Juan Ponce Enrile

Senate Privilege Speech Against Senator Santiago

delivered 27 November 2013, Manila, Philippines

*Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate:

On Thursday, November 7, 2013, the Blue Ribbon Committee held a hearing which the public had long been waiting for with great anticipation to uncover and bare out the naked truth and nothing but the truth about the alleged PDAF scandal.*

However, the Blue Ribbon hearing was turned, surprisingly, into a time and an occasion to attack, malign, and assassinate the character of persons, especially me, who refrained from attending that hearing so that the witnesses and the resource persons would be able to talk freely, without any kind of undue restraint. The hearing was dismally converted into a farcical and unjust hearing, instead of being the sober forum publicized boastfully as the arena to bring out the truth and nothing but the truth.

I have been advised by well-meaning friends to ignore what was said against me in that Blue Ribbon hearing. After all, according to them, the abusive words were from a cuckoo, an inane and bitterly hostile mind. I -- I pondered over their unsolicited counsel and appreciated their concern for me. However, I decided to break my silence, lest those who heard the vicious and baseless accusations against me of that vile and malicious mind would believe them to be the truth and nothing but the truth.

Today, therefore, I rise in this Chamber on a matter of personal privilege to defend my personal honor, the honor of my family, the honor of my office, and the honor of those millions of our countrymen who trusted me and voted me to this Senate.

I will soon retire from politics, after two and a half years more of public service. And, I owe it to the current generation, Mr. President, to answer the barefaced lies said against me and my office, although deep in my heart I believe that history, in a calmer and kinder social climate, will absolve me.

I would have wanted to deliver this privilege speech earlier. But, I deliberately postponed -- postponed it until today out of respect and compassion to the hapless victims of super-typhoon Yolanda that wrought unexpected, unimaginable, and widespread destruction, havoc, misery, and deaths to the -- our suffering countrymen in the Visayan provinces of our Republic; and also out of deference to the time-honored practice in this Chamber that we give all utmost priority to the general appropriation[s] bill, when it is being deliberated upon in Plenary.

In that Blue Ribbon hearing, in the press conference that followed it, and, later on, in the media, a member of this Senate, without any iota of concrete proof, brazenly accused me, among other things, of being murderous; of going to the restroom with bodyguard armed with a long firearm; and of being the "mastermind" or "brain" of the alleged PDAF scandal.

Mr. President, I know that I should not dignify with answers these obvious lies flowing as they did from the hallucinated imaginings of a spiteful and bitterly hostile mind. But, I must. I must debunk these unbridled lies from the records of this Senate for the sake of honest truth.

First, that I was murderous. Mr. President, I never murdered anyone during all of my almost 90 years on this planet. I was in the war during World War II as a freedom fighter. I fired bullets against the foreign invaders of our country as they fired bullets at me. I do not know if I hit any of those I shot at. But, for one -- for someone to say with impunity that I killed someone deliberately -- I do not know if there are any who did in this Senate -- that I -- or that I'm planning anyone's murder, is the "Grandmama" of all falsehood fabricators.

Second, that I go to the restroom of this Senate with bodyguard armed with a long firearm. Mr. President, I never realized until that Blue Ribbon hearing that we have a "peeping Tom" in this Senate. I never knew that someone was keeping an eye on me, even when I go to the most private of places here in this building. It was, after all, supposed to be a "private" area.

I'm sure, Mr. President, everyone in this Senate, including the fabricator of that falsehood, knows that what she said was a boldfaced lie. Since 1987, when I first joined this Senate, I never allowed my security -- my security men to carry any firearm in the Senate. Even the members of the Senate security force -- I know that none of them was ever allowed to carry long firearms in the Senate area.

Mr. President, perhaps my obsessive hater is the only one, in this -- in all these years, ever so blessed to see someone carrying a long one in the Senate -- especially in our restroom.

Modesty aside, Mr. President, early in my youth I was trained in the native martial art of arnis. Later on, I earned a black belt in the Korean...martial art of taekwando. Hence, I do not need a firearm, long or short, to defend myself in a face to face combat.

Besides, unlike some persons familiar to me, I do not think I suffer from any kind of schizophrenic or psychotic paranoia to be that paranoid to need someone with a firearm to visit a restroom, especially in this Senate. True, one of my men normally goes with me to the restroom. But, he carries no weapon. He only goes with me to assist me because of my impaired vision.

Maybe what my obsessive hater mistook for a long firearm, Mr. President, was a tiny gadget that I bring with me to scratch my back when it itches and to strike a mischievous fly, langaw [fly], when I encounter one along the way.

