Enrile dismisses ouster threat; admits returning Miriam’s X’mas gift

SENATOR Juan Ponce Enrile on Sunday brush aside the new threat of ousting him as senate president for delaying the passage of the Reproductive Health bill after returning the Christmas gift sent by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

“Ako, kagaya ng sinabi ko, ako naman eh at the disposal of my fellow senators. I have no Torrens title in the position. Kung may numero sila, ako (naman) ay magpapahinga, walang problema doon,” Enrile said in a radio interview.

Earlier, Santiago hinted anew that Enrile will be ousted as senate president after the latter returned the gift she sends to his office by saying it is un-parliamentary and unethical and tantamount to filing of an ethics case against the Senate chief.

“It is not personal, nabasa ko nga ang istorya, totoo iyon, na ipinasoli ko ang regalo,” Enrile said.

But Enrile explained that he return the gift because he cannot accept a present from someone who does not consider him as a friend where their relationship is as cold as ice.

“Una, kung natatandaan ninyo, sinabi nya na ang relasyon niya sa akin ay ice cold, tinanong siya, ninong mo iyon, eh sinabi nya na naging ninong ko lang iyon is a matter of status. Meaning, hindi nya ako ibinibilang na kaibigan, o isang taong malapit sa kanya. Kaya nang matanggap ang regalo, hindi ko binuksan at nakita ko may tarheta, pero mayroon just a card. Nakapangalan sa akin, at galing kay Miriam, eh kami mga senador, every Christmas, ginawa ng aming mga staff, at least yan ang aking experience, akala ko nagkamali ang staff nya na pinadalhan ako, ibalik ko na lang,” Enrile explained.

Enrile also lamented that if Santiago considered him as her ninong in her marriage with former Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jun Santiago, she should put a personal note on the gift.

“Walang ganoon eh (Dear Ninong), sabi ko baka nagkamali ang opisina nya. Kung ang posisyon nya na hindi ako malapit sa kanya, am just an ordinary person to her, at kinuha nya lamang ako bilang ninong for status, kung tama ang nabasa ko, at narinig ko, sinabi nya at sabi niya na ang aking relasyon sa akin ay yelo, eh bakit ipipilit ko naman ang aking sarili na kaibigan nya, Sana naman akong nagsosolo sa buhay eh,” Enrile said.

“Ganoon na nga (without personal note), noong sinabi niya na ice cold ang relasyon nya sa akin, tinignan ko na iyon, hindi kasi ako nagkukunwari na kung ayaw sa akin ng tao, hindi ko ipipilit ang sarili ko sa kanya, at hindi siya ituturing na kaibigan. Bakit pa ako tatanggap ng regalo sa kanya,” he added.

Enrile also revealed on Sunday that Santiago applied to him as an assistant when he serves as the Secretary of Justice during the Marcos dictatorship, which he accepted even she has low grade in the bar examination.
“Nag-aplay sa akin na maging assistant ko sa Department of Justice, binigyan ko siya ng trabaho, kahit ni-review ko ang grades nya sa bar, ay medyo mababa, pero pinagbigyan ko dahil maganda ang academic records nya,” Enrile said.

After a while, Enrile said, he was asked by Santiago to be the godfather on their wedding.

“Kinuha akong ninong, siguro akala nila sikat ako noon, dahil malapit ako, at isa ako na miyembro ng medyo notorious na administration na iyon,” he said.

Enrile also denied that he convince Santiago to be his running mate in the 1992 presidential election, which they both lost to former President Fidel Ramos. Santiago runs for president under her own party, People’s Reform Party (PRP) while Enrile ran under the Nacionalista Party (NP).

“I never convinced anyone to run with me in 1992, no way. Baka si Boy Reyno ang nakiusap sa kanya. I never talk to anybody yet to run with me as vice president. So, I withdraw kasi watak-watak na ang Nacionalista Party noon. Eh, ayaw nilang mag-convention, what is the reason for me to look for a vice president to run with me, when I am not sure that I am going to run for president?,” Enrile explained.

“It did not happen; I don’t even know that she will run for president. How would I know? How can I talk to her to become my vice president when I opposed her confirmation as agrarian reform secretary?” Enrile added.

Enrile explained that he opposed the confirmation of Santiago as secretary of agrarian reform department because the lady solon refused to return the Toyota sport car she used owned by Pots Trinidad, the former vice president of Philippine National Bank (PNB).

“Because kinuha nya ang kotse ni Pots Trinidad, vp ng PNB, Toyota sports car, ginagamit nya, ayaw isoli, she was a judge. Kinausap ko Vic Abad Santos para kausapin siya. So I oppose her, kaya hindi siya nakalusot,” Enrile said.

Also, Enrile revealed that Santiago was accepted as member of the majority in the Senate because Senator Manny Villar intervenes on her behalf even she did not vote him as senate president.

“Eh nakiusap sa akin na tanggapin ko siya at ipinakiusap ni Manny Villar. Nagmeeting kami sa Shangrila Hotel, at humingi si Manny ng meeting. Eh dahil kaibigan ko yan, nag-set up ng dinner, pinagbigyan ko si Manny na maging member ng majority si Miriam dahil kay Manny,” Enrile said.

Enrile added that Santiago needs Villar’s intervention because he really does not want her to be included in the present majority.

“Dahil ayaw kong maging member siya ng aking majority eh. Sa totoo lang, iyon ang katotohanan. Alam mo nang kausapin ko siya, dahil may numero na kami noong 2008, kung na sumama sa akin, ayaw akong kausapin. Ayaw makipag-usap sa akin. Sabi ng bahay nilla, nagpunta daw sa simbahan. Noong tumawag ako ulit, sinabi nila nagpapahinga, kinausap ko naman si Jun Santiago. Sinabi ko Jun puwede makausap ko si Miriam, eh sinabi hindi puwede dahil nagpapahinga,” he lamented.

But, Enrile as president of an institution, and a colleague in the government service, said he does not have any grudge against Santiago.

“Hindi ko siya hate. Hindi naman ako nagtatanim ng masamang kalooban kahit kanino, pero kung hindi ako gusto ng isang tao, hindi ko pinipilit ang aking sarili,” Enrile added.

Enrile also argued there is not either un-parliamentary or unethical on his actions because anyone has the right to refused anything, gifts or friendships, from anyone.

“Hayaan mo na lamang iyon, at kung inaakala niya na nainsulto siya o iniinsulto ko siya. Problema na nya iyon, alam nya ang gagawin nya, puwede nya akong idemanda sa ethics. Walang dishonour doon eh. Kung ayaw kong tumanggap ng regalo kaninuman, o ayaw kong maging kaibigan sinuman, eh bakit ipipilit nila na tatanggapin ko sila na kaibigan,” he concluded.

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