Enrile denies romance with Gigi: But he wants her back

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - With his 89th birthday on Valentine’s Day approaching, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile says he’s too old for love.

A day after his temperamental outburst fueled public speculation about his relationship with his chief of staff Jessica “Gigi” Gonzales Reyes, Enrile denied yesterday any romantic dalliance with her.

Reyes, smarting from criticism of her role in the Senate, submitted her irrevocable resignation to Enrile, who rejected it and said he was wooing her back.

“If they’re implying that she’s my girlfriend, well, I’m too old for that, my God!” Enrile said in a television interview yesterday. “I do not look old at all. But from my waist up I am still doing very well, but from the waist down, well, I do not know about that – maybe once in a blue moon, if ever.”

He said he was ready to have his office funds audited by any private auditing firm, and to subject himself to a test for erectile dysfunction.

“Yes, yes. Oo, I’m too old for that,” Enrile told Winnie Monsod in her TV morning show “Unang Hirit.”

The Senate chief had earlier attributed his youthful looks to stem cell therapy.

Enrile also resumed his potshots against his nemesis, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, whom he suspected to be responsible for insinuations that he and Reyes are having an affair.

“Gurang na gurang na ako pero tsinitsismis pa na umiibig pa daw. Siguro mga nagsasabi, di makagawa ng anak (I am already very old but I am still rumored to be in love. Perhaps those who are saying it cannot have children),” Enrile was quoted as saying at a political sortie in Laguna.

He rejected any reconciliation with Cayetano, a son of his long-time friend and law partner Rene Cayetano, saying, “Enough is enough.”

The Senate chief, under fire for releasing P1.6 million as gifts to each of 18 senators, ostensibly as additional maintenance, operating and other expenses (MOOE) in the final weeks of 2012, admitted he did not expect Cayetano to bring up issues against Reyes in a privilege speech on the Senate floor the other day.

Cayetano, along with his sister Pia and Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Antonio Trillanes IV, were given P250,000 each. All four are critics of Enrile.

“I never expected that. Nobody is a saint in this world, you know,” Enrile said, as he noted that he had been linked romantically to several of his staff members in the past. He said this might have been because he did not treat his staff as servants.

He said dragging Reyes into the controversy was an attempt to destroy his name.

Gigi defended

Over dzBB radio, Enrile confirmed that Reyes had resigned as his chief of staff.

“It’s irrevocable but I will convince her to come back,” Enrile said.

Reyes, who called critics of Enrile’s Christmas fund release “hypocrites” last Monday, declined to be interviewed yesterday.

Enrile defended her from Cayetano’s criticism that she threw her weight around and acted as if she was running the Senate together with the chamber’s president.

“They say she acts like a senator. But it’s been my style that I delegate my administrative power to my trusted people. They are the ones who prepare the letters, sign checks for me under my authority and responsibility with the report of disbursement of money,” Enrile said.

He said during senators’ caucuses, which are supposed to be exclusive to the lawmakers, his office asks for permission to include some of his staff when needed.

The Senate secretary-general and his staff may be present along with Reyes, Enrile explained, “because she knows the details of everything that goes on in my office.”

Reyes also acts as administrative officer in the office of the Senate president.

“I could not possibly know these details because I am dealing with the major problems of the Senate, the needs of the senators and the political side of the Senate, and the major decisions that have to be made in the Senate,” Enrile said.

Asked why Reyes was allowed to sign Senate checks, as disclosed by Cayetano, Enrile said this was done in accordance with his instruction.

“I assume responsibility for all of that. I do not pass the buck to my employees,” he said. “I am willing to be audited by any private auditing firm, they can select SGV, they can select Anderson. They can select the best one that they have.”


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