Enrile resigns as Senate President
Enrile resigns as Senate President
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2013 - 4:04pm
MANILA, Philippines - Senator Juan Ponce Enrile resigned as Senate President on Wednesday as both houses of Congress wrapped up unfinished work during the second to the last session day.
Enrile announced that he resigns "irrevocably" from his post in his privilege speech, wherein he hit back against his critics that include Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV.
"Let me assure all of you, I can still see, read clearly the handwriting on the wall. I need not be told by anyone when it is time for me to go," Enrile said in his speech.
"Let us all be men and women worthy of being called 'honorable senators' and let the chips fall where they may. As a matter of personal honor and dignity, I hereby irrevocably resign as Senate President," Enrile added.
Cayetano had alleged that Enrile gave out supposed cash gifts to senators belonging to the majority block in a bid to retain his senate presidency.
Trillanes, on the other hand, engaged in a verbal tussle with Enrile after accusing the former senate president of trying to railroad the passage of a local bill dividing Camarines Sur.
The veteran lawmaker said he refuses to be "anyone's scapegoat and everyone's whipping boy" and let his "hard-earned name" to be attacked further.
"I refuse to allow any body, whether in or outside the halls of this Chamber, to just freely trample upon the name that my late father, Alfonso Ponce Enrile, had so kindly allowed me to carry with pride," he said.
Enrile said the accusations hurled against him affected the candidacy of his son Jack Enrile, who lost in the elections.
As he stepped down from his position, Enrile said the public will be the one to judge his storied career as government leader.
"My entire record as a public servant, my performance as a Senator of the Republic, and my conduct as Senate President is all up for the nation to judge, whether fairly or unfairly," said Enrile.
He said the issues against him were never resolved with clarity as they were quickly overtaken by the campaign fever.
"The truth or falsity of these accusations were lost and muddled in the wild frenzy of election rhetoric and propaganda," Enrile said.
He lamented that his fellow senators remained silent while he was "publicly pilloried and crucified."
“After all that howl and rage, I now ask: Must all these issues of propriety, transparency and accountability be forgotten? Have all these issues suddenly become irrelevant? Can we just “move on” as they say, and just bury these issues in the dustbin of the Philippine Senate’s history? My answer is no," Enrile said.
"The Senate neither begins nor ends with Juan Ponce Enrile," he added. "This Chamber has its own honor to uphold, and its institutional integrity in the end means more to the people than all of us combined."
In a televised ambush interview, Cayetano said the solution is not for Enrile to resign but to face directly the issues thrown against him.
Trillanes, meanwhile, said "We just heard some rants from a bitter man and we just gave him his moment."
Prior to Enrile's resignation, reports have been surfacing that there will be changes in the leadership of the Senate since it has a new roster dominated by the administration-backed coalition.
Enrile's party, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), is expected to be the minority in the Senate in the 16th Congress.
In the midterm elections last month, only three UNA senatorial candidates won.

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