November 8, 2000, The Philippine Star, Political scandals not a monopoly of Estrada -- Enrile, by Perseus Echeminada,
Though past presidents of the Republic had also been embroiled in controversy, not one of them knew the trouble President Estrada has seen, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile said yesterday. Enrile said former Presidents Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and even the late father of Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had their own share of scandals in varying degrees during their incumbencies, but no one called for their resignation.
At a press conference, Enrile said Aquino, one of the prime movers of the resign Estrada movement, had her Kamag-anak Inc. controversy where her relatives were accused of getting favors from government. "I exposed in the Senate that relatives of former President Aquino amassed at least 39 companies during her incumbency," he said. Enrile said Ramos was hailed to the hearing of the Blue Ribbon Committee which was looking into the anomalous PEA-Amari deal exposed by former Sen. Ernesto Maceda.
On the other hand, Enrile said the Harry Stonehill payola and other scandals broke out during the term of the late President Diosdado Macapagal, father of Arroyo who is also calling for Mr. Estrada's resignation. "As a young lawyer I participated in the investigation of the Stonehill scandal," he said. Enrile said former President Manuel Roxas, grandfather of resigned Trade Secretary Manuel Roxas II, was also dragged into controversy over the Araneta real estate case, which now comprises the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
The critics of Elpidio Quirino, the senator said, likewise did not spare him when they hit the former president's golden bed and paraded his chamberpot in public. And during the time of President Manuel Quezon, the construction of Highway 54, the present EDSA, was marred by the issue regarding the Madrigal estate in Mandaluyong through which the highway would run.
Ramon Magsaysay, known as the champion of the masses, was also implicated in some dealings of a relative while Carlos Garcia was likewise linked to scandal involving alleged corruption of his executive secretary,Enrile said. Enrile however noted that despite the scandals, the previous presidents were not subjected to pressures to resign from their post, unlike the current travails of Mr. Estrada. He said the critics of the President should not rock the boat using the jueteng scandal and just let the constitutional process run its course.
The senator also belittled the call of various business groups demanding the resignation of Mr. Estrada, saying they do not represent the majority of the Filipino people. "Business groups do not elect a president," Enrile said. But Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. disputed this, saying a business group like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has a nationwide network and could influence the masses. –Perseus Echeminada