Friday, February 1, 2013

Enrile Scandal in the Philippines

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile Tuesday belittled comments he should have submitted an irrevocable resignation instead of declaring the Senate President post vacant.

"I have not committed any wrong to resign but since there was so much talk about something that is not understood well, I decided to ask for the vote of confidence of my peers whether they want me to stay or not," Enrile said in a media interview.

Although seven senators were absent, a total of 11 senators voted to reject the motion of Enrile to declare his post vacant while two abstained and three, including Enrile himself as movant, voted in favor.

"I'm glad that they expressed their position and I am thankful to them," Enrile said.

Enrile, however, said he is still waiting for his critics in the Senate to muster the number of votes "necessary to make me resign."

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III believed also that Enrile was just seeking a vote of confidence when the Senate President moved to declare his position vacant.

"It's a vote of confidence. He is seeking a vote of confidence," Sotto said, admitting he was surprised by Enrile's move.

"I was advised that he was going to deliver a privilege speech but I did not expect him to make that motion," Sotto added.

On the comment by Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano that Enrile's motion was scripted, Sotto said: "That's unfair accusation."

Sotto challenged Enrile's critics to focus on finding a way to replace the 88-year-old lawmaker "but you cannot expect him to resign."

"He made that motion to see if the majority will agree," Sotto said.

Sotto explained that changing the Senate leadership during the remaining few weeks of the 15th Congress is a disaster and will put aside important pending bills.

"If that happens during the last two or three weeks of the Congress, then you throw the legislative branch of the government into shambles. Why? Because there will be reorganization. Forget all the pending bills," Sotto explained.

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