Quantcast
Latest Stories

Who’s afraid of Juan Ponce Enrile?

By

Who is afraid of Juan Ponce Enrile?

Twenty-six years after he silenced political opponents as Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law administrator, Juan Ponce Enrile either still evokes fear or those hoping he would be ousted as Senate President are too disorganized to get him out of his post.

The number of senators needed to topple Enrile is out there but no one seems interested in actually moving to oust him. One reason for this, longtime Senate observers say, is that Enrile currently enjoys a high popularity rating, based on recent surveys.

Replacing Enrile was not on the menu when President Benigno Aquino hosted a private dinner in Malacañang on Tuesday for senators who helped oust  Chief Justice Renato Corona in an impeachment trial in May.

One senator said Enrile could rely on only three loyalists—Senate President Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto and Sen. Gregorio Honasan—to cast their lot with him, at least for now. The four are collectively known as the Senate’s “macho bloc.”

The senator whom the Philippine Daily Inquirer talked with requested anonymity because he did  not want to be seen as interested in the job.

The senator said knowing that Enrile and his supporters could be easily outnumbered was enough to inspire discord.

‘It’s anomalous’

“It’s just simply a case of seeing Enrile up there lording it over when he only has three followers. Why is that?  It’s anomalous!” the senator said.

Fears of a Senate coup remain a hot topic among the chamber’s employees. A common sentiment is that Senate workers like Enrile because he is generous with year-end bonuses for them.

Enrile has maintained he would welcome a replacement any time and that he has no plans to cling to his post.

Senators Ralph Recto and Franklin Drilon of the Liberal Party and Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party have been touted as possible successors.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV recently admitted working for Enrile’s ouster after a bitter public quarrel with him over the West Philippine Sea territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.

Counting the numbers

At the session hall on Monday as the coup rumors flew, the Inquirer asked Trillanes if there was really a move to oust Enrile. Trillanes only smiled and said, “I don’t know.”

The source said anyone interested in becoming Senate President could tap the minority bloc composed of Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, his sister Sen. Pia Cayetano and independent Sen. Joker Arroyo.

Trillanes can also be counted on for support, as well as the Nacionalista bloc of Villar, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

“That’s already a total of seven, a formidable group,” the source said, adding that Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., president of Lakas party, could also be convinced.

Like children, sometimes

“Add the senators from the Liberal Party—Francis Pangilinan, Recto, Drilon and (Teofisto) Guingona III—and that would make 12.  Puwede nang mawala si  JPE (Enrile can then be removed),” the source added.

The source said Enrile had gained enemies among his original supporters, or those who signed the Senate resolution backing him as Senate President in July 2010.

“So many things have happened,” the senator said, adding that Enrile’s  opposition to the reproductive health (RH) bill and his verbal tussle with Trillanes were only two of them.

But those thinking of becoming the next Senate leader would not only have more work in his hands, the source said.

“The chamber itself is unwieldy.  Sometimes the senators also behave like little children.  It’s not just the discontentment with Enrile’s leadership.”

Sensible option

Marcos said  “the problem is there are no takers (for the position of Senate President).” Besides, it is only Trillanes who has openly admitted he is working for Enrile’s ouster, he added.

Marcos told reporters the possibility of Enrile’s ouster was remote. “I don’t think there is a plot under way—Maybe I’m out of the loop,” he said.

Marcos added it would be more “sensible” to replace Enrile in the next Congress after the 2013 midterm elections.

No Senate politics

Senators supposedly plotting to oust Enrile—who obviously remains in the good graces of Mr. Aquino—skipped Senate politics as they broke bread with him.

Eighteen senators were present at the dinner, including all the possible contenders for Senate President—Franklin Drilon, Edgardo Angara, Villar and Pangilinan. Except for Pangilinan, the other three had previously served as Senate leaders.

“It was a long delayed thank you dinner initiated by Malacañang between the President and the 20 senators who voted in favor of conviction in the impeachment trial,” Pangilinan said on the phone. “It was simply dinner and small talk.”

No singing

There was music, Pangilinan quipped, “but no singing among senators.”

Asked about the significance of the President dining with the senators, Pangilinan said this proved that “both Malacañang and the Senate are committed to working together to ensure the President’s reform agenda is given the legislative support needed for it to be realized.”

Trillanes was also at the dinner.

“If it had anything to do with any coup, why would we have both JPE and Trillanes in the same dinner?” Pangilinan said.

“Only Chiz was absent because it was his birthday,” Pangilinan said, referring to Escudero. Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III also could not make it as he was still in the United States.

The dinner lasted beyond 10 p.m. “but a few stayed behind,” Pangilinan said. With a report from Michael Lim Ubac

Originally posted at 09:21 pm | Thursday, October 11, 2012


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Congress , Edgardo Angara , Francis Pangilinan , Franklin Drilon , Government , Gregorio Honasan , Jinggoy Estrada , Juan Ponce Enrile , Manuel Villar , News , Politics , Ralph Recto , Senate , Senate President , Tito Sotto




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Massive infra spending set
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  8. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • Captain not at helm of capsized Korean ferry–probers
  • 4.9 quake jolts Batanes on Maundy Thursday
  • Presidents, celebrities mourn writer Garcia Marquez
  • MH370 search to be most costly ever at $100 million — analysts
  • Iraqi guilty of beating wife to death in US
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement