MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, member of the Nacionalista Party (NP), distanced himself from Sen Antonio Trillanes IV’s decision to bolt the Senate majority coalition.
In an interview on Thursday, September 20, Marcos denied text messages saying that he was behind Trillanes’ move and supposedly plans to install Sen Ralph Recto as the new Senate President.
Marcos said he just laughed when he saw the text messages. He said the “analysis” was far-fetched and makes no sense.
Marcos and Trillanes are partymates in the Nacionalista Party (NP). The other members of the NP in the Senate are former Senate President Manuel Villar and the Cayetano siblings Alan Peter and Pia.
“Sinasabi it is an NP move. Kung NP move, bakit si Trillanes lang ang lumipat,? If it’s a coup, wala namang nangyari. Wala namang nangyari na change of leadership.” (They say it’s an NP move. If it is, how come it was just Trillanes who bolted? If it’s a coup, nothing happened. There was no change of leadership.)
Marcos stressed that Trillanes acted on his own.
“What Senator Trillanes said were very specific to him as an individual. He did not make accusations of the Senate President that he was moving against one party, one group. The entire episode yesterday was an act of an individual senator,” Marcos added.
Recto: Not interested
Recto also denied involvement in the reported plot to oust Enrile, saying he is not interested in the position and trusts Enrile’s leadership.
He stressed that while he is identified with the Villar bloc (both are friends), he is not seeking to replace Enrile.
On Wednesday, September 19, Trillanes accused Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile of railroading the bill dividing Camarines Sur upon orders from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
But Marcos, chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee, said the controversial bill dividing the province will not be approved in time for the filing of certificates of candidacy on October 1 to 5.
Marcos told reporters that the bill has yet to hurdle second reading.
“I’m not sure what will happen, to tell you the truth, because essentially the bill became moot …. We come back on [October] 7th after filing so I don’t know where the discussion is headed.”
Congress will go on break from September 22 to October 7 to allow politicians to file their certificates of candidacy.
NP members in the Senate have opposed the bill supposedly to support the position of Camarines Sur Gov Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr.
Villafuerte is against the bill, pitting him against his father, Camarines Sur Gov Rep Luis Villafuerte Sr. The elder Villafuerte is one of the proponents of the bill and has been actively lobbying for it.
‘CamSur bill moot for polls’
Those who want to divide Camarines Sur though will just have to wait until after the 2013 elections.
The bill has become controversial with allegations that feuding families from Camarines Sur are only pushing for its approval to secure positions in the 2013 polls.
On Wednesday, September 20, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV also accused Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile of railroading the passage of the bill upon orders from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Both Enrile and Mrs Arroyo have denied this.
“No. She (Arroyo) never called nor talked to JPE about it,” Arroyo spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn said.
“We are deeply saddened that her name is being dragged again into another controversy and this time being wrongly used to sow disrespect to a venerable and independent institution like the Senate,” Horn added.
Arroyo’s son, Camarines Sur Rep Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo, is a co-author of the bill and will also supposedly benefit from the division.
‘No lobby from Arroyo, Enrile’
Marcos told reporters he has not received any feelers from Arroyo or Enrile to push for the bill. He said the ones lobbying for the bill are the proponents: Camarines Sur Representatives Luis Villafuerte Sr (3rd district) and Arnulfo Fuentebella (4th district).
The senator said Enrile just reminded him about the timeframe for its passage.
“What he has been continuously reminding me is time is of the essence. Remember that this has a hard deadline, which is the filing so we need to beat the deadline … but he would always preface it as ‘I’m not telling you what to do but this bill has a time element.’”
In a separate interview Thursday, Enrile also denied railroading the bill and receiving a call from Arroyo about it.
Enrile also revealed that it is Trillanes who is plotting to unseat him. Enrile said the plan was hatched after he asked Trillanes in a Cabinet meeting what authority he had to be a back-channel negotiator with China.
“Dapat sinabi niya sa akin gusto niyo maging Senate President, ibigay ko sa kanya kung meron siyang suporta,” Enrile said. (He should have told me he wanted to be Senate President. I will give him the position if he musters the support.) – Rappler.com