JPE debunks ‘lies,’ pillories Santiago
SENATE Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said Wednesday only an insane and bitterly hostile mind could fabricate the myth that he was the mastermind behind the P10 billion pork barrel scam allegedly engineered by Janet Lim Napoles.
“All I can say is that this is an outright lie and this is just another one of those baseless fabrications against me from a depraved mind,” said Enrile in a 30-minute privilege speech.
While issuing a general denial, Enrile said he would deal in detail with the pork barrel scam in the appropriate forum.
Enrile again assured the public that he would give his full cooperation to investigator to unearth the truth behind the pork barrel scam, through which lawmakers channeled government funds to ghost projects in exchange for kickbacks.
Enrile and Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada have been charged with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the scam.
Earlier, a report from another newspaper (not the Manila Standard) tagged Enrile as the “unseen hand” behind the pork barrel scam.
But a source in the NBI told the Manila Standard this was impossible, because they found no direct link to Enrile. Still, he was charged because his pork barrel went to bogus non-government organizations and he did nothing to stop it, the source said.
In the same speech, Enrile tore into Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who has repeatedly declared Enrile as the real mastermind.
He said Santiago, whom he described as his “bitter and obsessive hater,” and a “fabricator of falsehood,” had painted him as a murderer, and even accused him bringing armed bodyguards with him into the Senate restroom.
To laughter, Enrile said he was not aware that there was a peeping tom in the Senate.
“I never knew that someone was keeping an eye on me, even when I go to the most private of places here in this building,” Enrile said.
“Besides, unlike some persons familiar to me, I do not think I suffer from any kind of schizophrenic or psychotic paranoia... to need someone with a firearm to visit a restroom, especially in this Senate. True, one of my men normally goes with me to the restroom, but he carries no weapon. He only goes with me to assist me because of my impaired vision,” Enrile said.
“Maybe, my obsessive hater mistook for along firearm, was a tiny gadget that I bing with me to scratch my back when it itches...” said Enrile, waving the backscratcher as if he were swatting “a mischievous fly.”
“I know that I should not dignify with answers these obvious lies flowing as they did from the hallucinated imaginings of a spiteful and bitterly hostile mind. But, I must, I must debunk these unbridled lies from the records of this Senate for the sake of honest truth,” said Enrile.
Enrile’s attack turned personal when he described Santiago as “a parrot who can memorize legal principles but cannot apply them,” and recalled the low mark – 76 percent—she received in the bar exams, including a 56 in Ethics, “the easiest bar examination subject.”
The 89-year-old senator said he was grateful that his nemesis had said during a Blue Ribbon Commitee that he still had a modicum of sex appeal, using the Tagalog idiom “may asim pa.”
“I am thankful to her. But I am sad to say, although it is hurtful to say this, hindi po ako naaasiman sa kanya! (I do not find her attractive),” said Enrile, eliciting laughter from the people inside the Senate session hall.
Enrile dug deep into the past to find a possible explanation for Santiago’s hostility towards him.
He suggested this might have been because he had opposed Santiago’s confirmation as Agrarian Reform secretary during the administration of the laste President Corazon Aquino.
During those confirmation hearings, Enrile said, Santiago admitted that she had seen a psychiatrist.
He had also confronted her about her low bar examination scores and the fact that when she was a regional trial court judge, she was driving a car that had been confiscated by her husband, who worked at the time for the Bureau of Customs.
Enrile also quoted former senator Panfilo Lacson, who described Santiago as a “crusading crook.”
“Up to now, the words of Lacson remain unanswered. They are met with deafening silence from her. I just wonder why,” Enrile said.
Contacted for a response, Tom Tolibas, Santiago’s media relations officer, said the senator would deliver a privilege speech on Dec. 4 to reply to Enrile.