MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile on Thursday dared anyone to take him to court if he has violated any law when he gave 18 senators an additional P2.2 million fund each last year.
Enrile, in a radio interview, insisted that he did not violate any law when he gave the fund, representing the additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of the 18 senators.
“Alam ko yun at hindi na kailangang ituturo ng isang taong halos medyo bumagsak sa bar examination, alam ko yun e. Wala akong nilabag na batas,” he said.
(I know that and I don’t need to be lectured by a person who almost flunked the bar examination. I did not violate any law.)
“Kung inaakala ng kung sino man na ako’y lumabag sa batas, kasuhan nila ako. I will be very happy para maipakita ko naman ang kagaguhan ko at kagalingan ko sa husgado,” he said.
(If that person thinks that I’ve violated the law, then file a case against me. I will be very happy because I would be able to demonstrate my expertise in court.)
Aside from Enrile, only four of 23 senators did not get the last two tranches of the funds amounting to P1.6 million and they are Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Senators Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
But all 23 senators, Enrile said, got the first tranche of the fund , which is P600,000, given to them in November 2012.
In fact, Enrile said, Santiago received all the additional MOOE he gave to her from 2008 to 2011.
“Ngayon binago ko ang sistema, hindi ko na binigyan ang minority. Binigyan ko sila sa first tranche…Umalma sila noong hindi nila natanggap yung mga sumunod na mga tranches,” the Senate leader added.
(Now I changed the system, I did not include the minority. I gave them the first tranche…They complained when they did not receive the next tranches.)
Enrile also disclosed that when he gave all 23 senators a P250,000 Christmas bonus from the savings of his own office, Santiago allegedly deposited the money in her private bank account.
Enrile said he knew about it because when Santiago returned the P250,000 to his office, her aide supposedly mentioned in a letter that the money was “inadvertently deposited in her account.”