Sen. Pia on Day 2 of Impeachment Trial

News Release
17 January 2012

Sen. Pia on Day 2 of Impeachment Trial
Transcript of interview with Sen. Pia S. Cayetano (excerpts)
Senate Hallway

Q: Mam, sa boto n’yo kanina, were you in favor of Sen. Enrile or kumampi po kayo kay Sen. Alan?
SPSC: I voted against the decision (of Sen. Enrile).

Q: Bakit Mam?
SPSC: Because of the nature of the concerns raised by Sen. Alan with the issuance of subpoenas. I was listening to the arguments and I strongly felt that the points (he) raised were very well-taken and supported by jurisprudence. To be very clear, the points that he raised simply stated that the issuance of the subpoena would not in any way prevent the defense from still invoking their right not to testify later on. The burden now is on the defense that when the witnesses are called, at the proper time, i-invoke nila yung right nila not to testify. Kasi if yung question naman na itatanong (ng prosecution) doesn’t involve self-incrimination or incriminating your relative, then you can testify. So yun lang naman yun.

I agreed that the denial of the request of subpoena would set a precedent. So at least we put it on record para di naman ito maging precedent. These are very important legal issues. And it is worth that we take time to educate the public, especially non-lawyers, on these issues. And as you know, cited in the basis is the ill-gotten wealth law, which, in cases where the evidence may be hidden in the names of family members, then you are able to look into it. So I repeat that the burden would be on the defense to invoke the right against self-incrimination.

Q: Some are saying that there was a ‘blunder’ in the proceedings, na hindi pa sila (prosecution) ready and it was just tolerated (by the court). What is your reaction to this?
SPSC: I was really prepared after the Christmas holidays to spend long times here. I can only speak for myself, personally, I’m prepared to spend long hours. Clearly, they were not yet prepared today, so we definitely hope that they can use this time (to prepare) for the following days. We trust that this will move forward, I guess may mga adjustments din that will be made because being an impeachment proceeding, hindi kasing-defined ang rules natin. Di ba may discussion whether it’s a criminal proceeding, a civil proceeding, and how evidence will be accepted. There was a procedural debate on that. And I beg the indulgence of the public, kasi kasama din po talaga sa discussion yun because it is important that we put weight on the proper evidence. These are tedious matters that need to be dealt with.

Q: What you’re saying is that what happened today is forgivable?
SPSC: Mapagpasensya kasi ako. (lughs)

Q: But until when are you willing to tolerate this…the prosecution being unprepared…?
SPSC: It is the collegial body that has to decide. Siguro ako na yung may pinakamahabang pasensya as my record will prove. As you know, I’m the proponent of the RH Bill, and I have an anti-tobacco legislation pending, I have many other bills na naiipit po dahil dito, so syempre I also want it to move forward. But this is a process that is important, so we will give our time and support the process. So let us not be too judgmental.

Q: Your thoughts on the second day of the trial…
SPSC: We have a very competent presiding officer and there are I think at least nine lawyers among the senator-judges, and most of us still have our basic knowledge on criminal, civil procedure, evidentiary law, remedial law. And to the extent that this is a public hearing, we have colleagues who are non-lawyers, I think prepared din naman tayo for a certain degree of patience. Having said that, the public and the defendants, of course, deserve a speedy trial. And so I guess it is incumbent upon all the members of this court – and I refer to the defense, the prosecution, the judges – to be prepared.

Q: With what happened kanina, ano po ang ine-expect n’yo tomorrow?
SPSC: A subpoena was issued already on the documents. I would imagine ipapatawag nila siguro yung proper authorities that could identify documents, siguro may marking of documents, ganun ang ine-expect kong flow. I don’t know if they’ll be presenting testimonial evidence, pero siguro documentary. It’s boring stuff, to be perfectly honest. But this is part of the process. We are prepared for this kind of proceeding. Even in court this happens.

Q: Mam ano po yung thoughts n’yo kanina sa motion ni Sen. (Alan) Cayetano?
SPSC: I supported the motion because there were very valid points that were raised to provide the right sana for the parties to call the witnesses, and for the other party, the opposing party, to invoke at the right time the right against self-incrimination. That was a valid point. I supported it, unfortunately, the majority did not. But at least we put on record so that hindi naman yan maging precedent. #

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