Enrile, Estrada suspension up
MANILA, Philippines–Detained senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada can now file bills and collect their pay after their suspension from the Senate was lifted, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Monday.
The 90-day suspensions of Enrile and Estrada, who are on trial for plunder and graft over the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam in the Sandiganbayan, were lifted on Nov. 28 and 29, respectively.
The suspension of their colleague, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. who is also facing trial on similar charges in the same anti-graft court, began only last month.
“Yes, their entitlements as members of the Senate have been reinstated,” Drilon said. “Well, except for the fact that they cannot vote because voting requires physical presence.”
Drilon, however, deferred to the court to decide whether the senators could attend hearings in the Senate, or request hearings inside the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, where they are detained.
The Senate implemented the 90-day suspension of Revilla and his chief of staff, Richard Cambe, on Nov. 3. in compliance with a Sandiganbayan directive.
The senators were indicted for plunder and graft along with their staff members, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and Congress representatives in connection with the scam.
Their cases were raffled off to three divisions in the antigraft court.
While suspended, the senators could not file bills or sign committee reports, and collect their salaries. But their staff, who remained in the Senate, still received their pay.–TJ Burgonio
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