MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 4 Dec) – Round two of the word war between Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago exploded today with Santiago insisting that Enrile was the real mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
In a privilege speech meant as her response to Enrile’s privilege speech last Nov. 27 calling her his “bitter and obsessive hater,” Santiago called Enrile “an incorrigible liar and criminal.”
She said that instead of answering accusations about his alleged role in the scam, the former Senate president had directed his speech against her.
“His speech amounted to verbal violence on a woman lying on her sick bed,” she said, adding, “Enrile could have delivered a privilege speech proving his innocence. Instead, he rehashed black propaganda against me.”
Titled “Navigating the Crimes of the Plunder Mastermind,” Santiago’s speech also dug into Enrile’s role as defense minister during Martial Law.
The feisty lady senator cited the faked ambush on Enrile which President Ferdinand Marcos used as one of the justifications for declaring martial law.
She also called for Enrile’s investigation over the deaths and disappearances of Martial Law victims.
“Enrile, contrary to logic and common sense, hopes to evade criminal prosecution and public outrage over his plunder by resurrecting dirt campaign against me which are over 21 years old. Dream on, Tanda,” she said.
Santiago also called Enrile “king of the smuggling empire.”
“Bakit tayo nagbabayad ng ating buwis para kumita ang smuggler na ito?” she asked.
Sounding more personal, Santiago said, “Mr. Dementia tries in his clumsy way to raise suspicions about my mental health. I appear frequently on TV, and I am widely exposed in other media. And yet, despite the repeated innuendoes during election campaigns, the Filipinos have elected and reelected me to the Senate…. By comparison, Enrile with his eternal philandering and unexplained wealth desperately needs a shrink, as a mental health measure. His mind is sick, sick, sick.”
The verbal battle between Enrile and Santiago erupted during the Nov. 7 Senate blue ribbon committee hearing, when she called him “the grandfather of the pork barrel scam.”
Janet Lim-Napoles, the detained alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, attended the Nov. 7 hearing.
Santiago had also accused Enrile of bankrolling the standoff in Zamboanga City between government forces and members of the Moro National Liberation Front-Misuari faction last September.
Enrile, who was seated on the front row beside Senator JV Ejercito, appeared to make light of the situation by playing with his tablet.
The other senators however looked tense and frozen in their seats.
Santiago begged off from a possible interpellation and left after her speech citing “chronic fatigue syndrome.”
Enrile took the floor after Santiago left, and declared “I was standing by what I said about Senator Santiago’s character and mental health.”
He said Santiago did not present an iota of evidence which he could have answered.
He added his record during Martial Law is open for scrutiny.