JPE, Villafuerte friends since Marcos' rule

Posted at 09/21/2012 10:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Friday admitted Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte is an old friend but denied that the congressman is lobbying for the law gerrymandering the province of Camarines Sur.

"I have never denied that Lui is a friend of mine from way back when we were members of the Marcos Cabinet. We were together in Mr&Ms magazine that spawned another newspaper. He helped me in my political activities," he told ANC's Headstart.

Enrile is a former trade and defense minister under the Marcos regime while Villafuerte is a former trade minister under Marcos.

In the interview, Enrile denied pressuring his fellow senators to vote one way or the other on the bill to split Camarines Sur.

He said various groups often ask him about pending bills.

"They weren't lobbying. They were just asking me to use my leadership to finally bring this matter to a vote so it can be disposed of. After all, this issue will not be decided by the Senate but the people of Camarines sur. There is a plebiscite," he said.

Enrile also did not deny that he is friends with former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He, however, said the Arroyo camp did not approach him to pass the CamSur measure.

"I am a friend of all the presidents all the way to Magsaysay, all the way to President Quirino. I do not know if the Arroyos were interested in this bill because they never approached me," he said.

ANC Headstart, Sept. 21, 2012