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Enrile gave 18 senators P1.6M each for Christmas

From Inquirer.net

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile played Santa Claus last Christmas, making a list and checking it twice as he gave gifts to Senate members and personnel apparently on the basis of who were “naughty” or “nice.”

Enrile gave 22 senators a total of almost P30 million, a gift that one senator said was “unconscionable and unconstitutional.”

The cash gift allegedly came from the funds allotted for the Senate post vacated by President Aquino when he won the presidential election in 2010.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer on Tuesday tried to set an interview with Enrile in connection with the cash gift but he was not immediately available. A member of his staff said Enrile was on his way out of town and could no longer be reached for comment.

The various senators the Inquirer talked to agreed that the P1.6 million bonanza for each of the 18 senators was the biggest yet. Enrile has been Senate President since November 2008.

The senators could not remember the amounts distributed in Christmases past but the highest one recalled that it was close to P1 million.

Enrile possibly made all Senate employees happy, since according to the Inquirer sources—“everyone, including the drivers and the security personnel”—benefited from bigger bonuses last Christmas, amounting to up to P120,000 each. Some of them said the amount varied from the previous P55,000 to P80,000.

The Christmas gifts, billed as “additional MOOE” or maintenance and other operating expenses, certainly made the Senate one of the happiest workplaces last Christmas, but some were happier than the others.

That was because the Senate President’s Christmas list for P1.6 million per senator did not include four of his colleagues.

Senators Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Alan Peter and sister Pia Cayetano got only P250,000 each, Inquirer sources said.

Gigi Reyes letter

The Inquirer obtained a copy of a two-page letter signed by Enrile’s chief of staff, Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, to Senate Budget Director Rene Chua confirming in writing Enrile’s verbal instructions.

“The SP (Senate President) is authorizing the release of the additional MOOE (next 2 tranches for December to the ff. senators):” the letter said.

The handwritten note listed Senate President Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Edgardo Angara, Franklin Drilon, Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Sergio Osmeña III, Joker Arroyo, Manuel Villar, Teofisto Guingona III, Lito Lapid, Ramon Revilla Jr., Panfilo Lacson, Francis Pangilinan, Gregorio Honasan, Aquilino Pimentel III, Ralph Recto and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The note said Enrile was “waiving/foregoing any further additional MOOE” for himself.

Senate sources said Chua got verbal instructions to give P1.6 million to 18 senators and P250,000 to four senators.

The Inquirer was able to confirm the gifts from three senators who got P1.6 million each but they asked not to be named so as not to rankle their colleagues.

Curiously, three other senators on the list denied receiving the money.

The Inquirer also saw a copy of a check for P250,000 issued from Enrile’s Senate account.


Full article here

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