Erap: Nothing wrong with Enrile's 'cash gifts'

Posted at 01/25/13 1:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Joseph Estrada sees nothing wrong in Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile's distribution of cash as additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds for senators.

Estrada on Thursday said it has long been tradition to do so within the Senate, even when he was still there.

There is nothing irregular, as long as everything is properly liquidated and accounted for, he said.

Estrada said it will only be wrong if the funds are pocketed by the senators for personal use.

On the matter of Enrile's chief of staff having too much freedom in and access to Senate sessions and decision-making, Estrada said it is just matter of Enrile trusting his people to help him fulfill his functions.

He sees no wrong in a chief of staff participating in caucuses if the subject at hand is one the officer is familiar with.

Estrada, however, regrets that the word war in the Senate has gotten too personal.

"They are senators," he said. "They should not act that way."

Vice President Jejomar Binay, meanwhile, declined to be interviewed on camera about the rift at the Senate, but said he and Enrile share the same style of governance.

Binay said he also delegates important tasks to his most trusted people in order to efficiently fulfill all his duties.

And to Binay, that is just what Enrile did with his chief of staff, Atty. Gigi Reyes.

To Binay's knowledge, Reyes is one of the "brightest" in her league.