MANILA, Philippines -- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has "tyrannical tendencies" following Enrile's unequal fund distribution to fellow senators and recall of 2 employees from the office of Trillanes.
Enrile earlier admitted giving P2.2 million in maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) budget each to 18 senators last Christmas while distributing only P250,000 each to Senators Trillanes, Miriam Santiago, Pia Cayetano and Alan Peter Cayetano.
In an interview with radio dzMM Wednesday afternoon, Trillanes said 2 of his staff were removed from his office last week without explaining why.
"Wala hong binigay na dahilan pero siyempre malamang eh Senate President discretion," he said.
He claimed it was done intentionally by Enrile, whom Trillanes said has been abusing his power as head of the Senate.
"Definitely sadya 'yan, ano," he said.
"It shows a lot about the man, about Senator Enrile, kung anong klase siyang tao na medyo may tyrannical tendencies pag binigyan mo ng kapangyarihan," Trillanes added.
Trillanes also said that the Filipino people are lucky to not have Enrile as president.
"Kahit papano malaking pasasalamat ng mga Pilipino at hindi po naging presidente 'yan. Dahil kung tumakbo 'yan nung 1998...Ay buti na lang nakapili naman tayo ng iba," he said.
Then Vice-President Joseph Estrada won the presidency in 1998.
For now, Trillanes said he will just let Enrile exercise his discretion in the Senate. But Enrile should not expect that senators will still give him support, he said.
"Sa ngayon ang instinct ko ay tanggapin lang kung ano man ang mga binibigay niya o binabawi niya. Sabi ko nga, 'yan ang consequence pag tinalo mo ang Senador Enrile."
"Definitely wala na siyang suportang maaasahan sa amin. Kung sa hinaharap ay umaasa siya na 'yung mga ganyang tactics, leadership style will win him the confidence of the other senators eh I doubt it," Trillanes said.
Trillanes figured in a word war with Enrile September last year after Enrile accused him of being a national security risk for interfering in high-level diplomatic talks between the Philippines and China over a territorial dispute.
Trillanes walked out of the Senate session hall while being questioned by Enrile on his role as a backroom negotiator of the Philippines with China on the conflict over Scarborough Shoal.
Enrile: Nothing irregular in employees' recall
Enrile, meanwhile, denied irregularities in recalling the employees detailed to the offices of Trillanes and Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.
"It is true that some Senate Secretariat employees who have been detailed to the offices of these two senators were recalled to their mother units effective 15 January 2013," he said in a press statement.
"However, I would like to point out that I gave such instruction to the Office of the Senate Secretary to recall these employees as early as December 6, 2012. The assignment for their detail had actually expired already and it was only proper that these high-salaried personnel should be sent back to and be utilized by their respective mother units," Enrile explained.
He added that the 2 employees detailed to the office of Cayetano are from the Blue Ribbon Office, while 2 employees detailed to the office of Trillanes are from the Senate Economic Planning Office and the Office of the Senate Secretary.
"I should also point out that even when employees detailed to their offices have been recalled, there are still 2 Senate Secretariat employees who have remained assigned to the Office of Sen. Alan Cayetano, and 1 Secretariat employee still detailed to the Office of Sen. Trillanes," Enrile said.
"The Office of the Senate Secretary signed and issued such recall order last 3 January 2013, and effective only yesterday, 15th of January," he said.