Defensor responds to Enrile's tirade: 'My assistance was sought'

Former Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor stated for the record Thursday, Aug. 11 that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) "sought his assistance" on traffic issues.

Mike Defensor (left) and Juan Ponce Enrile (Facebook, Malacañang)

"I am an official nor a consultant of MMDA as this is a violation of law in my one year prohibition. I am not getting a single centavo in my effort to help the administration," Defensor, who lost in the mayoralty race in Quezon City during the May 2022 elections, wrote in a Facebook post.

Defensor was reacting to a Facebook post from former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who called him out after seeing him in a photo of what appeared to be meeting with MMDA officials.

Enrile's post came with a criticism of people who allegedly "take undue advantage" of the kindness of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Defensor ran under Marcos's ticket during the polls.

"I opted to keep quiet until I have spoken to Manong Johnny and personally clarify with him as regards the points he raised," the former congressman said.

"First of all, that particular meeting was regarding the Oplan Balik Eskwela, where the preparations are being made to ensure the smooth flow of traffic when we officially open classes. As a friend of Chairman Engr. Carlo Dimayuga and as a former chief of staff of the President (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), I was asked to help out in the MMDA effort since this will be the first time after two years that we will open our schools. I have always been involved in the Balik Eskwela effort in the past and in particular in the discussions on the traffic preparations," explained Defensor.

"I hold office there nor do I order people around. It was one meeting where my assistance was sought to help the government effort to ensure the success of our traffic response and the safety and convenience of our students and their families. I explained this to Manong Johnny and he also explained to me his role in protecting the President. We are in agreement," he said.

"I will continue to help the President and his administration in my private capacity and when I am asked to do so," Defensor stressed.