Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile’s senatorial bid must now depend on his own merits and not on his father’s, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, after the latter, one of the leaders of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bowed out of the campaign due to an eye disorder.
Saying that his son Jack was better prepared academically than he ever was, the elder Enrile expressed confidence the former could promote his senatorial bid with his “breadth of knowledge and the broadness of his vision.”
“I told UNA that because of my physical condition right now, I’m suffering from a right eye hemorrhagic condition,” Enrile said in an interview at his residence in Makati City, “I have difficulty moving around going up a stage, going around when it is dark. I told the leadership of UNA that while I wanted to join the sorties, my doctors told me that I shouldn’t do any stressful activity.”
Enrile, 89, said his eye condition not only impaired his eyesight but also his balance.
He made the remarks as Jack slid down in the rankings out of the top 12 in the senatorial race, according to a Social Weather Stations’ survey in February. From being tied at eighth and ninth places in January, Jack dropped out of the winning slots to 13th place in February.
“That’s a reality because of the incessant attacks on me. My son has nothing to do with these issues and it is unfortunate that he’s being affected,” the elder Enrile said.
Enrile had to fend off negative publicity after his controversial release last Christmas of P1.6 million each in additional funds for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) to his colleagues except for four senators perceived to be critical of his leadership.
He was also criticized for the P250,000 he gave as a gift to each senator from the savings of his office.
Last week, a Commission on Audit (COA) report named Enrile, Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. as the sources of priority development assistance or pork barrel funds that went to a bogus nongovernment organization through a government corporation controlled by the Department of Agriculture.
In all instances, Enrile denied involvement in any irregularity.
“That’s the unfortunate part of it but with God’s help, it’s still a long way before the elections, there is time to explain the situation to the people,” he said.
Enrile said he had told Jack it would be better if his 54-year-old son campaigned on his own.
“In the case of my son, I told him it’s better that you go to the field and be judged on your own. Baka iboto ka lang dahil sa akin. Ipaalam mo sa kanila kung anong kakayahan mo [They might vote for you just because of me. Make them aware of what you can do],” Enrile said.