Santiago: Enrile bankrolled MNLF rebellion to divert ‘pork’ controversy
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago accused her nemesis, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile, of allegedly financing the Zamboanga rebellion to divert the attention of the public from the “pork barrel” funds scam.
“Enrile is so desperate that he is like a crocodile, who has left his maritime kingdom and is flapping around on land, still hoping to kill his prey. I am morally convinced of his culpability in trashing the COA (Commission on Audit) and its chair, as well as in engulfing Zamboanga City in an expensive rebellion,” Santiago said in a statement on Thursday.
She said Enrile could easily afford the reported P40-million fund to finance the rebellion in Zamboanga by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) if it was true that he had funnelled some P400 million of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to dummy non-government organizations (NGOs) linked to Janet Lim-Napoles.
“According to the whistle-blowers, Enrile reportedly gave some P400 million of his PDAF to Napoles’ NGOs. Thus, in the buzzing public mind, Enrile could easily afford to spend P40 million on the Zamboanga rebellion as a diversionary tactic,” Santiago said.
“ The public should consider his background as defense secretary during martial law, with a proclivity for coddling former police and military officials, and a feckless ambition to rewrite history,” she pointed out.
Santiago was also convinced that Enrile was the mastermind in the “pork barrel” scam, pointing out that he was Senate President at the height of the scam.
“Enrile has moral ascendancy over his colleagues in the political opposition, namely, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Bong Revilla, and Sen. Gregorio Honasan. They could easily have entered into a conspiracy, just as there appears to have been a conspiracy between Enrile and his ill-starred chief of staff, Atty. Gigi Reyes,” Santiago said.
Enrile, Estrada and Revilla are now facing plunder charges at the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly funnelling millions of pesos to Napoles’ NGOs.
The lady senator was likewise convinced that Enrile was behind Estrada’s privilege speech Wednesday, which dragged her and other administration allies into alleged misuse of funds.
Citing the COA report, Estrada identified Santiago as among those whose PDAF-funded projects did not allegedly comply with the procurement law.
“It is the implementing agency, not the senator, who bears responsibility for the project. The reason for listing the senators is to alert them that the agency is falling down on the job. If so, then the lawmakers should reprimand the agency and require full compliance. That is the intent of COA Resolution No. 97-006,” Santiago said.
In his speech, Estrada also alleged that senators who voted to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona received P50 million “incentive” each.
“Again, the mastermind in the distribution of the P50-million bribe could have been Enrile because he was Senate President, and blatantly pro-impeachment at that time,” Santiago said.
She then urged the senator, who allegedly received P50 million, including Enrile and Estrada, to return the money to the government.
“Since the crime has been admitted, the money should be returned to the government. We have to apply the concept of restitution, meaning the compensation paid by a criminal to the government as the victim of plunder, usually as part of a criminal sentence,” Santiago added.
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