MANILA, Philippines – She has made up her mind.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s chief of staff, lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, packed up her things from her office after her irrevocable resignation.
“She got her things already. Yes, [it’s final]. She said irrevocable resignation in her letter,” Enrile’s media relations officer Lizette Nepomuceno told Rappler in a text message on Monday, January 28.
The move means Enrile was not able to convince Reyes to change her mind to stay. The Senate President earlier said he is asking her to reconsider.
Reyes resigned last week after Enrile got into a personal and ugly squabble with Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.
In a radio DZMM interview last week, Reyes branded Cayetano as a “hypocrite” for questioning the selective release of Senate funds when he has been receiving the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) in past years.
In his privilege speech, Cayetano questioned Reyes’ behavior, and her seemingly huge influence in the Senate.
Reyes released a statement on Friday, January 26, on her irrevocable resignation. She apologized to Cayetano and cited her disagreement with Enrile on handling the Senate funds controversy as a reason for leaving.
For Reyes, Enrile should have resigned irrevocably as Senate President because many of his allies and even Senate Secretary Emma Lirio-Reyes supposedly refused to defend him in public.
“My resignation is also due to an honest difference of opinion with my principal, the Hon Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, on how to respond to all these mad and baseless accusations of public fund misuse,” wrote Reyes.
The controversy stemmed from Enrile’s decision to exclude 4 critics from the receipt of P1.6 million each in additional MOOE last December.
Cayetano, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Pia Cayetano, and Antonio Trillanes IV only got the first tranche of MOOE of P600,000 each in November, and a Christmas cash gift of P250,000 each.
‘A woman’s sentiment’
Beyond the Senate funds controversy, Enrile said Reyes resigned because of insinuation that they have an “illicit relationship.”
Enrile told reporters in Laguna last week, “She did not talk to me when she filed her resignation. She just wrote a letter. Well you are a woman, if there’s an insinuation about you that your boss is your boyfriend, [how would you feel]?”
The Senate President denied having an affair with Reyes.
Reyes also took exception to the rumors.
In her statement, she said, “I still wish that the Senate President’s family and my own family could be spared from the hurt brought about by malicious insinuations and imputations regarding my personal relationship with the Senate President- just to whet and feed the public’s appetite for gossip, to gain political points, and to inflict more pain as if the pain and ugliness we have all witnessed and suffered were not already enough.”
Cayetano has denied being the source of the rumors. Yet he accused Enrile and Reyes of being against him because of their ties to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the Tingas, his wife’s political rivals in Taguig.
Cayetano is married to Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, who defeated Retired Justice Dante Tinga in the 2010 mayoral race. Tinga filed an election protest to contest the results.
Sen Panfilo Lacson told reporters Monday that majority senators have finally agreed on a “ceasefire.”
Senators also agreed to turn over documents to the Commission on Audit to liquidate their use of Senate funds. – Rappler.com