MANILA, Philippines – If Sen Antonio Trillanes IV is to be believed, then the Senate may have a new President by early February.
Trillanes predicted on Monday, January 21, that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will be ousted by the time the Senate adjourns for the May 2013 election.
He said he is only waiting for 4 Liberal Party senators to complete the 13 votes needed to oust Enrile.
Trillanes said he just needs Senators Franklin Drilon, Teofisto Guingona III, Francis Pangilinan and Ralph Recto to join the number of senators who have agreed to oust Enrile, although Trillanes would not disclose to reporters who they are or how many have gone on board.
"Our numbers at the moment, if joined by the LP senators, will be more than the needed number [to oust him]," he said.
Trillanes has been transparent about his efforts to replace Enrile.
The two clashed last year – with Trillanes accusing Enrile of being a lackey of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and the latter calling Trillanes a fraud – in a Senate session that saw Trillanes walk out and leave the majority coalition.
They have been openly bitter towards each other since.
Much worse than Corona
Talks of replacing Enrile started soon after, in September, but senators in Trillanes' party, the Nacionalista Party, denied being behind the plot.
Trillanes said that Enrile must be replaced to ensure that he does not use his power and resources in the 2013 midterm elections. Enrile's son Jack is running for senator.
Trillanes is seeking re-election under the administration's slate, while Enrile is a member of the opposition, the United Nationalist Alliance. The youngest senator denies that Malacañang has anything to do with plans to remove Enrile.
Drilon, an LP stalwart, is being eyed to replace Enrile if efforts to oust him are successful.
Trillanes also compared Enrile to impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was removed by the Senate impeachment court for failing to truthfully declare his wealth in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
"If you only knew what Senator Enrile has done in the past and what he is doing now, the offense of Chief Justice Corona is negligible," he said.
Enrile, the oldest senator, has been under fire most recently for giving 18 senators P1.6 million each as a cash gift over the Christmas holidays, billed as additional Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses. He refused to give 4 senators – his critics in the senate and minority members – additional funds, only approving P250,000 for them.
Trillanes was one of those who did not receive the additional cash. – Rappler.com