Mr. President, I've traveled all these years, in daytime and in nighttime, everywhere without fear of being harmed. I know that I had not done any kind of oppressive act, by word or by deed, against anyone to earn that degree of enmity that would provoke a desire to harm me or to make -- take my life. This is another thing that demonstrates the obvious falsity of the claim that even in the Senate I need a bodyguard with a long firearm. Only a distorted, degraded, and deranged mind could imagine and invent such a blatant lie.

Third, that I was...the "mastermind" or "brain" of the alleged PDAF scandal. Mr. President, only an inane and bitterly hostile mind could fabricate such a canard. Again, all I can say is that this is an outright lie and this is just one -- another of those baseless fabrication[s] against me from a depraved mind.

I will not belabor, Mr. President, this unfounded canard. I'm aware that the public has been waiting for me to speak up on this matter, but for now suffice it to say that there will be a time and a more auspicious, appropriate forum to deal in detail with the alleged PDAF scam, and I will give my fullest cooperation to unearth the truth in that -- in this alleged scandal.

Perhaps, my obsessive hater should appear as a special prosecutor against me to demonstrate her -- to her admirers her knowledge of the facts of the alleged PDAF scandal and her legal skill as a trial lawyer. I am sure that she will experience something that she never experienced before.

Whenever an occasion arises, my bitter and obsessive hater habitually flaunts her being a former judge. With a flare of self-praise, she would normally say, and I quote her, "As a former judge" etcetera, etcetera and [inaudible].

Well, I am sorry to say, Mr. President, that this former judge does not seem to understand the basic meaning of due process. Every law student, whatever the level of acumen he has, knows that due process simply means, "You hear first the evidence before you condemn." Now I know why she nearly flunked her bar examination. A parrot, Mr. President, can memorize legal principles but it cannot apply them.

It seems, Mr. President, that the inanities of my bitter and obsessive hater are boundless.

Ito...ay sapagkat noong kasagsagan nang barilan sa Zamboanga City sa paggitan nang mga sundalo natin at nang mga armadong tauhan daw ni Nur Misuari, sinabi nang senadora na ako daw ang nag-udyok sa barilan sa Zamboanga City at nagbigay daw ako kay Nur Misuari nang apat na pung milyong piso upang guluhin niya ang Zamboanga City.

[English Translation: This is because at the height of the gun battle in Zamboanga City between our soldiers and the alleged armed minions of Nur Misuari, the lady senator said that I was the one who incited the shooting battle in Zamboanga City and I gave Nur Misuari 4 million pesos for him to create disorder in Zamboanga City.]

Naku po, sobra naman ang senadorang iyan. Kung hindi ba naman naninira sa kanyang kapwa. Nasa probinsiya po ako nang Cagayan noong nangyari ang gulo sa Zamboanga City. Wala akong kamalay-malay na may barilan pala sa Zamboanga City. Nalaman ko na lamang iyong nangyari na barilan sa Zamboanga City noong bumalik na ako sa Maynila.

[English Translation: Oh, dear, that lady senator is too much. She is destroying her fellowman. I was in the province of Cagayan when the chaos in Zamboanga City happened. I was unaware that there was an ongoing gun battle in Zamboanga City. I only learned about the gun battle that happened in Zamboanga City when I went back to Manila.]

Paano ako mapapasama sa isang pangyayari na wala akong kaalam-alam? Maliwanag po ito at walang kaduda...duda na nagpapatunay na may pagkasinungaling ang senadora na iyan.

[English Translation: How can I be involved with an event that I had no knowledge of? This is clearly and without a doubt a proof that the lady senator is a liar.]

Ang masaklap po, Ginoong Pangulo, dinadaan nya sa pagpapatawa, sa kanyang mga popular na pick-up lines, ang kanyang panloloko sa mga inosenteng kababayan natin. At ang mas masaklap [pa po dito] ay kung anuman ang mga salitang kanyang binitiwan ay kinakagat ng ilang mga peryodista nang ganon-ganon na lamang, sinasakyan ang kanyang mga paratang para lamang tuluyan akong idiin dito sa isyu ng PDAF.

[English Translation: What is painful, Mr. President, is she makes this possible through the use of jokes, her popular pick-up lines, her duplicity on our innocent countrymen. And what is more painful is that whatever pronouncements she says are easily picked up by journalists, riding on her accusations to further incriminate me on the PDAF issue.]

But why is this senator, Mr. President, so obsessive and bitter against me? Many, especially my friends and followers, have repeatedly asked me this question. Mr. President, I do not know for certain the answer to this nagging question. I, too, am puzzled. I know of no harm that I did to her to arouse her vile anger and hostility against me.

