Enrile denies lobby for bill seeking to divide Camarines SurBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile denied Friday that Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte was lobbying to push for a bill that would divide Camarines Sur.
“They weren’t lobbying. They were just asking me if I could possibly exercise my leadership to finally bring this matter to a vote so that it can be disposed of,” Enrile said in a televised interview Friday.
“This issue will not be decided by the Senate, It will be decided by the people of Camarines Sur. There is a plebiscite,” he said.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV alleged in a privileged speech Wednesday that Villafuerte was pressuring Enrile to “bully” other senators to vote in favor of the bill.
Trillanes also said that former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had “personally called up” Enrile also to lobby for the bill.
The senate president was “deeply indebted” to Arroyo and was being asked by her to “speed up” the passage of the bill, Trillanes had claimed.
Enrile denied in the interview that he was approached by Arroyo while the former president lamented her name being dragged into the controversy.
“I do not know if the Arroyos were interested in this bill because they never approached me,” Enrile said.
Enrile admitted in the interview that he and Villafuerte have been friends since the regime of former president Ferdinand Marcos.
“I have never denied that [Villafuerte] is a friend of mine from way back when we were members of the Marcos Cabinet,” Enrile said.