MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile defended Thursday his chief of staff, Gigi Reyes, and again dug up the alleged P37 million debt owed by the father of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
In an interview, Enrile said he approved all memos issued by Reyes, including handwritten orders that barred 4 senators from receiving P1.6 million each in additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds last December.
“Aprubado ko lahat yun. Ganyan ako sa lahat ng hinawakan ko maging sa Bureau of Customs, Department of Finance, Insurance Commission, Department of Justice, sa Department of Defense. Meron akong tao na kumpiyansa ako. Sila ang namamahala sa opisina. Sila ang inuutusan ko na maging administrative officer at sila ang nagde-decide ng detalye,” he told Punto por Punto host Anthony Taberna.
“Ako lang ang gumagawa ng desisyon. In-authorize ko sa kanila. Dine-delegate ko ang kapangyarihan sa kanila,” he added.
Enrile admitted that Reyes had submitted her resignation yesterday but that he had refused to accept it.
“Yes, she resigned. I did not accept it but her resignation is irrevocable. Pakiusapan ko at kailangan ko siya sa Senado. Siya ang nakakaalam nung aking trabaho sa administrative work sa opisina,” he said.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano earlier criticized Reyes for saying in a media interview that some senators were hypocrites for making a fuss over the P250,000 checks issued by Enrile’s office to 4 senators. She said that as minority senators, they should not expect additional funds from the Senate leadership.
Enrile had earlier confirmed that he distributed P1.6 million each in additional MOOE to 18 senators and none to Cayetano, et al.
In response, Cayetano said it was Reyes who signed handwritten memos that removed the names of 4 senators from receiving additional funds. He noted that Enrile and Reyes are close to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband, Mike Arroyo.
He also said that Reyes’ best friend is the wife of Associate Justice Dante Tinga, who is the political nemesis of Cayetano’s wife, Lani, in the mayoral race of Taguig.
He said Reyes’ sister-in-law is a councilor of Taguig and is the number one critic of Mayor Cayetano.
In the same interview, Enrile again raised the issue that Cayetano’s father, the late senator Rene Cayetano, still owes his office P37 million.
He admitted that his blood pressure shot up to 100/50 during Cayetano’s tirade on Wednesday. He said he got mad when Cayetano allegedly insinuated that it was the late senator who made Enrile rich by putting up the Pecabar law firm.
“Kasi yang mga personal na atake, na ako raw ay pinayaman ng tatay ni Cayetano at gumawa daw siya ng law office kung saan ako ay naging kasama at yumaman, ay hindi totoo yun e sapagkat ako ang iniyakan niya na gumawa ng law office dahil pinatatalsik siya sa ACCRA,” he said.
“Sinasabi niya may utang pa ako e ang tatay niya may utang pa sa opisina. Pwede niyo tanungin na naiwan na partner sa ACCRA kung ano ang impresyon nila sa tao na yun. Humingi ng tawad sa akin yun bago mamatay,” he added.
Enrile reiterated that he is OK with Cayetano’s proposal to have the Senate’s savings undergo an independent audit.
Asked if he will ever reconcile with Cayetano, he answered: “Bakit pa? Ako, pag ayaw sa akin ng tao sa akin hindi ko pinipilit ang sarili ko. E yung mga yan nung araw, hindi sila magpa-party kung wala ako. Inaantay ako ng mga yan. E ngayon, dahil hindi na ako kailangan, meron na silang ibang koneksyon, iba na ang ihip ng hangin.”
Cayetano earlier said he did not know of any debt that his father owed Enrile. He said that even if his father did owe Enrile money, the Senate President also owed the late Cayetano gratitude for putting up his law office.
“May utang na loob din kayo pero hindi namin siningil,” he said, pointing out that Enrile kicked his father out of the law firm when the latter ran for senator.