Sinabi nang senadora sa Blue Ribbon hearing na ako daw ay may asim pa, may asim pa. Ginoong Pangulo, nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya, asim pa. Ngunit ikinalulungkot kong sabihin, at kahit masakit man banggitin, hindi po ako naa-asiman sa kanya.

[English Translation: The lady senator said at the Blue Ribbon hearing that I still have some spice in me.1 Mr. President, I am thankful to her. But I am sad to say, and even if it is painful to mention, that I don’t find the same thing to be true about her!]2

But levity aside, Mr. President, I know -- what I know is that after her graduation from UP College of Law and her bar examination, I hired her in 1969 to work for me in the Department of Justice, where I was then the Secretary of Justice. When she got married, she asked me and my wife to be her wedding sponsor[s].

When President Marcos transferred me from the Department of Justice to the Department of National Defense on February 10, 1970, my association with her ended, until we became colleagues again here in the Senate for the first time in 1995, under the Tenth Congress.

I can only surmise, Mr. President, that her deep-seated animosity against me arose from two events, two events: one was when I opposed her confirmation as Secretary of Agrarian Reform during the administration of President Corazon C. Aquino; another was when I refused to include her in the majority bloc when I was elected Senate President in November 2008 and, again, in July 2010.

During the hearing of the Commission on Appointments on her confirmation as Secretary of Agrarian Reform, testing the -- the suitability and qualification[s] of the nominee then, the distinguished senator of the republic [inaudible], I asked her if she was ever under the care of a psychiatrist.

Tinanong ko po kung siya ay nagkonsulta sa mga tinatawag na mga mediko na “psychiatrist,” yun po mga gumagamot sa mga sakit ng utak.

[English Translation: I asked her if she ever consulted with what are called medical “psychiatrists,” who treat disorders of the mind.]

She admitted that she was. She said that she was treated by a psychiatrist at the Makati Medical Center.

In that same Commission on Appointments committee deliberation, I asked her also what grade she got in her bar examination.

Tinanong ko po sa kanya, “Kayo po ay tinatawag na ‘cum laude’ sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, ano po ba ang nakuha nyong grado sa inyong ‘bar examination’?”

[English Translation: I asked her, “You were called a cum laude in the University of the Philippines, what was your grade in the bar examination?”]

She replied, Mr. President, that she got the "C" -- got a grade of 76.

Sitenta’y sais porsyento po ang kanyang grado sa “bar examination.”

[English Translation: 76% was her grade in the bar examination.]

That meant that she obtained low grades in all her bar subjects. And I remember -- [Tagalog delivered at 19:41-19:42] -- I remember that she got a grade of 56 in Ethics, the easiest bar examination subject.

Sinkwenta’y sais porsyento po sa “Ethics.” Kaya naintindihan ko na kung bakit hindi niya sinusunod ang mga “rules of ethics” sa aming propesyon.

[English Translation: 56% in "Ethics." That’s why -- I understand why she doesn’t follow the rules of ethics in our profession.]

In that same Commission on Appointment[s] committee deliberation, I asked her about a white Toyota Celica sports car that the nominee then was said to be driving as her personal car when she was a judge in Quezon City. "Toots" Trinidad, a former PNB [Philippine National Bank] Vice President, owned that sports car. He shipped it back to the Philippines upon his return from the United States after his surgical operation for a brain tumor at the Stanford University. That sports car disappeared from the compound of the Bureau of Customs when it arrived in the Port of Manila.

Toots Trinidad learned that his sports car was with a judge of Quezon City. Toots...Trinidad asked then Judge Miriam Defensor Santiago to give the car back to him. She refused.

Tinanggihan po na niya na ibalik yung kotse ng pobreng isang naging bise presidente ng Banko Nasyonal ng Pilipinas.

[English Translation: She refused to return the car of the unfortunate former vice-president of the Philippine National Bank.]

I was told that she claimed that her husband, Narciso Yap Santiago of the Province of Tarlac, who was at that time employed in the Bureau of Customs, gave her that sports car as a birthday gift.

Sabi daw niya, “Di ko -- binigay sa akin ng asawa ko ito na regalo sa aking ‘birthday’.”

[English Translation: She said, “I did not -- this was given to me by my husband as a gift for my birthday.”]

Later on, I found out that the car was registered in her name in the Bureau of Land Transportation in the Province of Tarlac.

Hindi ko po alam kung ibinalik niya yung “white” Toyota Celica “sports car.” Ang ating dating “Justice of the Supreme Court,” naging dekano ng “College of Law” ng “University of the Philippines” at naging “Secretary of Justice” si, Vicente Abad Santos, pinayuhan siya na ibalik na yung kotse pero ayaw niyang ibalik yung kotse nung pobreng tao na bumili noon sa kanyang paninirahan sa Amerika.

