MANILA - The chief of staff of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile came to his defense on Monday and called her boss's critics in the chamber “hypocrites.”
Despite today's vote which saw 11 out of 16 senators present vote to keep Enrile's leadership, lawyer Gigi Reyes told radio dzMM that her boss will refile the motion to vacate his post to give a chance for the absent senators to vote.
"Gusto niya mas merong attendance because 'yung mga main critics niya wala dun, baka sabihin nila, 'Kaya niya dineliver [ang privilege speech], alam niyang wala kami','" she said.
Three out of four vocal critics of Enrile--Senators Miriam Santiago, Alan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano--were not present today. Senator Antonio Trillanes voted in favor Enrile's motion to vacate his post.
She claimed that Enrile’s critics are always the first ones to ask the Senate president for additional funds.
Asked how she knows this, Reyes said: “I am the chief of staff of the Office of the Senate President and I am the one who works directly with the Senate secretary with all the administrative and finance matters that are for the Senate President's signature and approval."
In the case of Trillanes, she said it was Enrile who added P5 million to Trillanes' funds because he only handles one committee.
"The majority suggested na we create an oversight committee on government procurement which originally had a budget of less than P10 million... For the 2013 budget, it was the Senate President who suggested that we increase [the budget of] those who only have P1 [million] to P15 million, dahil unfair naman na 'yung iba may P30 million na oversight budget."
She also criticized Senator Alan Peter Cayetano for not returning the additional cash approved by Enrile’s office last year.
"We have to expose these hypocrites. Ilegal ba? Bakit hanggang ngayon, si Senator Miriam Santiago ibinalik niya. Bakit si Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, kinuha niya? Bakit yung last year, kinuha niya, nung 2008 kinuha niya, nung 2009 kinuha niya, nung 2010 kinuha niya, nung 2011 kinuha niya, 'yung 2012 hindi pa niya binabalik?"
She said the Senate president does not approve additional cash during Christmas unless there's a request. "Hindi namimigay si Senator Enrile, kinakantsawan siya ng mga kasamahan niya, 'May pamasko ba?' Lagi siyang nangungunang mangantsaw, si Alan [Cayetano]. This year, ang nangantsaw, may dalawang senador, hindi na namin binanggit."
She also lambasted Senator Pia Cayetano for her comments against Enrile in connection with the Reproductive Health law.
"Nung kainitan ng RH Bill, nakiusap siya kay Senate President na, 'Pwede ba Tito Johnny, huwag ka na lang mag-interpellate pa, huwag mo na ituloy.' Sabi ni Senate Presidente, 'Sige para hindi na tumagal, hindi na'."
Cayetano, however, later accused Enrile of derailing the process, Reyes said.
On Senator Miriam Santiago, she said: "Senator Miriam, while it is true na hindi siya official na sa minority, she has never attended any caucus of the Senate President, of the majority and she's been attacking the Senate President."