Senators deny oust-Enrile plot after Palace dinner-A A +A
Friday, October 12, 2012
MANILA -- Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile may still hold on to his post as the third highest official in the land after his colleagues denied rumors of removing him soon.
Senators Franklin Drilon, Edgardo Angara and Alan Peter Cayetano said they don't see any chance for a leadership change to prosper even as Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier admitted of working for Enrile's ouster.
Enrile and Trillanes engaged in a verbal tussle last month over the younger senator's role as backchannel negotiator of the Philippine government with China over territorial spat in the West Philippine Sea.
"There's so much in our plate to think of politics for now," said Angara, who was Senate President from 1993 to 1995.
Drilon, also a former Senate President and member of the ruling Liberal Party, junked reports that Enrile will be replaced, saying he has not expressed interest.
Reports of a possible Senate coup resurfaced when President Benigno Aquino III hosted a dinner in Malacañang on Wednesday for senators who voted for the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona in late May.
The private gathering had been long overdue, said Drilon, and should not be given political color.
"Can we guarantee that there will be no leadership change? No one can guarantee that because that is a prerogative of the majority of the members. But right now, I have always said, from a much-ignored minority of three, we have become a much-feared minority of four. Just you wait when we become five," Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said.
Cayetano and sister Pia, Trillanes and Senator Joker Arroyo compose the minority bloc. At least 13 votes of the 23-member chamber are needed to elect a Senate President.
"Right now, there is no truth to those. In the Senate, in the event that this happens, it is sudden. The more public it is, the more it will be discussed, the more that those who don't want a coup to occur will talk to others. The mere fact that it is being discussed means there is no coup," Cayetano said.
Enrile, whose second term ends in 2016, will celebrate his fourth year as Senate chief this November. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)