Enrile resignation theatrics, drama – Trillanes

MANILA, Philippines – “It’s more theatrical than anything.”

Sen Antonio Trillanes IV and Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano branded the irrevocable resignation of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as theatrics, saying it does not address the Senate fund controversy.

Following Enrile’s resignation on Wednesday, June 5, his critics said his resignation does not answer questions about how he spent and liquidated Senate funds.

Trillanes said Enrile’s resignation on the second to the last Senate session day did not accomplish anything.

“I’m not buying it. It’s not a graceful exit because it’s inevitable that he will be replaced, whether you preempt it or not. It just provided the drama of the day for the media, but the country will move forward with or without him.”

Trillanes added: “It’s sad but that’s who he is. The public will see that, what kind of man he is.”

Enrile resigned citing the Senate fund controversy as the main reason. He said he will no longer allow his critics to use his name to evade questions about how they used Senate funds.

Trillanes said though that despite his resignation, Enrile’s office should be audited because it receives huge funds as the office of the former Senate President.

Alam naman natin kung ano ang kasaysayan so all these rants sa akin is just coming from a bitter man,” he said. (We know the history so all these rants to me are just coming from a bitter man.)

‘Show documents, auditing’

Cayetano said he was saddened that Enrile had to resign on the last session days when the outgoing senators were supposed to give their valedictory addresses.

Yet he said he must be held accountable for his use of Senate funds.

Cayetano has questioned how Enrile liquidated the P250,000 checks he gave each senator last December as Christmas gift. This is separate from the MOOE he gave his senators who are not critical of him.

“Simple lang naman ang tanong namin: Paano ni-liquidate ang tig-P250,000? Ito ba ay Christmas gift, at kung totoong daan-daang milyon ay puwedeng ilipat ng Senate president at pirmahan lang ito?” (Our question is simple: How did he liquidate P250,000? Was this a Christmas gift or is it true that hundreds of millions can be transferred the by the Senate President with just a signature?)

“If the Senate President wants to clear his name, the solution is not to resign but to face it directly but until now, he has not released documents,” Cayetano added.

Cayetano also responded to Enrile’s statement that it is up to the individual senators to explain how they liquidate their own funds. The minority leader said Enrile cannot escape liability for the P250,000 checks he issued.

“What about the P250,000 he gave? He can’t just say that the funds which came from his office, he already gave to other people. He can’t say it’s up to them to explain because they already have it. He also has liability because he was the one who gave that away. I cannot accept that the P250,000 is a Christmas gift and it’s up to senators to liquidate.”

Cayetano said his question is simple but remains unanswered.

“I just want to know how much of Senate funds is liquidated with receipts and how much by mere certification. I don’t think that’s hard to answer and he needs to resign.”

‘Enrile grievances understandable’ 

Up until the controversy, senators have liquidated expenses through mere certification, not receipts. Yet the controversy led Sen Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Accounts, to urge his colleagues to change the rule, and require receipts for liquidation.

Lacson, who defended Enrile at the height of the controversy, said Enrile’s resignation was a long time coming. “Binabanatan siya. Siya ang whipping boy, sangga siya nang sangga.”  (They were attacking him. He was the whipping boy and he kept fending off the attacks.)

Asked what Enrile’s resignation signified, Lacson said: “Sama ng loob. Matagal nang masama ang loob niya dahil sa nangyari sa Senado. Nagsimula, siya ang personally ina-attack, nadamay pa ang kanyang anak. Nasama rin sa batikos kaya, unfortunately, 'di rin nanalo (Grievance. He has long held grievances because of what happened in the Senate. It started out, he was being attacked personally, then his son. His son was dragged into the fray so, unfortunately, he also did not win)."

Lacson was referring to Enrile’s son, defeated senatorial bet Jack Enrile. The elder Enrile made mention of his son in his resignation speech, saying it pained him to see him bear the brunt of attacks against him.

Lacson said he and Enrile met with the House of Representatives and the Commission on Audit (COA) to iron out the new rule in liquidation, requiring receipts. Yet last year, Lacson said he was the only senator who submitted receipts to COA.

The outgoing senator though said he stood up for the Senate, not Enrile. “I defended the institution because we were all being criticized that there was a conspiracy of silence and we just pocket the money at the end of the year. That was when I stood up because our integrity was under attack.”

Lacson had questioned why Santiago criticized Enrile when she was silent when she received MOOE in past years. This led to a separate word war between Lacson and Santiago. 

Santiago was not present in Wednesday’s session. – Rappler.com