Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago wants to bring her fight against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile to a completely new level.
Santiago has written to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima asking her to order the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe Enrile for his alleged involvement in smuggling in Cagayan, his home province, and for masterminding the “pork barrel scam.”
The lady senator wrote the letter the day after she delivered her privilege speech in the Senate, even attaching a copy of the controversial speech titled, “Navigating the Crimes of Plunder Mastermind.”
Santiago reportedly furnished with the same letter other agencies, namely, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), Office of the Ombudsman, and the Commission on Human Rights.
She said these agencies may conduct separate probes in case there is a need for further investigation after the NBI probe.
Santiago accused Enrile of masterminding the P10-billion pork barrel scam and running a smuggling empire in Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).
She said Enrile pulled some strings that led to an P80-million appropriation for CEZA in the 2014 national budget.
Enrile Denies All Accusations, Adds His Own
Enrile denied Santiago’s accusations in her privilege speech, saying he welcomes any Senate investigation into his alleged transactions in CEZA.
He said his interest in CEZA is not for his own gain but to develop the place and create jobs for the residents of his home province.
Referring to accusations of killing people or being responsible for many disappearances during the Martial Law, he said his conscience is clear.
Enrile said Santiago was merely fabricating accusations and that she does not have any proof at all.
He claimed that Santiago has a propensity to make personal a*****s because of her mental health.
The minority floor leader said he has in his possession proof that Santiago had previously consulted a neuro-psychiatrist that she herself presented in 1989 for her confirmation hearing.
Meanwhile, netizens have expressed dismay over the furious exchange of accusations between the two veteran lawmakers. They said they are wasting the taxpayers’ money with their verbal warfare instead of discussing urgent issues that can help the nation move forward.