A fraud and a coward.
This was how Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile described Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in a word war that broke the silence during a caucus meeting in Senate Wednesday.
Enrile was supposed to preside over a meeting to discuss a bill dividing Camarines Sur when he suddenly took a swipe at Trillanes, divulging the “real story” behind his mission as special envoy to China concerning Panatag (Scarborough) shoal.
He charged Trillanes of selling the country’s sovereignty to China when he was tasked to conduct a “backdoor negotiation” to ease tension between Manila and Beijing over territorial dispute last May.
The Senate president accused Trillanes of telling "falsehoods" to Chinese officials that were allegedly “detrimental to the country" and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario.
“’In the Philippines, no one cares about Panatag Shoal,’ he told (them). Is that patriotic? My God, what kind of a senator is this?” Enrile said.
“He told the Chinese that we cannot enforce our own coastal protection. That our fishermen are living on subsistence living. That they cannot go too far so they can give the (disputed) part of the waters to us,” he added.
Citing notes from Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady, Enrile said that Trillanes told officials in Beijing that Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario no longer enjoys confidence of the Filipino people.
“My God, this guy is a fraud!” Enrile said, describing his expose as an attempt to “unmask the Phantom of the Opera” in Philippine Politics.
Enrile issued the statement after Trillanes bolted out of the majority bloc in the Senate, joining the minority in expression of his lost of confidence in the senate president’s leadership.
Earlier, Trillanes criticized Enrile for his “shabby policy” in a speech he delivered during a caucus discussing the bill seeking to divide Camarines Sur into two provinces before walking out on Wednesday afternoon.
The neophyte senator called Enrile “a bully” after claiming he was shoved aside for the nth time when Enrile called for a caucus to discuss the bill dividing Camarines Sur in July.
“I got out of that caucus feeling trampled upon by a bully determined to get his way. My neophyte instincts were telling me then to just keep the peace and get out of his way,” Trillanes said.
“But then, the public servant in me just couldn’t let this thing pass,” he added, reiterating the division of Camarines Sur will not be beneficial to the state.
He then accused Enrile of accommodating former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s three allies, including former Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte, who will benefit from the bill.
He also charged Enrile of gerrymandering in pushing for division of Camarines Sur, which would benefit Arroyo’s son and incumbent Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo.
Citing a published article, Trillanes revealed that another senator confirmed that Enrile was receiving personal calls from Mrs. Arroyo in a bid to hasten the passage of the measure in the Senate.
“There remain only two possibilities: that our Senate President is deeply indebted to GMA; or that he is a GMA lackey,” Trillanes said.
“Either way, I have lost trust, faith and confidence in Senator Enrile’s capability to lead the senate along the path consistent with the reform agenda that I espouse,” he added.
Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada defended Enrile, saying his “second father” has always been "balanced” and never “a bully” or a lackey of Arroyo.
Estrada and Senate Majority Leader Senator Tito Sotto manifested Trillanes’ walkout and baseless accusation as cowardly.