MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday challenged Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to file a case against him over allegations that he allegedly favored Chinese interests in the Scarborough Shoal issue.
Trillanes and Enrile continued their word war on Thursday, which started after the younger senator bolted the Senate majority due to loss of faith in Enrile’s leadership.
Speaking to ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda, Trillanes said he sees nothing wrong with his backchannel talks with Chinese officials since he received authorization from Malacañang. He again denied favoring China in the ongoing dispute over Scarborough Shoal.
He then challenged Enrile to file a criminal case against him if he committed any criminal violations based on the alleged notes of Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady. He said in a later interview that he doubted the authenticity of Brady's notes, given Enrile's alleged history of fakery.
“Kung siya may nakita siyang any criminal act dun sa nakasulat dun, siya ay magaling na abugado. In fact, I challenge him, Senator Enrile, kung meron akong ginawang mali, file-an mo ako ng kaso,” he told Punto por Punto host Anthony Taberna.
“I am challenging you - kung wala kayong ipo-produce, you better keep quiet. It’s all propaganda. Panlilinlang.”
In the same program, Enrile said he sees no need to file a case against Trillanes.
“I will not waste my time on you. You are not worth my time,” he told the neophyte senator.
He denied inventing the Brady notes, saying that he has numerous classified files from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
He also accused Trillanes of being a “spokesman for China” and criticized the younger senator for allegedly calling DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario a traitor.
For his part, Trillanes said Enrile’s ruse was a smokescreen to hide the fact that he is a secret supporter of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He earlier accused the Senate President of receiving instructions from Mrs. Arroyo to rush the passage of a bill that would divide Camarines Sur, an accusation that Enrile denied.
The younger senator said Enrile’s history shows that he is secretly supportive of Mrs. Arroyo.
“He never said anything about the plunder case of GMA, about the wrongdoings of GMA. In fact, he fought for GMA's bail and for her to get a medical leave abroad. During Arroyo's time, he was Arroyo's lawyer in the Senate. Tagapagtanggol ni GMA,” he said.
Enrile countered that Trillanes would have rot in jail had he not intervened with Mrs. Arroyo during the past administration. “That guy would have rot in the can, jail if I did not work for his release as Senate president. That is how grateful he is,” he said, referring to Trillanes’ long confinement for leading the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny.
Trillanes, however, said full credit for his release from prison should go to President Aquino since it was the latter who granted amnesty for all those involved in the mutiny.
“Even assuming na meron akong utang na loob kay Senator Enrile, does that give him the right to trample upon my dignity as a person and my office as a senator of the republic?” he asked.
Enrile then replied: “As far as I am concerned, Mr. Senator, you do not deserve my respect. I am telling it to your face.”
“Well, the feeling is mutual, Senator Enrile,” Trillanes answered.