MANILA, Philippines — Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada said he would go down with Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, who has been hounded by persistent talks of an alleged ouster move against him.
“I don’t think Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile will be replaced and if ever he is going to be replaced, if he goes down, I will go down with Manong Johnny,” Estrada said during a Christmas party that he, Enrile and Senator Gregorio Honasan held for Senate media Monday night.
“Just to prove how loyal I am with Manong Johnny. I think the same is true with Senator Honasan and Tito Sotto,” he said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.
“Manong kung saan man kayo, lagi akong nandun [Manong wherever you are, I will always be there].”
“Mr. President, I am your trusted Lietenant. Wherever you go lagi po akong nanuun,” Estrada stressed.
It was Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who recently talked about a possible removal of Enrile because of his alleged defiance to support the government’s measures such as the sin tax and Repreoductive Health bills.
Both bills were approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
But even Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson doubted the alleged ouster move against Enrile, saying it is just in the minds of some and “in the tounge of one.”
“A coup plot happens everyday but in the minds of those wanting to replace the leader of the Senate. Whether it will succeed or not is a different matter altogher,” Lacson said in an interview Monday.
Besides, he said, Enrile’s stand against the RH bill was not a valid reason to remove him from office.
While the bill was a major issue, Lacson said it was not enough reason to change the present leadership in the Senate.
“Because we took different positions on two issues already–sin tax and RH. Yet, I continue to respect and support the leadership of Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile. I think it’s the same with my other colleagues,” he said.
“Kasi kung meron talaga, matagal ng wala si Senate President dun [Because if there really is a coup, the Senate President should have been long gone there],” Lacson added.
Enrile has repeatedly said that he was willing to be removed anytime.
“I have not heard of any efforts against me but I always anticipated that some people will be dismayed with me, at least two. The others, I don’t think they are unhappy,” he said Monday.