MANILA – Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday continued to harangue resigned Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile after the latter accused him of being ungrateful.
Speaking to ANC, Trillanes said he is frustrated that Enrile continues to twist the facts on how much help the resigned Senate President actually extended to him.
Trillanes admitted that Enrile visited him twice while he was still incarcerated for leading a rebellion against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Trillanes was elected senator in 2007 but was only released after being granted amnesty in December 2010.
“Alam mo this is one character na lumabas in this sad episode. Yung panunumbat. Ang galing niyang manumbat ano. Pero ito yung totoo niyan. He visited me kasi he was the Senate president ano. Kailangan niyang anuhan lahat. When he visited me, nung paalis na siya yung mga kasama kong sundalo na naka-detain duon nangantiyaw lang na baka pwedeng bigyan sila ng lechon. Kami naman, we can very well afford that. Yung lang, that one incident. Tapos parang lumalabas pinapakain niya kami. Hindi yun ano,” he said in the interview.
Trillanes said President Aquino granted him amnesty on December 6, 2010, which would only take effect on January 6, 2011 after a 30-day grace period.
Enrile speeded up the process of Trillanes’ release by signing a resolution from the International Parliamentary Union that called for the senator’s release. The resolution allowed Trillanes to leave jail on December 20, 2010, right before Christmas.
However, Trillanes pointed out that the IPU resolution had been on Enrile’s desk for more than a year, unsigned. He said Enrile only signed the resolution after Aquino granted amnesty.
“Had I known that this two-week period isusumbat sa akin e sana hindi ko na lang sana kinuha yun? What’s two weeks? I spent 7 Christmases in detention and I wouldn’t have minded another one kung ganyan din lang,” he said.
Trillanes acknowledged that he is grateful to Enrile for all the help he extended but noted that it does not make him subservient to the older senator.
“May utang na loob tayo but still it doesn’t mean that I am beholden to you or I am your aide de camp or something. No. When it comes to public policies or policies that would affect the constituents, my constituents, I will hold my ground. That is the case. You cannot keep dangling it on my face, na may utang na loob ka sa akin. You’ll have to be subservient. No. That’s not my thing,” he said.
Trillanes, who is a member of the Nacionalista Party, said his ties with Enrile soured after he disapproved of how the Senate President was conducting himself during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
He said Enrile used the trial as “leverage for concessions.”
'JPE lied about being deprived'
Trillanes also raised the issue of Enrile’s distribution of the Senate funds particularly the additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds given to 16 senators last December.
Trillanes said Enrile’s official story has always been that he “deprived” himself of the P1.6 million because he (Enrile) did not include himself in the list of senators to get the largesse.
“He’s trying to make it appear that: ‘I gave everybody P1.6 million, I didn’t get anything for myself.’ No. That’s a lie. The Office of the Senate President has about P800 million in MOOE. If you remove P200 plus million for the actual operations, then he has more than P500 million at his disposal. Even if you remove the 1.6 million times 20 – let’s round it off to P30 milion. How much is left? P470 million? He is turning this thing around again. He is trying to make it appear that he deprived himself. No because P470 million at least was left at his disposal,” he said.
He said one way of seeing Enrile’s favoritism in the Senate is how oversight committees were distributed to his allies in the upper chamber.
“If you will see the list, you will see the disparity and see how Senator Enrile played favorites during his term. There is that big disparity. For example, most of the senators would get P30 million-P40 million per year while the non-favorites would get P10 million a year,” he said.
Trillanes reiterated that Enrile’s resignation was meant to preempt his removal as Senate president in the next Congress. He said his ongoing word war against Enrile also showed that he is not afraid to speak out against leaders who are doing wrong even if they are popular.
“When we had this encounter late last year, I was very much aware of the fact that [Enrile] had a very high approval rating but it never mattered to me and to us ever since. Remember when I stood up against GMA in 2003, she was also a media favorite back then. But we had to say what we needed to say,” he said.