Miriam: Info on JPE link to Zambo caper is reliable
Says JPE-Misuari ties highly possible
MANILA -- Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago claims it is in her "good authority" to say that Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was behind the armed conflict launched by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction of Nur Misuari in Zamboanga City.
In an interview with radio dzMM on Friday, Santiago said intelligence reports from her "own circle of sources" showed that around P40 million was spent to finance the rebel group's attacks in Zamboanga, corroborating the claim of Magdalo party-list representatives Gary Alejano and Francisco Acedillo.
"Tama yung sinasabi ng Magdalo party-list na ang digmaan ngayon, ang armed conflict situation ngayon dun sa Mindanao nagtalaga ng mga P40 million," Santiago said.
She said she is certain that the supposed money came from the pockets of Enrile himself, who is being linked to the multi-billion pork barrel scam.
She claimed that Enrile did this to divert the attention of the public from his involvement in the anomaly.
Enrile, along with Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., is facing plunder charges before the Ombudsman for allegedly conniving with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in siphoning billions of pesos from pork barrel funds to private pockets.
"Magdalo already said someone who is involved in the pork barrel scam is sourcing this money. And I have it in good authority that this is Juan Ponce Enrile. Kayang-kaya niya eh," Santiago said.
"Kasi alam natin nakatira yan sa Palasyo. Simula ng martial law, nagpayaman nang nagpayaman yan eh. Ngayon nasangkot siya dito, siya ang number 1 na nagbigay ng pinakamalaking pera dun sa mga Napoles NGOs (non-governmental organizations), na sa computation ng ating media ay hindi kukulang sa P400 million. So kayang-kaya niya magbigay ng P40, P50 million para ma-distract ang atensyon ng tao at ang galit ng tao sa plunder ay mapunta dun sa takot nila sa Zamboanga," she said.
Santiago also said it is highly possible that Enrile has ties with Misuari, which she said is a figure in Mindanao politics, alleging that Enrile "just bought votes that put him into office as senator."
"Basta pag mahuhulog na siya sa eleksyon, hindi siya mag-nunumber 12...siya mismo nag-cocommunicate sa Mindanao at bumibili ng boto doon," she said.
'JPE behind Jinggoy's speech'
Meanwhile, Santiago also slammed Jinggoy Estrada for allowing himself to be manipulated by Enrile, who she said was behind the former's privilege speech on Wednesday.
In his speech, Estrada questioned the supposed irregularities in the fund disbursements of other colleagues including Santiago, Alan Peter Cayetano, and former senators Francis Pangilinan and Manny Villar.
Santiago said her name was the first to be mentioned by Estrada in his 14-page long speech because of Enrile.
"Nalaman ko wala pala yan sa original speech ni Senator Estrada kundi nilagay ni Enrile yan doon."
"Gusto lang tapunan ng putik ang mga pangalan namin," she said.
Pork barrel abolition
Meanwhile, Santiago said she supports the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen.
"Ang aming katungkulan ay magpairal ng panukalang batas, hindi magsabing kailangan natin magpatayo ng school, magbigay ng gamot," she said.
She said lawmakers should stop saying that they need the money to help their constituents in times of need.
She added that this attitude only creates a "culture of dependency" and breeds corruption.
"Kasi sinasanay niyo eh. You yourselves created this culture of dependency. Kasi gusto nila ang umaasa ang taongbayan sa kanila para pag oras ng halalan, masingil nila. 'O tinulungan kita noon, tulungan mo naman ako,'" Santiago said.