Interview on ANC | March 12, 2018

In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– safeguards vs possible abuse of subpoenas issued by CIDG
– possible impeachment trial of CJ Sereno
– moves to amend the 1987 Constitution

Quotes from the interview… 

Safeguards in RA 10973:
“The subpoena must clearly state the nature and purpose of the subpoena. In the case of subpoena duces tecum, only relevant books, documents and other things that are relevant to the investigation should be included. So when we were deliberating, remember I only authored and sponsored this. But this is the product of a deliberation among the senators.”
“When they are conducting a criminal investigation and when they need some witnesses for example, even possible suspects, then they can issue a subpoena.”
“(They can issue) not to anyone but to a particular person they need to be present during an investigation. One of the safeguards that we instituted is that we limited the authority to only 3 persons, the Chief PNP, the Director of CIDG, and his Deputy Director for Administration. The reason being, what if the CPNP and the CIDG director are both out of town or out of the country? Then most probably or on all occasions, the DDA of the CIDG would be present because he will be the one attending to the office.”
“If the court finds the subpoena issued is so arbitrary and not even relevant to the investigation, and it does not state the nature and purpose of the investigation, the court may just issue a TRO so the subpoena cannot be in effect anymore.”

On what happens if a person refuses to heed a subpoena:
“If you do not heed the subpoena, you do not attend, the CPNP or director of CIDG or DDA may go to the RTC and file for indirect contempt. And it is within the power of the RTC judge to hear and then give due course to citing that person for indirect contempt.”
“It is up to the court. It the decision of the judge what to do with the person who refuses the subpoena.”
“There’s no coercive power in an invitation. Precisely we give the PNP the power to subpoena to enable them to compel the person being the subject of an investigation whether as a witness or possible respondent to appear. Just to appear.”
“You can only be detained if you are arrested on the basis of a warrantless arrest or citizen’s arrest meaning you were caught in act, about to commit, had just committed and actually committing; and the person who is effective the arrest has personal knowledge that you in fact committed the crime. And if you are an escapee, you escaped from the national penitentiary, there’s no need for a warrant of arrest.”
“How will (RA 10973) violate the constitutional rights of a person? Or how will it violate the Constitution itself?”

Subpoena and search warrant are two different things:
“Search warrant is another thing. Subpoena and service of arrest warrant are two different matters. Subpoena is just a writ summoning a person to appear before an investigator to give or he may even refuse to give his statement. The Bill of Rights is still enforced and in effect. Let’s not forget that. And the person has the right not to give his statement in an investigation. He has to appear, with a lawyer.”
“A statement taken by an investigator without the presence of counsel is invalid. It cannot be used as evidence against anybody for that matter so a lawyer must be present during the conduct of the investigation.”

On whether RA 10973 gives the PNP powers to arrest:
“No. There’s a date specified in the subpoena. Then you just acknowledge receipt of the subpoena. If you are not in your residence, anyone, the household help, can acknowledge receipt… And the subpoenas are mostly mailed to the person being summoned to appear.”

On the possible impeachment trial of CJ Sereno:
“Every person is entitled to his or her day in court. It’s as simple as that. CJ Sereno is not an exception.”

On former SP Enrile volunteering to be part of the prosecution team:
“He is 94 years old. He used to be Senate President, he used to be presiding officer of an impeachment trial of the late Justice Corona. Qualification-wise, competence-wise, there’s no question. Now, he being a member of the prosecution team, that should be decided by the whole prosecution team of the House of Representatives.”
“Maybe the issue being raised here is the propriety being a former SP with many former colleagues in the Senate, he could influence. But I assure you, as far as I’m concerned and I can speak on behalf of the others, we cannot be influenced, not even by former SP Enrile.”

On amending the 1987 Constitution:
“I’m for it, even if to change only the economic provisions that are so restrictive, too nationalistic to a fault. The world has become very small now, much smaller than before. Lalong na-reinforce ang no man is an island, no country can stand alone. And if we retain the economic provisions, meaning the 60-40 arrangement between local and foreign investors, the ownership of real estate properties, ownership of public utilities.”
“Kailangan mag-open up na tayo because we lack capital. Sariling opinion based on my consultation with some economic managers and some businessmen, they would favor to leave the 60-40 restriction. Tapos ang ownership of public utilities pwede open up na rin natin because after all nanonood tayo ng BBC, etc. What’s the difference? Wala naman tayo enough capital for telco, magkano kailangan mo initial $10B? Sino rito ang single individual o single corporation na probably meron silang werewithal to come up with $10B, sino willing to put the whole $10B in one business venture? So kailangan talaga natin mag-welcome ng foreign investments.”

On political dynasties:
“(S)iguro ang parameters na tinatanong mo should include probably ang succession. Palit-palitan lang pag nag-3 terms ang asawa magpapalit sila, maging congressman and asawa naman ang magiging mayor. And then after 3 terms asawa ang congresswoman, lalaki naman ang mayor. Siguro pwede i-consider yung as one of the parameters, not parang an out and out na kamaganak ka di ka na pwede, because that will also deny the Filipino people to choose kung sino ang leaders na gusto nila. But remember, without taking away anything from the consultative committee, these are very preliminary. Remember, we have not decided kung con-ass ba tayo or con-com.”

On having a Prime Minister:
“I don’t think we are politically mature enough to have a parliamentary form of government because whoever the interest groups, whoever they are, businessmen, tycoons or whoever they are, may just deal with a group of legislators, members of Parliament and because necessarily they will be the ones to select the PM.” “What if 2 o 3 of the biggest tycoons in the country will band together and ito ang itulak nating PM, then we’re finished, for as long as he can. So mas mainam we present ourselves or the leaders of this country will present ourselves to the people directly.”