Enrile accuses Trillanes of copying billsBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines –Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile on Sunday accused Senator Antonio Trillanes IV of copying the bills that he filed in the chamber, saying the latter could not even pass a bill of his own.
In response to Enrile’s attack, Trillanes challenged the Senate President to file an ethics case against him.
Enrile made the allegation in an interview over a radio station when told about Trillanes’ claim, through his chief of staff, Reynaldo Robles, that the former rebel-soldier was the principal author of the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law.
In an apparent attempt to justify his boss’ role in the back-channel negotiations between the government and China over the disputed Scarborough Shoal, Robles claimed that Trillanes was the principal author of the law.
“Sya? E ako ang gumawa ng baseline law. Kinopya pati nya yung ang anti-trust law ko na hindi man lang humingi ng permiso sa akin e. Kinokopya lang nya yung mga bills na pina-file nya (Him? But I was the one who made the baseline law? He even copied my anti-trust law without getting my permission. He only copies other’s bills and files them as his own),” Enrile said.
“My God, who is this guy? Why don’t you look at the record? Ang gumawa ng baseline law na ini-sponsor ko, si Tito Mendoza, hindi Trillanes. Ibinasura yung kanyang baseline law (It was Tito Mendoza, who made the baseline law that I sponsored, not Trillanes. His baseline law has been rejected). This guy is presumptuous,” he said.
In fact, Enrile said Trillanes could not pass a bill in the Senate without the help of his colleagues.
The two used to be allies in the Senate but they parted ways when Trillanes accused the Senate leader of railroading the passage of a bill that seeks to divide the province of Camarines Sur.
In retaliation, Enrile accused Trillanes of protecting the interest of China during the back-channel negotiations.
Despite their differences, Enrile said he would not use his position to unseat Trillanes from his committee chairmanships, which he acquired while he was member of the majority bloc.
“Hindi ako ganun e, magtatanggal dahil may alitan. E di magtrabaho sya, tingnan natin kung makakapasa sya ng bill (I’m not kind that person who will unseat him because we have differences. But he should work, let’s see if he can pass a bill),” said the Senate leader.
“E kilala ko ang kakayahan niyang tao na yan e. Ano ba ang naipasa niyang bill kung hindi nakiusap para maayos, tinulungan syang maayos na mga palpak na bills na ini-sponsor nya, hindi nya masagot-sagot na mga questions,” he added.
Enrile also doubted Trillanes’ efforts to have him ousted from his post.
He also questioned Trillanes’ competence to launch an ouster move against a Senate President, warning the senator that he could be booted out.
“Ok lang yun. E kung gusto nilang ilagay si Trillanes na president ng Senado, salamat sa Diyos (That’s OK. If they want Trillanes to be Senate President, thank God),” Enrile said.
In reaction, Trillanes said Enrile should file an ethics case against him if he has issues with the bills that he filed in the Senate.
“Just to educate Senator Enrile, in public policy making, there is no such thing as copying since best practices are supposed to be emulated. You don’t always reinvent the wheel,” Trillanes said when sought to comment on Enrile’s allegation.
“If Singapore managed to curb corruption in a certain way, it would be wise for us to imitate them,” he said.
In both houses of Congress, Trillanes said, legislators may re-file bills that would reflect advocacies and could solve socio-economic political problems.
It is common place, he said, to see several senators filing the exact same bill.
“If Senator Enrile doesn’t know this yet, I’m willing to conduct a seminar for him. Otherwise, he can file an ethics case against me and he’d expose his ignorance to the whole world,” Trillanes added.