Enrile walks free from PNP hospital
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has left the Philippine National Police General Hospital in Camp Crame where he was detained for more than a year over his alleged involvement in the multimillion pork barrel scam.
Enrile left the police camp at 5:55 p.m. on Thursday to post his P1-million bail before the Sandiganbayan Third Division after the Supreme Court granted him temporary liberty on Tuesday. He was accompanied by his lawyers and personnel from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
None of Enrile’s family members will accompany Enrile to Sandiganbayan, according to the senator’s daughter Katrina.
“From Sandiganbayan, they will proceed home. We will wait (for him) at home,” Katrina said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
The PNP Health Service said Enrile’s hospital bill reached a total of P76,000 for his 152-day stay in the government hospital. But with the senior citizen’s privilege of 20-percent discount, he will only pay P61,040.
In an ambush interview, PNP Health Service spokesperson Chief Inspector Raymond Santos said the senator may not be obliged to pay the bill as he is an “authorized patient.” He said Enrile is also covered by Republic Act 10645 or the act providing for the mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all senior citizens.
A patient is authorized when the court orders his or her detention in or admission to a certain hospital.
Apart from the regular balance, Santos said Enrile, from the beginning, shouldered the expenses for his laboratory procedures and other extra fees.
“But if he decides to give a certain amount, then it is up to him to give,” he said.
Asked about the current condition of Enrile, Santos said: “He is doing well. He has no medical complaints. He has hypertension but it is controlled.”
He said the Senator’s current blood pressure is normal at 130/70.
Facing plunder charges, the 91-year-old senator surrendered to the PNP in July 2014 following the issuance of arrest warrant against him for allegedly pocketing P172 million in kickbacks from ghost projects funded by a congressional pork fund.
Giving Enrile a chance to process his bail, the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court opened on a non-working holiday on Wednesday, waiting for the high court to issue the official copy of the resolution.
Controversy hounded Enrile’s stay at the PNP General Hospital particularly during his 91st birthday celebration on February 14 where he partied with Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who’s also detained for plunder at the PNP Custodial Center—a few meters away from the hospital.
Government lawyers presented in a Sandiganbayan hearing a photo of Revilla and Enrile seated around a table inside the Specialty Ward where Enrile’s room was located.
Revilla and several other men, including his son Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla, were seen in the pictures. Revilla’s camp said the meeting was “merely accidental” since the younger senator happened to be at the Emergency Room of the hospital at the time of Enrile’s party.
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II then ordered an investigation on the incident as well as the relief of Headquarters Support Service head Chief Superintendent Alberto Supapo and duty officer Senior Inspector Celina Tapawan. Supapo was eventually cleared of any liabilities.
Chief of the custodial security unit Superintendent Lobello Fabro, who gave permission for Revilla’s check-up, was also ordered investigated.
Along with Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Revilla has been detained at the PNP Custodial Center since June last year following their indictment for graft and plunder in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Stay at home
According to CIDG director Chief Superintendent Victor Deona, once the senator has successfully posted bail, the CIDG has no hold of Enrile–even as security escorts unless the family or his lawyers ask for their assistance.
“Once the release order is signed, we cannot follow them anymore even as security escorts, unless his camp makes a request to provide security for the senator,” Deona said in an interview on Tuesday.
Deona also said Enrile’s family may opt to have the Senator transferred to their preferred hospital.
But when asked if they would have the Senator transferred to another hospital, Katrina said: “He will go home first. It was the court that insisted that he be placed in the PNP General Hospital.” Julliane Love De Jesus/IDL
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