Enrile almost resigned, says former aide-A A +A
Friday, January 25, 2013
JUAN Ponce Enrile would have been no longer Senate President if he agreed to the speech prepared by his resigned chief of staff Jessica "Gigi" Reyes on Wednesday.
Reyes disclosed this on Friday, two days after she was accused by Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano of acting like a senator and making decisions, particularly on the distribution of funds, on behalf of Enrile.
"The draft speech I prepared also contained a statement towards the end that he was resigning irrevocably as Senate President. Something that he had been contemplating since Monday when his motion to declare the position of Senate President vacant was defeated," she said.
On Wednesday, Cayetano chided Enrile for his decision to exclude him and three senators as recipients of additional funds for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) which amounted to P1.6 million.
He also called for an independent audit on how Senate funds are spent especially under Enrile’s four-year-old leadership.
Both Enrile and Reyes took exception to Cayetano's statements, saying he only complained when the Senate leader made a distinction between the majority and minority in the traditional practice of distribution of yearend funds.
"I asked myself: Why are the others silent when the Senate President is being accused of being a thief? Is the Senate President supposed to be left alone to explain how the Senate's budget is spent? Does he have control over the expenditures of the Senators and their committees? Was it he who invented the controversial 'one page certification' system of liquidating the Senators' budgets for MOOE?” she said.
Reyes, who worked for Enrile since the late 1980s, said she never supplanted the wisdom of Enrile in how he handles the affairs of the Senate.
Cayetano said it was Reyes who signed the memorandum that disallowed the disbursement of extra funds for him and Senators Pia Cayetano, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Antonio Trillanes IV.
"As to my authority to sign checks, two of us in the staff were authorized in writing by the Senate President to sign the voluminous checks, payrolls and other administrative documents coming from the Secretariat on his behalf. This is not an unusual practice even with the past Senate Presidents," she said.
"It is purely administrative, and I never signed any Senate check without first the signatures of the heads of the offices involved in the process of disbursement and without the signature of the Senate Secretary," she added.
Reyes also took the opportunity to apologize to Cayetano for calling him hypocrite in a radio interview last Monday.
"I am sorry that I was driven by my emotional state, as the Senate President and I viewed and listened while Ms. Karen Davila and Mr. Vic Lima were obviously aghast and scandalized at Senator Cayetano's allegations, apparently believing them to be the whole truth about the disposition of the Senate's budget," she said.
Reyes didn't answer insinuations that she was Enrile's mistress as she wished that the Senate President's family and her own family could be "spared from the hurt" brought by the issue.
"My family, especially my mother and my children, continue to suffer in silence the horrible and distasteful comments they read and hear about me in the media and all over the internet," she said.
With this, Reyes said she would not return to the Senate anymore despite Enrile’s promise to win her back. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)