Word war at the SenateSen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday accused Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile of being a “GMA lackey” for supposedly rushing a bill that would cut up Camarines Sur province as a favor to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The charge led Enrile to unleash a ferocious counterattack, calling the neophyte senator the “Phantom of the Opera in Philippine politics” for reportedly undermining the Department of Foreign Affairs by engaging in back channel talks with China on the West Philippine Sea dispute.
The word war at the Senate came on the heels on another exchange in the media between Trillanes and Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario, who took issue with the senator’s unofficial talks with Chinese officials on the West Philippine Sea. Trillanes, in turn, had hinted that it was Del Rosario ineffectiveness that led President Benigno S. Aquino III to seek his help.
Caught in the middle, Malacanang said the President has asked Trillanes and Del Rosario to “refrain from making any further comments.” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda also read Trillanes statement that he and Del Rosario “have no disagreements” and that the President was “calling to shots” on the negotiations to end the tense standoff with Beijing on Panatog Shoal.
Del Rosario also issued a statement, saying, ”The DFA executes the foreign policy of the President. We will not dignify those who are working to divide us. There must be one policy and one team in promoting our national interest in the WPS.”
Click here (VERA Files) to read the full text of Trillanes’ privilege speech, Enrile’s interpellation and Lacierda’s briefing.