Furiously fending off accusations of doling out public funds to Senate colleagues as if the money were his to give as “Christmas gifts,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile now also stands accused of pirating intellectual property.
The latest charge has nothing to do with his best-selling autobiography. Critics instead claim that he pirated another well-known figure’s tactic while defending himself against Senate leader Alan Peter Cayetano’s charges of favoritism and vindictiveness.
The charge of piracy came after Enrile from out of the blue said Cayetano’s late father, who was his former law firm partner, still owed him P37 million, which he had to put up so that the elder Cayetano could feed his family.
Critics accused Enrile of improperly appropriating the patently low blow that former Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona used during his impeachment trial, when he cast aspersions on his deceased father-in-law’s character for no apparent reason material to his defense.
“I beg your pardon!” Enrile bristled. “My irrelevant below the belt retort is my own original idea. Do I have to copyright that?” Enrile then complained that Cayetano made his blood pressure shoot up.
One of Enrile’s supporters, Sen. Tito Sotto, quickly came to his defense. “I beg your pardon!” Sotto bristled, too. “The Senate president’s irrelevant below the belt retort is his own original idea. Does he have to copyright it?”
Whereupon Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who had fallen ill after tangling with Enrile over the same “Christmas gift” issue, unexpectedly staggered into the Senate chamber and woozily accused him of pirating her high blood pressure. “That act is mine! Do I have to copyright it?”
Whereupon Enrile accused Santiago of lack of originality herself when she returned the $250,000 Christmas gift check he had given her. “It was I who first returned your Christmas gift of biscuits because of your advocacy for the RH bill—gaya-gaya ka lang, hija,” Enrile exploded.
“Touche,” Santiago conceded, “but talk about lack of originality—you faked your own ambush to give an excuse for martial law, then just the other day you faked vacating the Senate presidency so you could get a vote of confidence from our peers. My dear senator of a certain age, you are just repeating yourself!” she yelled before being taken away on a stretcher.
Cayetano, in his privilege speech, had also accused Enrile of giving his chief of staff Jessica Gigi Reyes so much power that she acts as if she’s a senator herself. The accusation revived old rumors that Reyes was Enrile’s mistress.
Livid, Enrile, vehemently denied having a mistress. “And I am not pirating this line of defense from any of my male senate peers, because an elected official’s denial of having a mistress or mistresses is already in the public domain,” he magisterially argued.
In a touching show of solidarity, Enrile’s supporters stood up and to a man gave him a vote of confidence on the issue.
But they all began slouching down in silence when Enrile repeated the statement he gave in a TV interview with Winnie Monsod–that he was too old “from the waist down” to have a mistress and was willing to be tested for erectile dysfunction to prove it.
Murmuring to one another, Enrile’s supporters backed off, hinting that they would not be able to join him on this one.
Finally, Enrile vowed not to deal with assaults on his person anymore: “Let it stay on the record and let the Divine Spirit determine whose truth is correct, where lies the truth.”
As usual, the Divine Spirit refused to comment.