After weeks of silence, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday fired back at Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago who had accused him of masterminding the pork barrel scam, bankrolling the siege in Zamboanga City and being a killer.
In a privileged speech, Enrile said the accusations were the work of “a distorted, degraded, and deranged mind.”
While he did not name Santiago, it was clear that he was referring to the feisty senator because it was she who prodded Janet Lim-Napoles when she faced the Blue Ribbon panel to tell all before the senators implicated in the pork barrel scam have her killed.
“Kung si Enrile most guilty, sabihin mo na para ‘di ka ipapatay! Ang taong iyan, may gwardiya pa sa kubeta na may long firearm. Kaya wag mo i-underestimate ang Enrile na iyan. May asim pa rin si Tanda. [If Enrile is the most-guilty then you can save yourself from getting killed by saying. That man brings his bodyguards with long firearms even when he goes to the toilet. Don’t underestimate him. He’s still capable of doing it],” Santiago told Napoles.
Enrile said the accusations were pure lies.
“I know that I should not dignify with answers these obvious lies flowing as they did from the hallucinated imaginings of a spiteful and bitterly hostile mind. But, I must! I must debunk these unbridled lies from the records of this Senate for the sake of honest truth,” he said.
Enrile said he never murdered anyone and to say that he killed someone or that he is planning to murder anyone is the “Grandmama of all falsehood.”
On Santiago’s claim that he was the “mastermind” of the pork scam, Enrile said that only an inane and bitterly hostile mind could fabricate such a rumor.
“I am aware that the public has been waiting for me to speak up on this matter, but for now suffice it to say that there will be a time and a more appropriate forum to deal in detail with the alleged PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] scam, and I will give my fullest cooperation to unearth the truth in that alleged scandal,” Enrile assured.
He denied bringing armed escorts when the goes to the restroom of the Senate because he never allowed his bodyguards to carry long firearms since he joined the Senate in 1987.
“I never realized until that Blue Ribbon hearing that we have a “peeping Tom” in this Senate. I never knew that someone was keeping an eye on me, even when I go to the most private of places here in this building,” Enrile said. He explained that he needs assistance in going around because of his poor eyesight.
The Senate minority leader traced Santiago’s deep-seated hostility to the time when he opposed her confirmation as Secretary of Agrarian Reform and when he refused to include her in the majority bloc in 2008 and in 2010.
But even if Santiago was not with the majority in 2008, Enrile said she was assigned two major committees.
“Evidently, all those things that I did for her were not enough to assuage her deep-seated and bitter hostility against me for what happened in the past, especially in her confirmation hearing as Secretary of Agrarian Reform,” Enrile said.
Santiago, who has been suffering from chronic fatigue, was not in the Senate yesterday, but in a statement sent to the media, she said she will respond to Enrile’s “personal attacks” next week.