Liberal Party denies pushing for Enrile’s ouster-A A +A
Thursday, September 20, 2012
MANILA -- The Liberal Party (LP) on Thursday denied pushing for the removal of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile from his post.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., LP vice chairman, said the ruling party has no complaints on the leadership of Enrile, especially after the Senate handed a guilty verdict on former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“Let me say that categorically, that I have never heard of any plan to oust the Senate President. The President owes a lot to him not only because of the way he handled the impeachment of then-Chief Justice Corona, but for other measures that came up before the Senate,” Belmonte told reporters.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who will run for re-election under the LP ticket next year, quits the majority bloc on Wednesday, saying he has “lost trust, faith and confidence” in Enrile’s capability to lead the Senate.
Members of the Nacionalista Party (NP), also Trillanes’s party, shot down the possibility for them to lead the ouster plot against Enrile.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he still has faith in Enrile’s leadership.
“I don’t see it happening because the only senator that made any indication about dissatisfaction with the leadership is Senator Trillanes,” he said.
“I think he has done a very good job leading the Senate,” Senator Ralph Recto, a member of the LP, added.
Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, also an NP member, said he has not heard of any plan to change the Senate leadership even during the coalition talks with the LP for next year’s polls.
“A change in leadership needs a majority. Talks started when the Nacionalista and the Liberal party announced a coalition for the upcoming elections. But we’ve clarified so many times that the coalition is for the 2013 elections and this coalition is still a work in progress especially when it comes to having a common platform,” he told reporters.
But Enrile doesn’t care if he will be removed from the position he has been holding since November 2008.
Last week, Enrile confirmed of a brewing coup in the Senate but he refused to name the senator, who turned out to be Trillanes.
“It’s not of my interest. I don’t care whether he’s (Trillanes) talking to anyone. He can go ahead and if he wants to elect himself as Senate President, by all means,” he said.
Meantime, Enrile denied that he was called by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to railroad the passage of the bill creating the new province of Nueva Camarines out of Camarines Sur.
Although he is a friend of the former leader, Enrile said it was his first time to learn that Arroyo allegedly has a personal interest on the measure.
“I don’t think that there is any senator here who knows that the former president is interested in the division of CamSur (Camarines Sur). This is strange information to us, which makes me believe that Trillanes is lying,” he said.
For now, Enrile said he has no plans of reconciling with Trillanes.
“I have no time for a man like him. I’m not a hypocrite. You take me on, I’ll take you on. If you win, I’ll submit to you,” he said.
LP secretary general Joseph Emilio Abaya, meanwhile, said Trillanes will remain an asset to the ruling party even after the senator’s word war with the veteran lawmaker.
Trillanes is one of the three NP members who will run under the LP senatorial line-up in the 2013-midterm elections.
The other two is re-electionist Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, and former Las Piñas City representative Cynthia Villar.
Aside from the NP, the LP is also working on a coalition with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said the LP is scheduled to talk with the NPC Friday to decide if their candidates will run with the ruling party.
One of the NPC candidates is Enrile’s son, Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile.
“Tomorrow (Friday) we’ll talk with NPC, for the fifth time. We don’t know yet who among their members will be included in the LP slate. It could be Chiz, Loren or Jack. We’ll know tomorrow,” Gonzales said, referring to re-electionist Senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero. (Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)