Enrile, Trillanes word war erupts in Senate over Scarborough Shoal negotiations
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV traded accusations on Wednesday over a bill seeking to divide Camarines Sur province and the senator’s role as special envoy of the Philippines in the Scarborough Shoal dispute with China.
It was Trillanes who first stood up on the floor and announced that he was leaving the majority bloc to join the minority group after he exposed the alleged caucus called by Enrile in his office in the Senate last July 24.
Trillanes did not reveal what they discussed in the caucus but said “suffice to say that I was shoved aside for the nth time.”
“I got out of that caucus feeling trampled upon by a bully determined to get his way,” he said.
“My neophyte instincts were telling me then to just keep the peace and get out of his way. But then the public servant in me just couldn’t let thing pass,” said the senator.
Enrile said the bill should be passed immediately “to immediately relieve him of the pressure”, Trillanes recalled.
“What, the great Senator Enrile could be pressured? I remember him saying otherwise during the last impeachment proceedings,” he said.
“Is the pressure coming from Congressman Villafuete who we see often loitering about the senators’ lounge, the Senate President’s office and even possibly lobbying on [the bill] while we are in session?”
Trillanes said he kept on looking for a possible explanation for Enrile’s “irrational behavior” until a news report came out alleging that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called the Senate leader to speed up the passage of the bill.
“With this totally unexpected twist, everything seemed to fall into place. Now, there remain only two possibilities: That our Senate President is deeply indebted to GMA [Arroyo’s initial] or the he is a GMA lackey,” he said.
“Either way, I have lost trust, faith and confidence in Senator Enrile’s capability to lead the Senate along the path consistent with the reform agenda that I espouse.”
“I, therefore, manifest that I am leaving the majority and consequently joining the minority effective this day,” Trillanes added.
Enrile, who was presiding over the session, suspended the proceeding and took the floor to answer Trillanes allegations.
But when Enrile started to expose the alleged real story behind Trillanes in the Scarborough negotiations, Trillanes refused to answer the Senate leader and walked out, prompting Enrile to call his colleague a “coward”.
Originally posted at 3:58 p.m.