Enrile on Gigi Reyes: I will not betray my people

'I am not out to betray any of my people. I’ve never been known for that,' Enrile says

HE'S BACK. Sen Juan Ponce Enrile returns to the Senate, saying he will not betray his people. Photo by Ayee Macaraig/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – “I am not out to betray any of my people. I’ve never been known for that.”

Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile responded to the statement of his former chief of staff who lamented what she called the worst kind of betrayal from him. 

Enrile returned to the Senate on Monday, September 23, and responded to a statement lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Reyes posted on her Facebook page, and quoted by ABS-CBN News.

READ: Gigi Reyes: Nothing worse than ‘betrayal’ by Enrile

In the statement, Reyes criticized pronouncements of Enrile lawyer Enrique dela Cruz that the senator did not authorize his staff to endorse non-governmental organizations as recipients of his pork barrel funds. Dela Cruz had said Enrile only endorsed his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to local government units.

Dela Cruz told Rappler last week, “JPE did not order them to violate the law. He never authorized anyone to enter into an illegal transaction. If they did, it’s outside their authority and they should be held responsible.”

READ: Enrile lawyer: No direct link to scam 

Referring to Dela Cruz’s statement, Reyes said, “If indeed these statements are sanctioned by or coming from my former boss, then nothing can be worse than this kind of travesty and betrayal.”

Reyes said she only acted upon the authorization of her former boss, who had even assured her they will face the charges against them together.

Asked about Dela Cruz’s statement that he did not authorize Reyes to endorse NGOs, Enrile said, “I will not discuss my case if you don’t mind. You wait until I face [it], you see me in the court room.”

The senator refused to entertain more questions. 

Enrile’s former chief of staff is among the 38 people facing charges over the multi-billion peso scam. Besides Reyes, Enrile’s deputy chief of staff Jose Antonio Evangelista also allegedly signed documents endorsing the senator’s pork barrel funds to fake non-governmental organizations of supposed mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. 

Former ZREC head Salvador Salacup named Reyes and Evangelista in past hearings of the Senate blue ribbon committee. ZREC is an implementing agency under the agriculture department. 

READ: Lawmakers charged in pork barrel scam

Reyes resigned in January at the height of the Senate fund controversy. She left the country for Macau before the filing of the plunder complaint as she said she wanted to take a break from all the criticism on mainstream and social media.

READ: Gigi Reyes says sorry, cites disagreement with Enrile

During the session, Enrile took the podium to explain his medical condition “to avoid misunderstanding on the reason why I was hospitalized.”

The former Senate President said he was exercising to lose weight and was sweating profusely. He said he was advised to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day but he eventually had problems urinating.

“Early Saturday morning, I was shaking, I asked the maid to take my blood pressure. It was 220/100. I called up my cardiologist. He said you better go to the emergency room of the Makati Medical Center,” Enrile said.

Enrile was rushed to the hospital on Saturday, September 14, and was discharged on Wednesday, September 18.

His absence raised questions because it came ahead of the filing of a plunder complaint against him over the pork barrel scam. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the complaint before the Ombudsman last week against Enrile and Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada.

The lawmakers are accused of channeling their pork barrel funds to fake NGOs in exchange for kickbacks. They allegedly endorsed the bogus NGOs of Napoles for commissions as big as 50% of the non-existent projects. – Rappler.com 

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