Cayetano versus Enrile: why a Senate self-destruction will ultimately be good for the Philippines

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crab_mentalityYou can’t blame old fogey Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for trying the old Pinoy style sidestep-the-issue-then-lay-out-a-Joker-card trick when painted into a corner. That’s exactly what he did responding to very clear and specific issues raised by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano during a speech he delivered before his colleagues around the need for a private audit of Senate finances

[Cayetano] challenged Enrile to show how the Senate has been liquidating its funds, which he said doubled during Enrile’s term.

He said that the Senate budget for [Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE)] went up from P750 million to P1.5 billion, of which P428 million is given to oversight panels and P1 million in MOOE to senators.

“Ang matitira po sa senado a little over P600 million. So my question Mr. Senate President, [how is this P600 million liquidated]? I was told a big part of this is being liquidated by certification,” Cayetano said.

Enrile is a nine-decade-old Filipino. So his debating faculties tend to mirror the society he grew old with. Flashing some sort of document as he began his response to Cayetano’s speech, Enrile brought up a 37 million peso debt allegedly owed by Cayetano’s deceased father payment for which, Enrile says, was not demanded for the sake of friendship and in considering the late Cayetano’s need to feed his family.

Presumably recognising that this was outside the scope of the issue being discussed, Enrile said as he folded the document and began to slip it into his breast pocket, “but let’s not focus on this and put this matter aside.”

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Why bring it up then? That’s the obvious question to Mr Enrile. Obviously he was using an ancient Pinoy mind trick to throw the debate off tangent.

As Cayetano asserted in his speech, resigning from the Senate Presidency and getting reinstated by a “vote of confidence” from one’s colleagues will not bring us closer to the bottom of the matter of the Senate’s finances. Neither of course will Enrile’s bringing up the late Cayetano’s alleged multi-million peso “debt”. But all that’s par for the course in Philippine politics and in the Philippine National “Debate” in general where the arguments are for the most part “droll and unintelligent, focused on the trivial or the irrelevant” you need such spectacles to distract the public from the point they regularly miss — that the joke has always been on the ordinary Pinoy schmoe and that one way or the other, it is their senators and congressmen who ultimately end every story laughing all the way to the bank.

So we really shouldn’t hold our breath while waiting for Senator Enrile to get it.

He won’t.

Resignations, walkouts, “votes of confidence”, “interfaith rallies”, online petitions, “unity walks”, fun runs, etcetera, etcetera… Filipinos love their dramas, circuses and spectacles because it gives them false assurance that one or the other sits atop the higher horse in public discourse where the issues — and even the point itself — always take the back seat.

As I said before, this amusing skirt-lifting frenzy going on in the Senate between what ultimately are all a bunch of bozos anyway traces its roots to the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. It was in this half-year circus that the various Senators’ dirty laundry were laid bare before the public eye; where what was once a smokescreen that cloaked the way these people’s “representatives” wheeled and dealt amongst themselves over how to slice the pie that is the Filipino taxpayer’s money was blown away.

There was accidental genius indeed in President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III’s obssession with impeaching Corona to save Uncle Peping’s family jewels. It turned Philippine legislators against one another and, in the process, achieved far more than any activist movement or anti-corruption “czar” had over the last 30 years — force transparency and accountability out of Congress from within.

Cayetano’s call for a private audit of the Senate (echoing the call earlier made by his colleague Senator Miriam Santiago) takes its place amongst the growing number of Damocles swords now hanging over the Senate — the calls to re-evaluate declared Statements of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), the call to dismantle the Philippines’ archaic bank secrecy laws, calls to public officials to open their dollar accounts to the public. The Senators are doing themselves in. We just need to sit back and watch.

The Senate may be self-destructing from within, but the Filipino will likely end up the winner for a change in the aftermath of all this; getting amusing television fodder in the process.

