MANILA, Philippines – The word war between Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile turns ugly when the topic shifts from Senate funds to personal issues.
Ayee Macaraig reports.
The issue is supposed to be Senate money but senators go into a whole lot more.
Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano delivers a privilege speech on Wednesday on the controversy on Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s selective fund giving.
Cayetano says he wants to focus on the use of taxpayers’ money, an issue he believes Enrile did not address in his offer to resign last Monday.
Yet the senator could not help but get personal.
He explains Enrile has been against him for a long time because the Senate President is allied with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and her husband, Mike.
It’s not just national politics that’s involved.
Cayetano also responds to media attacks from Enrile’s chief of staff lawyer Gigi Reyes.
He says Reyes is the best friend of the wife of retired Justice Dante Tinga.
Tinga is the bitter rival of his wife Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano in the 2010 polls.
ALAN PETER CAYETANO
SENATE MINORITY LEADER
Sa nakakakilala sa amin, hindi kami nakukuha sa pera. Hindi kami hipokrito and we are people who know how to respect other people. But we are also people who know how to stand up for our rights.
The minority leader reiterates his call for an independent, private firm to audit the Senate funds.
But it’s not the budget Enrile responds to.
The Senate President immediately lashes back on an entirely different topic.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE
Tungkol sa iyong yumaong ama. Andito po at hanggang ngayon di niya nababayaran na utang niya na ginastos niya sa opisina namin na itinayo ko para meron siyang pakain sa pamilya niya, P37 million.
Cayetano quickly responds to defend his father, saying the late Senator Renato Cayetano was loyal to Enrile when they worked together in a law firm.
But the exchange gets uglier.
Enrile: Anong utang na loob ko sa inyo?
Cayetano: Di ba pinagsilbihan kayo nang maganda? Yung bahay po namin inutang sa bangko at nabayaran po iyan
Enrile: Yung mga kahoy?
Enrile: Let me answer questions on the budget. I will not go down to the gutter.
Cayetano: You already did, Mr President. You already went to the gutter. Your chief of staff has already gone to the gutter. This is irrelevant to our discussions here and you’re bringing up things where a person who’s already dead cannot answer.
Their fellow senators call for a suspension of session as Enrile’s blood pressure rises.
A calmer Enrile later apologizes but says he stands by his decision not to give additional funds to his critics for a reason he will not disclose.
From the cash to the wood.
Senators sling mud and many other issues as the fund controversy rages on.
Enrile says he’s open to an audit but with all the issues coming out, it remains to be seen how and if the controversy will be addressed at all.
Ayee Macaraig, Rappler. – Rappler.com