Enrile, Cayetano in ugly word war
by Ayee Macaraig
Posted on 01/23/2013 5:30 PM
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate word war between Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and his critics got ugly and deeply personal, dragging the late Sen Rene Cayetano, Taguig politics, former President Arroyo, and Enrile's chief of staff into the issue.
The explosive exchange between Enrile and Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano began after the latter delivered a privilege speech to respond to Enrile.
In his privilege speech on Wednesday, January 23, Cayetano sought to respond to the controversy over Enrile's exclusion of his critics in the receipt of Senate funds.
Cayetano said he wants to answer the main issue: the use of taxpayers' money but he eventually got personal, hitting Enrile and his chief of staff, Gigi Reyes' ties to Arroyo and the Tingas, his wife's political rivals in Taguig.
Cayetano's wife is Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano. Retired Justice Dante Tinga lost to her in the 2010 mayoral race, a victory that Tinga questioned before the Commission on Elections.
"Dati pa kayong galit sa akin ni Atty Gigi kasi kasama kayo ni GMA. Si Ma'am Gigi best friend niya ang asawa ni Justice Tinga." (You and Atty Gigi have long been angry at me because you are allies of GMA. Ma'am Gigi is the best friend of the wife of Justice Tinga.)
Cayetano lamented Enrile's leadership, saying he has long suffered in the selection of committee memberships because he is in the minority. Yet he said he chose to keep quiet but decided to respond now because the minority's name is in question.
The minority leader called on the Senate to allow a private auditing firm to look into its finances, saying it cannot investigate other agencies when it is "under a cloud of doubt."
Enrile was quick to the draw, immediately standing to respond to Cayetano.
In his rejoinder, the Senate President immediately brought up Cayetano's late father, saying he owed him P37 million in their law office. Enrile and the late Cayetano were law partners in Pecabar law firm.
"Tungkol sa iyong yumaong ama. Nandito hanggang ngayon, 'di nabayaran utang niya na ginastos sa opisina namin na tinayo ko para may pakain sa pamilya niya, P37M." (About your late father. Here until now is his debt, what he spent in our office that I started to feed his family worth P37 million.)
Cayetano took exception, saying his father supported Enrile and owed him nothing.
“Nung tumakbong senador aking ama, he practically gave his life to you. Nung panahon ni Cory, siya ang katabi niyo. Nung EDSA, siya ang katabi niyo. Nagtiis din siya sa law office.” (When my father ran for senator, he practically gave his life to you. During the time of President Cory, he was with you. In EDSA, he was with you. He also suffered in the law office.)
Enrile shot back. “Anong utang na loob ko sa inyo?” Cayetano replied, “Ang bahay namin inutang sa bangko.” Enrile said, “Pati kahoy?” (“What is my debt of gratitude to you?” “We had a debt to pay for our house.” “Even the wood?”)
At this point, Sen Franklin Drilon sought to suspend the session as the exchange got even more intense
Yet Enrile still spoke. “I won't go down to gutter.” To which Cayetano replied, “You already did. You involved a person already dead who can't answer."
Before Cayetano’s privilege speech, the mood was already tense.
The Senate had a 40-minute caucus prior to Cayetano’s speech. During this period, his sister Sen Pia Cayetano tweeted that she “walked out of the caucus.”
“I'd rather sit beside my brother and listen to him breathe in an empty session hall than listen to such hypocrisy,” Pia Cayetano tweeted.
The Senate session is suspended as of posting time. – Rappler.com