Enrile confident of majority support amid move to unseat him

January 20, 2010 10:46 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 20 –- Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said on Wednesday that majority of the senators assured him of their solid support amid ouster move believed to have been ignited by the release of a report on the C-5 road extension project involving Sen. Manny Villar.

Enrile named the 13 senators, including him. They are senators Panfilo Lacson, Jamby Madrigal, Gringo Honasan, Mar Roxas, Noynoy Aquino, Bong Revilla, Chiz Escudero, Rodolfo Biazon, Kiko Pangilinan, Richard Gordon, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

”I talked to them one by one and they are solid behind me,” Enrile said in a media interview.

However, the veteran lawmaker from Cagayan Valley clarified that he is not clinging to the position he inherited from Villar who resigned after losing support of the majority in November 2008.

”I’m not clinging to this position, anyway. I just accepted it when it was offered to me,” Enrile said.

Enrile has even assured the media that he can sleep soundly at night, contrary to the opinion of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago the Senate President can ever sleep soundly “because you might wake up and you already have been kicked out.”

”She (Santiago) can watch me while I’m sleeping soundly,” Enrile teasingly said.

The ouster plot against Enrile cropped up on Tuesday when only 10 senators attended the session, foiling the presentation of the report of the Senate committee of the whole chaired by Enrile at the plenary due to lack of quorum.

Enrile warned that if the move to stop the presentation of the report at the plenary will continue, he will bring to the people the content of the report which recommended that Villar be censured and ordered to pay P6.2 billion to the people.

”I will make it as a campaign issue. It is my duty to the people to report the content of the report,” Villar said.

Villar is running for president while Enrile is seeking reelection under the ticket of former President Joseph Estrada who has launched a renewed bid for the position he clinched in 1998. Estrada was ousted two years later.

Santiago confirmed the coup plot is a "work in progress" although Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. denied any involvement in the move the oust Enrile.

”Yes. It is a work in progress. I cannot tell a lie,” Santiago said.

The feisty lady lawmaker, however, declared “it is a waste of my life to pay attention” to the coup plot since the Senate will adjourn in two weeks time.

Santiago, meanwhile, said Villar should speak on the allegations of conflict of interest and unethical conduct.

”Yes, I think so, even only to repeat his point that he did not want to participate because he did not want to submit himself to the jurisdiction of a tribunal from which he had no hope of justice, that is his position,” Santiago said.

Santiago is one of the 12 senators who earlier signed Resolution NO. 1472 dismissing the cases against Villar.

The number was reduced to only 10 when Jinggoy and Pangilinan withdrew their signatures and have instead supported the presentation of the committee report at the plenary.

The committee report is set to be presented at the plenary on Monday. (PNA) V3/jfm

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