MANILA - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is confident that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will be ousted from his position before sessions end for the 2013 election campaign period.
"From the first day this afternoon up to the last day, puwede 'yan," Trillanes told reporters on Monday, the first of nine remaining session days before the Senate goes on break.
Trillanes, who's openly leading efforts to remove Enrile, said the number of senators who agreed to his plan is now close to a majority. He refused to say who and how many they are, and declined to give details about how the plot is shaping up.
But he is still waiting for the nod of four senators who belong to the ruling Liberal Party (LP): Senators Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, and Franklin Drilon, who is seen to replace Enrile if he is ousted.
"Ang number naming ngayon, kung madadagdagan ng LP senators, lampas na kami sa kailangan," Trillanes said.
Thirteen senators are needed to oust a Senate President.
Trillanes has been at odds with Enrile since last year because of Enrile's alleged railroading of a bill to divide the province of Camarines Sur. Enrile denied the accusation and hit back at Trillanes for his backdoor negotiations with China over a territorial dispute.
Recently, Enrile came under fire from some senators, most notably Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, for distributing the chamber's savings last year as supposed cash gifts to fellow senators except those critical of him.
But Trillanes said the cash gift issue is not even a factor in his efforts to oust Enrile. He compared Enrile to former Chief Justice Renato Corona, whom the Senate impeachment court fired last year for not truthfully declaring his wealth.
"Kung malalaman n'yo lang 'yong mga kasalanan ni Senator Enrile noong nakaraan at ngayong kasalukuyan, barya lang ang offense ni Chief Justice Corona," he said.
He added that Enrile must be removed from the Senate presidency so he will not be able to use his office's resources in the upcoming elections. Enrile is a leading figure in the United Nationalist Alliance, the administration party's main opponent in the polls.
Trillanes said he is intentionally declaring his plan to oust Enrile in public. "Sa akin kasi, harapan dapat. Hindi tayo sanay sa mga pailalim na laro."
The senator, who was jailed before for leading a coup attempt against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, also said Malacanang does not have a hand in efforts to remove Enrile.
Trillanes said he and other senators behind the plot do not belong to LP, and therefore do not need to get President Aquino's blessing.