MANILA – Stressing he has no grudge against President Benigno S. Aquino III, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said on Tuesday the Chief Executive should not suspect any motive in the senator’s move to reopen the Mamasapano probe.
”The President should not suspect any motive here, whether any grudges or any political agenda. As far as I’m concerned, I’m no longer a politician,” the 91-year-old lawmaker said in phone-patch interview with the Senate media.
Enrile made his reaction to President Aquino’s statement last Sunday where the latter said the senators who moved to reopen the investigation into the bloody Mamasapano encounter bear grudge against him.
”I have no grudge against him. He is doing his job. I’m ready to defend myself and I will show him that there is no basis for the charges that they filed against me, but that is beside the point. I have no motive here except to serve the interest of the country,” Enrile explained.
He clarified that he will not invite the President to attend the Mamasapano incident reinvestigation on Jan. 25, which marks the first anniversary of the encounter that left 44 elite forces of the Philippine National Police dead.
”It’s up to him. I will not dictate on the President. I am ready to dance according to what the President would want to dance in this hearing,” Enrile said.
”I will ask pointed questions. He is free to answer the questions that I will ask and if he wants, I am willing to appear in the hearing and I will be very respectful,” he added.
Enrile said he wanted to know the participation of the President “in the whole project,” referring to the operation of the PNP’s Special Action Force (SAF) to neutralize international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan.”
”Whose project was this? Was it solely a Philippine project or was it a project induced by other interest? I want to know all of these,” Enrile said.
”When the lives of 44 men, soldiers of the Republic die in battle, how come there is no news coming from the Palace or any segment of government when in fact even the travel of the President to Baguio in a sports car becomes a news,” he added.
Enrile, a national defense minister during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos, was in detention for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam when the Senate held hearings on the Mamasapano incident early last year.
In August last year, the Supreme Court granted Enrile’s request for bail.
Enrile has asked Senator Grace Poe’s committee to invite the following government officials: Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, former Interior Secretary and now presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, resigned Police Chief Alan Purisima, former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang, and former Special Action Force (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas.