MANILA, Philippines – Senator Juan Ponce Enrile fires back at Senator Miriam Santiago in a privilege speech. Calling her “cuckoo and inane” Enrile says Santiago is “the grandmama of all falsehood fabricators” and a “spiteful and bitterly hostile mind.” Enrile also tries to demolish the lady senator’s law credentials, saying she “nearly flunked her bar examination.”
Ayee Macaraig reports.
He has been silent for months – all throughout newspaper exposes, a plunder complaint and an Ombudsman investigation. But it took one woman to get him talking: Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile fires back at his fiercest rival for allegations she made during the Senate probe into the pork barrel scam.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Sinabi nang senadora sa Blue Ribbon hearing na ako daw ay may asim pa. Ginoong Pangulo, nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya. Ngunit ikinalulungkot kong sabihin, at kahit masakit man banggitin, hindi po ako naa-asiman sa kanya! (The senator said in the blue ribbon hearing that I still have appeal. Mr President, I thank her, but sadly I want to point out, even if it is difficult to say, I do not find her appealing at all!)
Enrile denies plotting to assassinate alleged mastermind Janet Napoles to prevent her from pointing to him as the real brains behind the scandal. The defense minister during the martial law regime says he is not murderous.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Mr. President, I never murdered anyone during all of my almost 90 years on this planet. For someone to say with impunity that I killed someone, whether here or anywhere else, or that I am planning anyone’s murder, is the “Grandmama” of all falsehood fabricators.
Enrile even responds to Santiago’s statement that a bodyguard with a long firearm accompanies him to the restroom.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I never realized until that Blue Ribbon hearing that we have a “peeping Tom” in this Senate. Mr. President, perhaps my obsessive hater is the only one, in all these years, ever so blessed to see someone carrying a long one in the Senate restroom!
While he devotes his speech to attacks against Santiago, Enrile barely addresses her claim that he, not Napoles, orchestrated the plunder of taxpayers’ money.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Only an inane and bitterly hostile mind could fabricate such a canard. I am aware that the public has been waiting for me to speak up on this matter, but for now suffice it to say that there will be a time and a more appropriate forum to deal in detail with the alleged PDAF scam.
Instead, Enrile traces the root of Santiago’s anger. He says Santiago is getting back at him for opposing her confirmation as agrarian reform secretary and refusing to give her committees with big budgets. He says for all her pride, Santiago is not the legal expert she presents herself to be.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I am sorry to say that this former judge does not seem to understand the basic meaning of due process. Every law student knows that due process simply means, “you hear first the evidence before you condemn.” Now I know why she nearly flunked her bar examination. A parrot can memorize legal principles but it cannot apply them.
Santiago is on sick leave but vows to retaliate in her own privilege speech on December 4th.
Enrile versus Santiago. They are two of the most prominent legal luminaries in the country whose careers and rivalry endure decades and controversies.
As they fight it out over the pork barrel scam observers hope the privilege speeches won’t just be personal and entertaining, but help the public get to the truth of the massive corruption scandal.
Ayee Macaraig, Rappler. – Rappler.com
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