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Hello JPE? Gloria’s camp denies calling Enrile to push for CamSur bill

September 20, 2012 2:19pm

From “Hello Garci” to “Hello JPE”? As far as former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s camp is concerned, she didn’t make another controversial phone call.

Elena Bautista-Horn, Arroyo’s chief-of-staff and spokesperson, on Thursday said the former President never called up Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile to push for the passage of a bill splitting Camarines Sur into two provinces.

“She [Arroyo] never called nor talked to JPE about it,” Horn said in a text message.

In a separate statement, Horn said Arroyo’s camp is “deeply saddened” that the ex-President’s name “is being dragged again into another controversy.”

“This time, she is being wrongly used to sow disrespect to a venerable and independent institution like the Senate,” Arroyo’s spokesperson said.

On Wednesday, Senator Antonio Trillañes IV said Arroyo “personally called up” Enrile asking to “speed up” the passage of the measure dividing Camarines Sur into two provinces.

This triggered a war of words between Trillanes and Enrile, who was accused by his colleague of being a “lackey” of the former President.

Arroyo’s youngest son, Diosdado ("Dato"), is the incumbent congressman of the first district of Camarines Sur.

Focused on wellness

This is not the first time Arroyo was involved in a controversy involving a phone call. In 2005, the former President admitted to calling then-elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano at the height of the 2004 elections.

In the conversation contained in the so-called “Hello Garci” tapes, Arroyo was alleged to have directed Garcillano to ensure that she will have a lead of a million votes over the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., the opposition standard bearer.

In a television broadcast, the former President said she indeed spoke with the poll official and apologized for her supposed “lapse in judgment.”

Horn however said that Arroyo’s priority now is “very much centered on her wellness and her still precarious health condition.” The former President has bone mineral disorder.

“She [Arroyo] chose to focus on her legislative work. She regrets that her name is being used to discredit and malign the name of a much-respected official of the land like the Senate President,” Horn said in the statement.

Arroyo, incumbent Pampanga representative, is currently out on bail for poll sabotage charges. She is also facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan for the botched national broadband deal entered into by the government with the Chinese firm ZTE during her incumbency.  — BM, GMA News
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