By David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com | 01/23/2013 5:48 PM
MANILA, Philippines – A word war between Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano went “down to the gutter” after Enrile said Cayetano’s father, the late Sen. Rene Cayetano, still owed him P37 million.
In a privilege speech, Cayetano castigated Enrile and his chief of staff, Gigi Reyes, for dragging him and his sibling, Sen. Pia Cayetano, in a word war over Enrile’s use of the Senate funds.
He again called for an independent audit of the Senate’s funds, particularly Enrile’s use of half a billion pesos in discretionary funds.
In response, Enrile pulled out a piece of paper and said Cayetano’s father still owed him P37 million for putting up a law office.
“Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa nababayaran ang utang niya na ginastos niya sa opisina namin na itinayo ko para mayroon siyang pampakain sa pamilya niya. P37 million po. Hanggang ngayon ay hindi namin sinisingil alang-alang lang sa pagsama sama namin,” he said.
Cayetano, however, said he did not know of any debt that his father owed Enrile.
“My father worked for every single centavo and it is unfair for you to bring that up. How can he explain when he’s dead?” he said.
He said that even if his father did owe Enrile money, the Senate President also owed the late Cayetano gratitude for putting up his law office.
“May utang na loob din kayo pero hindi namin siningil,” he said, pointing out that Enrile kicked his father out of the law firm when the latter ran for senator.
Enrile then asked who paid for Cayetano’s house. The younger senator said the house was paid for through a loan in the bank.
“E yung mga kahoy?” Enrile asked, drawing laughter from the Senate gallery.
“Yan po ba yung issue?” answered Cayetano.
Cayetano said the Senate President was always obfuscating the issue by refusing to answer how Senate funds are being used and liquidated.
The Senate President then chided Cayetano: “Akala mo yata hindi ako preparado.”
He also said: “I will not go down to the gutter.”
Cayetano, however, would not let Enrile off.
“You already did. You have already gone to the gutter. Your chief of staff has already gone to the gutter. This is irrelevant to the discussions here. And you are bringing these things up,” he said.
Enrile, Gigi Reyes chummy with GMA
Enrile has come under fire for distributing P1.6 million each to 18 senators in additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds last December. Only 4 senators – the Cayetanos, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV – were not given the largesse.
In his privilege speech, Cayetano particularly attacked Reyes for calling senators “hypocrites” for complaining that they did not get additional funds from Enrile.
“This is the first time that a chief of staff of a senator had the gall to call a senator a hypocrite. Ito na ba ang bagong asal sa Senado under the Enrile Senate presidency?” he asked.
He also pointed out that he did not grant any media interviews when the issue came out.
Cayetano said Enrile and Reyes had personal enmity against him because of their alleged closeness to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.
He also said that Reyes’ best friend is the wife of Associate Justice Dante Tinga, who is the political nemesis of Cayetano’s wife, Lani, in the mayoral race of Taguig.
He said Reyes’ sister-in-law is a councilor of Taguig and is the number one critic of Mayor Cayetano.