Nueva Camarines Bill Causes Split among Senators
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV surprised the halls of the Senate, and the nation, with his privilege speech yesterday, 19 September 2012, against Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s apparent “Kung gusto ko, isasagasa ko. Kung ayaw ko, uupuan ko” (“If I want it, I’ll ram it. If I don’t, I’ll sit on it.”) leadership policy.
The youngest Senator of the Republic attacked the veteran lawmaker for the latter’s “shabby treatment” of him, and even “shabbier policy”, recalling instances when he was “shoved about every now and then” and “trampled upon by a bully determined to get his way” at the hands of the Senate President. In particular, Senator Trillanes referred to the Senate President’s unusual handling of the Nueva Camarines bill that is pending with the Senate. Trillanes claimed that Enrile has been exerting pressures on his colleagues in order to speed up the passage of the bill in the Senate, “to the point of straining relations with members of the very Senate that he leads”.
The Nueva Camarines bill seeks to create the new province of “Nueva Camarines” by dividing the territory of the province of Camarines Sur. Senator Trillanes questioned the wisdom of the bill, calling it, “gerrymandering in its worst kind”. He said in particular that the new province would only provide for new positions “to accommodate 2 three-term congressmen”.
The young lawmaker, who led the Oakwood Mutiny against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003, speculated that Senate President Enrile’s “irrational behavior” must have been because he has succumbed to pressures coming from Congressman Luis Villafuerte (“who we see often loitering about and personally lobbying to senators”) and even from now-Congresswoman Macapagal-Arroyo, citing a recent newspaper article.
In retort, the veteran Enrile lashed out at the young Trillanes–who suddenly walked out of the session hall– calling the latter a “fraud” and a “coward” and questioning his ability and nationalism in connection with the his involvement in the ongoing backroom negotiations with China. Senator Enrile revealed to the public the handwritten notes made by Ambassador Sonia Brady on the said negotiations that depicted Senator Trillanes’ actuations.
Moments later, Senator Trillanes returned to hall to interpellate Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., sponsor of the Nueva Camarines measure, in the first of his three-part series of interpellations.