MANILA, Philippines - Some senators on Thursday denied Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is railroading the passage of the bill seeking to divide the province of Camarines Sur, contrary to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV's claim when he delivered a scathing speech against Enrile on Wednesday.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, who is not in favor of the measure, pointed out that the bill has in fact been pending at the committee level for a long time.
"Hindi mo masasabing minamadali," he said, adding that Enrile never pressured him or other senators to vote in favor of it.
"Wala naman siyang sinabi sa akin on how to vote," Pimentel said.
Sen. Gregorio Honasan II said that Enrile's style in discussing bills is to always have "maximum consultation."
Enrile makes sure every senator is able to give his or her input, he added. "Ang importante dito, may consensus building. Wala akong nakitang railroading or bullying or imposition."
"Lahat ng mga sensitive and delicate issues, ikinokonsulta niya sa ibang senador. Never did he become a bully in the Senate," said Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada.
Enrile reiterated that he never railroaded the measure, and said he's not personally interested in its progress.
He said he simply entertained those lobbying for the measure, and denied ever getting a call from former President Gloria Arroyo to hasten the bill's passage.
Enrile recalled that when senators were discussing the bill in a caucus last July, Trillanes came in late and wanted to stop the discussion.
"Ang gusto niya hindi naman pag-usapan. Hindi puwede yun," Enrile said. "Who is he? He's only one vote."
For Enrile, Trillanes only issued the Camarines Sur issue to cover-up for what he believes is his irregular role as a backdoor negotiator with China over disputed territories.