17 Replies to “Cayetano versus Enrile: why a Senate self-destruction will ultimately be good for the Philippines”

    1. Ironic how after they convicted an innocent man, they started self destructing. Corona has the last laugh after all.

  1. Enrile read out some interesting figures

    Senate budget 2.8 Billion
    (This is seperate to the 4 Billion PDAF/ pork barrel)

    And in breaking down the 483 million ‘mooe’ – 125 million ( nearly 25% for travel – no receipts required!) Thats 5 million per senator. This and the 2.2 million a month for office staff – 26 million a year per senator – is where the audit should focus.
    Plus 10 – 15 million for chairing a commitee ( lacson still got that even when he was a fugitive out of the country!)

    Trillanes today said he has 40 office staff ( the maximum allowed), as do most senators.
    That means around 800 staff employed by the senators.
    It begs the question – how many are family or ghost employees, and what the hell do they do.

    Get mckinseys in there.

    It also seems that the accounting system is kept purposefully loose and old fashioned ( back of a cigarette packet, self certification and no receipts) so that it cannot be audited in a professional way.
    Interesting that enrile appoints the auditor – talk about conflict of interest.

    With 10% commission on PDAF – also regarded as accepted practice (higher % for the greedier/ more corrupt senators), then a total non taxable annual income of 40 – 60 million pesos is easily achievable. Lapid and revilla will be on far more. Milking it whilst they can and also making the minimum contributions. 40 staff for mute absentee lapid. Incredible

    No audit. No FoI. No SALN’s. No accountability. No integrity

  2. enrile’s chief of staff gigi reyes resigns – damage control.

    i didn’t realise she is his mistress as well.overtime pay!

    1. thanks
      official wife – cristina
      unofficial wife = mistress

      enrile likes to portray the family man.

      hypocrite as well as crook

      a low moral compass

  3. These guys are anything but ‘BOZO’S’. Compared to the average Filipino ‘schmoe'(what is with the Yiddish slang?). Maybe. Laughing their collective ass’s off all the way to the bank, a certainty.
    Full-of-shit as the day-is-long, a definite.
    There was/is no ‘accidental genius’ at work here. What was shown was exactly what was meant to be seen. To give the appearance of something that just is not there, in order to throw the dogs off the fox’s trail.
    Much like the comment of the ‘old dude’ mentioning the debt of someone long ago deceased. (Btw, that mere mentioning of the deceased’s outstanding(?) debt is such an act of class-lessness that it shows off the depth to which the depraved will sink in order to avoid ‘walking the plank’. Truly despicable.)
    Remember one thing, and all will be clear. Until some of these people are really thrown in jail, and forced to give back whatever it is they should not have, not one single thing will change. Not ONE! NOT ONE FUCKING THING!
    Corona did not lose a single centavo, did he? Nor did he answer a single question. Those bull-shit artists who swore to interrogate him sat there and let him do what he did, despite months of rhetoric and theatrics. When push came to shove not a single ‘representative of the people’/bull-shit artist did as they said they would. Indication? Covert collusion? No way, not in an esteemed institution as that, HUH?
    There is no feuding within, only connivance and deceit/theatrics. To understand what is going on, it is necessary to look at what is really not being shown. To realize that things are not-what-they-seem, and to admit what one has believed for decades is a falsehood/fallacy is difficult for many to admit/recognize. The pain can be traumatic, devastating, soul-shattering. AND so bahala na makes things palatable. Maintains the status-quo.
    Whether through ‘guilty knowledge’ or ‘avoidance in advance’ or a combination of the two, to get at what lies just beneath the surface is not a difficult task.

  4. Hey, Dudes; what happened to the Corona challenge to bare their Banks Accounts. It is now forgotten. Now, these Senate Swines are calling each other scammers. They are all scammers. Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita is the biggest scam. Entile’s foreign bank accounts came from the unaudited “expenses” in the Senate. The largest Swine calling the other Swine: that he is a Swine…
    The Senate (Pig Farm) is now taken over by these Hacienda Luisita Swines. They are feasting on Pork Barrels (your tax money). and are walking on their Hind Legs…

  5. I really hope that this implosion in the Senate will result into something good and not be hijacked again by another interest group. With the exception of a few, these so-called honorable men. including Enrile, are all what he has described them: hypocrites. Not in a personal sense but as officers of the law. They preached and were so high and mighty during Corona’s trial yet we all know that they always help themselves to the largesse of their office.

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