BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—A Malacañang official has sought an investigation of the alleged “sins” of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, as exposed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago in a privilege speech on Wednesday.
Secretary Manuel Mamba, chief of the presidential legislative liaison office, said the Senate should not ignore Santiago’s revelations, considering that these were “very serious charges” coming from his own colleague in the Senate.
“These should be investigated by concerned agencies such as the Ombudsman and referred to the proper Senate committees for appropriate action,” said Mamba who, like Enrile, is a native of Cagayan province.
Santiago on Wednesday accused Enrile of masterminding the P10-billion pork barrel scam, and tagged him as “king” of a “gambling and smuggling empire” within the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) in Santa Ana town in Cagayan.
Mamba said the public should not look at Santiago’s exposé for its “entertainment value only.” “It would be a pity if these issues will just pass without having them be pursued in a formal investigation. These are very serious allegations that are supported by documentary and testimonial evidence,” he said.
Mamba, who is Enrile’s political rival in Cagayan, said he was more concerned that the accusations raised by Santiago involved the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), which operates the CSEZFP.
Enrile authored Republic Act 7922 (Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995), the law that created the CEZA and gave the agency authority to operate casinos, jai-alai games, horse racing and other online gambling activities and support recreational facilities.
Santiago, in her privilege speech, said CEZA has tolerated the “illegal” operations of “favored” gambling licensees in Makati City and Quezon City, which are supposedly outside the freeport’s jurisdiction.
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