Enrile, Santiago unlikely to patch things up soon

Posted at 12/18/12 12:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, two veteran senators who belong to opposing sides of the reproductive health (RH) bill debate, are unlikely to patch things up anytime soon.

Both senators said on Monday they do not plan to talk to each other to settle their recent rift, which was publicized after Enrile reportedly returned to Santiago her Christmas gift to him.

"I'm not a hypocrite. When I don't like a person, I don't like a person," Enrile told reporters. "In fact, I didn't want her to be in the majority when I became Senate President."

Asked if she would talk to Enrile, Santiago said in a separate interview, "Hindi na. Galit siya sa akin eh."

Enrile said he really did return Santiago's Christmas gift, not because of their differences over the RH bill but because of her statement that they have an "ice-cold" relationship.

"I said to myself, 'Maybe she doesn't like me as a person.' Why should I impose myself upon her?" he said.

Santiago said she was offended. "Let me just say I was shocked right out of my skin."

Santiago believes Enrile's actions had something to do with the RH bill because he also reportedly returned a gift from Sen. Pia Cayetano, the measure's sponsor.

Enrile explained, however, that it was a member of his staff who returned Cayetano's gift without his orders. He said he and Cayetano have no problems.

Santiago authored the Senate version of the controversial RH bill, while Enrile is strongly against it.

Because of his stand against administration-backed measures like the RH bill, Santiago had said Enrile may be ousted from his position next year. She added, however, that she doesn't have a hand in it because she's not close to Malacanang.

Enrile doesn't seem to mind the coup rumors.

"Matagal na 'yan," he said. "I've been waiting and waiting and waiting."