay na maintenance ng ating mga power plant, tapos ngayon nandyan na, nararamdaman na yung mga brownout—eto naman ay hindi bagong problema. Eto problema na natin, magsasampung taon na itong ganitong nangyayari bakit hanggang sa ngayon hindi lang sa wala pang nagagawa, walang plano kung ano ang gagawin. And we hear about many plants na so many hundred megawatts ang itatayo pero walang kunkreto, walang maliwanag na plano kung papano aayusin ang problema ng power supply.

Q: Do you agree with this assessment that the President is a failing leader, an awful leader, is not a good manager?

I don’t know, I don’t know what the President’s management style is because I’m not privy to the discussions in the Palace. But I would just say that there have been shortcomings, especially in the infrastructure side, the infrastructure development, public investment in infrastructure. And when we talk about infrastructure hindi lang kalsada at tulay. We’re talking about power, ngayon nasama na dyan ang Internet. So all of these elements have really to be looked at. Because kung makita nyo one of our biggest expenditure is the CCT, and that’s P65 billion. But poverty continues to increase, joblessness continues to increase. There’s something wrong there. Kailangang tingnan natin yun. Siguro ang frustration ng marami, ipinipilit pa rin yung mga polisiya na nakikita na natin ay hindi talaga effective, hindi matagumpay, they are not successful.

Q: Sabi ni Sen. Mirriam, si Janet Napoles should pay for her stay at Fort Sto. Domingo?

We can always count on Sen. Miriam to come up with a novel idea, if not only to entertain us but to make us think about a situation like that. I’m sorry I missed it, I wish I was here.

Q: Do you think Napoles should pay for her expenses?

I think that it’s possible. Pero palagay ko after all her assets have been garnished, have been frozen, I don’t know if she has the capability. But it’s something to think about, because when I read her speech—as usual—meron syang precedent in the United States. Why not? Why not study it, baka naman maging applicable dito sa atin.

Q: Should Napoles be transferred to a regular jail?

Well, Secretary De Lima said there are security issues. And I can only take her word for it. So if there are indeed those security issues, siguro dun muna sya were she is now. Kasi pag napunta sa general population sya and there are security problems ay mahirap naman kung me mangyari sa kanya.

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