[English Translation: I do not know if she returned the white Toyota Celica sports car. Our former Justice of the Supreme Court, former Dean of the College of Law of the University of the Philippines, and former Secretary of Justice, Vicente Abad Santos, advised her to return the car, but she refused to return the car of the poor man that he bought from his stay in America.]

As a consequence of my opposition, and among other concerns taken into consideration, the Committee on Agrarian Reform of the Commission on Appointments voted to reject her appointment as Secretary of Agrarian Reform.

When I became Senate President in November 2008, she did not vote for me. I tried to reach her before I was voted as Senate President. She refused to answer my phone calls. She even denied my request for just five minutes, five minutes, Mr. President, to see her at her residence. Initially, she was not a part of the new majority then and, consequently, she was not assigned any committee to chair. Eventually, however, I relented and assigned to her two major committees upon the intervention of then Senator Mar Roxas.

Mga buhay pa po itong mga tao na ito at palagay ko ay papatunayan nila itong sinasabi ko.

[English Translation: These people are still alive and I guess they can prove what I am saying.]

After the election in 2010, I was re-elected Senate President. I did not make an effort to reach out to her to get her support, but it was then Senator Manuel Villar who interceded for her. At that point, she was already allied with the Nacionalista Party of Senator [Manny] Villar.

Senator Villar arranged a dinner in a Japanese restaurant at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. He pleaded with me to join him and the senator with her husband in that dinner. Senator Tito Sotto, who is here, and Senator Gregorio Honasan, who is also here, were also present in that dinner-meeting.

During the dinner, the senadora and her husband profusely made their amends to me. Because of Manny Villar, Tito Sotto, and Greg Honasan, I accepted her and her husband's insincere apologies and took her into the new majority.

As a consequence, I assigned to her the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Laws, the only remaining unassigned committee at that time.

She wanted to retain her former committees: one, was the Committee on Foreign Affairs which was -- which has an oversight committee with a separate and large budget; and, second, the Committee on Energy which also has an oversight committee with an equally separate and large budget. Obviously, she wanted a large pile of money at her disposal. But I could not satisfy her -- satisfy her desire because the two committees had already been assigned to two equally-capable senators: Foreign Affairs went to Senator [Loren] Legarda and the Committee on Energy went to Senator [Uncertain].

Finally, she asked for an oversight committee -- she asked me for an oversight committee with a separate budget to be specially created for her to support her large staff. I accommodated her request without much ado.

Evidently, Mr. President, all those things that I did for her were not enough to assuage her deep-seated and bitter hostility and hatred against me for what happened in the past, especially in her confirmation hearing as Secretary of Agrarian Reform.

Mr. President, what I said in this speech is the naked truth and nothing but the truth; no fabrication and no invention in it. I wish to put these remarks in the official record of this Senate for posterity to read. Some day, perhaps, our people will eventually unmask who was lying and who was telling the truth.

Finally, Mr. President, then Senator Panfilo Lacson called my bitter and obsessive hater (quote) "a crusading crook." (unquote). That's not -- Those are not my words. They are the words of Senator Panfilo Lacson and I think everyone here knows Senator Panfilo Lacson.

A "crusading crook": I have yet, Mr. President, to hear from her a bristling rebuttal, a relevant answer, or a lucid explanation -- not -- not ad hominem as she is wont to do. Up to now the words of Senator Lacson remained unanswered. They are met with deafening silence from her. And I just wonder why, Mr. President.

Anyway, this is all, Mr. President. Thank you for your patience and forbearance, and for allowing this representation to use a bit of the time -- the Senate's time to say my piece.

Thank you very much.

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

* = text within red asterisks absent from this audio and unverified as delivered

1 Alternatively, "The senator said in the blue ribbon hearing that I still have sex appeal [or still physically attractive].

2 Alternatively, Mr. Presiden I thank her, but sadly I want to point out, even if it is difficult to say, I do not find her appealing [or sexy] at all.

Original Text Source: http://legacy.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2013/1127_enrile1.asp

Transcript Note:Tagalog to English translation by South Transcription Unlimited, Inc. | www.southtranscription.com | info@southtranscription.com | (+63) 920.921.8709. Supplementary transcription work and editorial oversight by Michael E. Eidenmuller.

Page Updated: 8/3/21

U.S. Copyright Status: Text and Audio = Public domain per this notice on the Philippine Government website: "All content is in the public domain unless otherwise stated."
































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