Probe eyed on Enrile’s role in arrival of used cars in Cagayan-A A +A
Thursday, February 14, 2013
MANILA -- After conflicting versions of his alleged ambush just before martial law, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is now being eyed to be investigated by his nemesis in the Senate for a possible role in the arrival of used cars in Cagayan.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago wanted this investigated because the shipment of over 200 used cars and vans last Monday at Port Irene in Sta. Ana town is an apparent defiance to the January 2013 ruling of the Supreme Court banning importation of vehicles.
"The Senate needs to investigate why everyone in the Philippines is prohibited from imported (sic) vehicles except the entity created and protected by Enrile. What makes him so special?" she asked.
Enrile's nephew Jose Mari Ponce is currently the Vice Chairman of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza), which runs the port while his daughter Katrina is a member of the Board of Directors.
The port was also hit by the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) in 2008 for the entry of imported second-hand luxury vehicles as Enrile, who hails from Cagayan, denied at that time his involvement in the trade.
Five years later, the SC upheld the constitutionality of Executive Order 156 issued by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo imposing a partial ban on the importation of used cars.
The SC ruled that vehicles imported from abroad "may only be stored, used or traded, or exported out of Philippine territory, but cannot be imported into the Philippines outside of the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area."
This means the importation of vehicles by the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, which Enrile helped created through Republic Act 7922, is barred.
Reports said that CSEZ refused to abide by the SC order because the permits were issued prior to the decision last January 7. Santiago debunked this claim, saying the SC ruled for the constitutionality of EO 156 as early as 2006.
She added that CEZA's interpretation would only benefit its "favored" contractor and would "open the floodgates for antedated import permits."
Santiago earlier called for a probe into Enrile's claim in his memoir that he was ambushed while going home in 1972, thus laying the basis for the proclamation of martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos.
Enrile welcomed the possible investigation this July while his ally Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada dismissed it as a “waste of time,” considering important laws that should be passed by the chamber in the upcoming 16th Congress. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)