Enrile claims Villar tried to buy him off

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – A day after formally presenting a Senate committee report recommending the censure of Sen. Manny Villar for alleged unethical conduct, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile revealed Tuesday that Villar tried to buy him off by offering his “help” if Enrile changed his position on the C-5 road project controversy.

In an interview over radio dzMM and ABS-CBN News, Enrile, who is allegedly facing a coup plot hatched by Villar’s allies, said Villar invited him to lunch last August 29, 2009 to discuss the Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry on the C-5 road extension project.

During their discussion, Enrile assured Villar of a fair hearing in the Senate inquiry if the latter just presented his evidence. He said Villar kept trying to persuade him to drop the inquiry and even hinted that he would be willing to repay Enrile for the favor.

“He [Villar] said: ‘Manong, pag may pangangailangan naman kayo, maaari naman ako tulungan kita.’ Sabi ko: ‘Manny, kung matutulungan kita na hindi labag sa batas, magkaibigan tayo, tutulungan kita. Wala nang kailangan na kapalit yun.’ E paulit-ulit. ‘Kung mayroon kang kailangan.’ E wala akong kailangan from Manny. Ako simple lang ang buhay ko.,” Enrile said in a radio dzMM interview.

(Villar said: ‘Manong, if you ever need anything, maybe I can help. I said: ‘Manny, if I can help you in any way that does not violate the law, we are friends and I will help. You don’t have to give me anything in return.’ But he kept on repeating it. ‘If you ever need anything.’ I don’t need anything from Manny. I live a simple life.)

He later told ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol World: “Para bang binibili yung loyalty ko. Parang ang dating sa akin ay sinusuhulan ako (It felt like he was buying my loyalty, like he was trying to bribe me).”

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