Enrile won't reconcile with Senate critics-A A +A
Friday, January 25, 2013
MANILA -- His personal relationship with four senators critical of his four-year-old leadership has turned from bad to worse as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile admitted that he longer have plans of reconciling with them.
Referring to sibling Senators Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Antonio Trillanes IV, the 88-year-old lawmaker said he doesn't need them to pass important measures in the Senate.
"I have my majority. I don't need the minority. I can pass laws without them. That is the essence of a majority," he said in an interview in Laguna on Thursday after campaigning for the senatorial bets of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) where he is a key official.
Tired of growing criticism of his decision to give P1.6 million additional funds to allied senators last Christmas, Enrile requested the Senate on Monday to elect a new leader but colleagues directed him to stay.
Two days later, Cayetano pushed for a private audit on Senate funds while underscoring Enrile's supposed hostility towards him because of his differences with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and retired Supreme Court Justice Dante Tinga, who are friends of the Senate president.
Both senators engaged in personal attacks with Enrile claiming of a P37-million debt incurred by Cayetano's father, the late Senator Rene Cayetano, when the latter ran and won a Senate seat in 1998.
The money was allegedly sourced from the Ponce Enrile Cayetano Reyes Manalastas Law Offices (Pecabar) as Enrile said he didn't bother to ask for payment for the sake of his friendship with the former senator.
Cayetano said he could not remember that his father owed Enrile such big amount, calling the accusation unfair since his father, who died of liver cancer in 2003, can no longer respond to it.
Meanwhile, Enrile said he will try to convince his long-time chief of staff Jessica "Gigi" Reyes to work with him again. Reyes resigned on Wednesday night after Cayetano lashed at her for acting like a senator and making decisions on behalf of Enrile.
"I delegate my powers to people that I trusted. They can sign checks for me, they can decide for me because they know more or less how I think," said Enrile.
Rumors have it that Enrile is in an extramarital affair with Reyes, who is over 30 years younger than him. A 1998 report of the Chicago Tribune even pointed out that Enrile's wife Cristina walked out on him because of his illicit relationship with Reyes.
Enrile denied this, saying he only maintains a professional relationship with his staff. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)