Monday, September 24, 2012

Senate flare-up shows Palace factionalism, say lawmakers

Last week’s flare-up in the Senate involving the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China was evidence of the worsening strife between rival factions in the Aquino administration, party-list lawmakers said Sunday.

“On one level, [it’s] the factional rivalry [between] Balay and Samar playing itself out. On another, the [conflict between Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV] is a personal rivalry between an old padrino and his protégé,” Rep. Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers said in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“Unfortunately, the hope of a strong, independent position on the territorial dispute with China has been undermined by this conflict,” Tinio said.

“Balay” is the faction identified with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, referring to the Roxas mansion in Cubao, Quezon City, used as the Liberal Party (LP) campaign headquarters in 2010.

“Samar” is the faction led by Vice President Jejomar Binay, referring to the campaign headquarters of Binay on Samar Avenue in South Triangle, Quezon City.

Enrile, an ally of Binay, and Trillanes, an ally of President Benigno Aquino, clashed in the Senate on Wednesday over a bill that would divide Camarines Sur into two provinces. Their exchanges led to a tussle over Trillanes’ earlier admission that he was Mr. Aquino’s backroom negotiator in the talks with China in the territorial dispute over Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Enraged by Trillanes’ brashness, Enrile disclosed notes from Trillanes’ meeting with Ambassador to China Sonia Brady in Beijing in August that tended to show Trillanes as undermining the Philippine position in dispute and criticizing the efforts of Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Unable to stand the heat, Trillanes walked out. Enrile called him a “fraud” and “coward.”
Originally posted: 9:37 pm | Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

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