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(Following is the heated exchange on the floor on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, the subject of a scathing attack by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, stood up to interpellate the latter after delivering his privilege speech. It ended in a walkout by Trillanes. The Trillanes speech accused Enrile of "bullying" him and other senators, and ended with his announcement that he was leaving the majority bloc. But Enrile said the speech was a smokescreen to divert attention from the issues raised in newspaper headlines revealing Trillanes's questionable role as the Executive branch's "back-channel" with China in the Panatag Shoal row).
Senate President Enrile: I can very well understand the purpose of this privilege speech. Today somebody in this chamber was in the headlines for meddling in foreign affairs and probably this is one way to camouflage it.
But just to set the record straight, this is the first time in my whole career as a senator that I was accused of railroading or pressuring people in the Senate.
Isn’t it a fact that you appeared in that caucus late? Do u remember what time you arrived in that caucus, when we were all there?
Sen. Trillanes (ST): Yes, Mr. President, I arrived there late but I arrived early enough to capture the essence of what was talked about
Enrile: And we were discussing about a timetable to be undertaken regarding the division of the province of Cam Sur, correct? And there was Cong. Villafuerte in the room and at that time you entered, the one talking was the chairman of the finance committee, Sen. Franklin Drilon. Correct? Do u remember what was being discussed during that time?
Trillanes: The timeline regarding the bill.
Enrile: And that was the reason why Cong. Villafuerte was asked to enter the room because I did not know about the timeline that he was talking about. You did not know this because you were late.
Trillanes: Yes, Mr. President, but I don’t see the relevance of the point you’re making because I hardly touched on the details of the caucus, Mr. President, because I believe the details...
Enrile: Well, I am asking questions. I think you know the rules. I can ask you anything under the sun and I’m going to ask some more questions about you. Alright? Just answer my question please. If you are a gentleman and I assume that you are, answer my question.
Now, isn’t it at that point, it was Sen. Drilon who was discussing the timeline with Cong. Villafuerte when you entered the room?
Trillanes: Yes, Mr. President.
Enrile: And did I say anything to pressure you to favor one side or the other?
Trillanes: Precisely, Mr. President, that is not the point. After Sen. Drilon spoke, I registered my opposition on the bill and the SP brushed me off ‘Sonny okay na ito.’
Enrile: Your opposition should have been registered here because we are going to vote here anyway. And that was a caucus, we have already agreed on the timeline and if you remember, the gentleman from CamSur, Cong. Villafuerte, was just pleading with us to just set the hearing conducted because they were running on a very. very tight schedule and as president of the Senate, it was my duty to hear everybody and that’s why precisely I could not decide the issue because I’m not like that. I have to present it to the members of the Senate in a caucus and whatever is decided by the caucus I abide by it, even during impeachment. Where you not present in these caucuses? Is there any instance where I asked you or anyone of you to vote according to my wishes? I’m asking you a question.
Trillanes: Mr. President, sir that’s irrelevant from this. I can cite several instances...
Enrile: You know it’s irrelevant because you are telling falsehoods here.
Trillanes: I take exception to that statement.
Enrile: I am saying you are telling falsehoods here because there are records of our proceedings....Alright, isn’t it a fact that you are angry at me because you were asking me for an additional budget for your oversight committee and I did not allow it?
Trillanes: No, that is a falsehood, Mr. President.
Enrile: Alright, okay but the record is...
Trillanes: Which record, Mr. President? If you want, if you are actually daring this representation for us to take out the list, the details, the actual budget for all the oversight, we can go there but I’m not inclined to, Mr. President.
Enrile: You know, Mr. Senator, I was the one who took you out of the rot when you were in prison in Camp Crame. I never did this before. I went out of my way to talk to people so that you can get back here in the Senate and I guaranteed your presence here. But I am not saying this because I want you to owe any favor to me. I am just putting that on record to show the character of each one of us here.
Second, I’m sure you resented my statement while we [were] in the Cabinet, when you were presenting your supposed position as against the position of the DFA, when Pres. Aquino invited me to attend a Cabinet meeting on the Scarborough problem and I told you, who authorized you to make a backroom negotiation with the Chinese for the Scarborough and you were telling me about treason. Remember?
Trillanes: He [Aquino] answered you directly that he authorized me, he told it in your face, Mr. President.
Enrile: Yes, that’s correct. I accepted that because I did not know that you were authorized. But the fact is, I asked you whom did you talk to in China?
Trillanes: I don’t need to report to the SP [Senate President].
Enrile: You have a duty to report what you do as a senator of this Chamber, and in fact you have a duty to notify the Office of the SP when you leave this country when you go abroad and the only time that I have authorized is one time. I do not know how many times you have been to China. My understanding is you have been to China talking to the Chinese government for six times already.
And that you have met them 15 or 16 times, for what reason, I do not know. Are you becoming a 5th columnist of the Chinese in this country?
Trillanes: The SP is not privy to the backroom channel talks and I’m not obliged in any way to divulge
Enrile: I think you have the duty to inform the people.
Trillanes: I have already informed the people but not the SP. I’m not obliged to report to the SP and all this line of questioning is irrelevant again. Should this line of questioning continue, I will have to say that I will refuse to yield anymore the floor...
Enrile: No, I’m asking you a question. You went to China, you asked the ambassador of the Philippines there, Madam Brady, for a meeting and you said, ‘do not take notes during our conversation’ and you called the secretary of foreign affairs a traitor; in fact you told me he committed treason.
Trillanes: ...foreign relations and national security, I believe it’s out of order.
Enrile: Do not teach me about parliamentary proceedings. I’m not answerable to anybody about what I say in this hall.
Trillanes: There’s a point of order, Mr. President.
SJE [Senator Jinggoy Estrada, SP Protempore]: the SP [Enrile] may proceed.
Enrile: I have here the white paper that you have been writing about the secretary of foreign affairs.... [At this point, Trillanes walked out]. 17 august 2012.... he [Trillanes] cannot take the heat, he’s a coward.