Enrile studying his case; Estrada ‘immune’; Revilla leaves it to God
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile does not mind sharing jail space with an Abu Sayyaf guerrilla, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada doesn’t care where he will be detained, while Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. rues what he calls an unending “trial by publicity.”
All three senators say they are ready to be arrested and detained once the Sandiganbayan rules that a plunder case, yet to be filed, merits trial.
The Office of the Ombudsman announced on April 1 that there was sufficient evidence against the senators in the case stemming from the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam. It is yet to rule on motions for reconsideration from the respondents.
News reports say the Philippine National Police is preparing its detention center at its Camp Crame headquarters to accommodate the three once the Sandiganbayan orders their arrest for plunder, a nonbailable crime penalized with life imprisonment.
In interviews on Tuesday, Enrile and Estrada said they would put up a fight in court; Revilla said he would leave it all up to God.
The 90-year-old Enrile said that he was not offended by a report that he would be placed in a renovated bungalow in Camp Crame’s prison complex.
Enrile keeps to himself
“I’m ready to defend myself,” Enrile told reporters, saying he had been detained before, in the 1990s and in 2001. He said he was not bothered by the prospects of imprisonment. “You only get stressed if you are guilty,’ he said.
“I’m confident that in a fair trial and in a fair court—I’m sure the courts will be fair about this—I’ll have a fair chance of winning the case,” he said. “I’ve been trained in that art in the same way you are trained in your art, so all of us are practitioners.”
Enrile said he had kept to himself, quietly studying his case in its entirety—“not half-baked so as to avoid pitfalls and surprises.”
Told that reports say he might have as cellmates communist leaders Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma, he said, “It’s OK whoever they are, even the Abu Sayaff.”
Asked if he would seek any special consideration, he said he probably would if he got sick but if he was not allowed he would “take my chances.”
Estrada said his only recourse was to “slug it out, to fight it out before the proper courts.” He said he was “immune” from all the negative news reports about him and that he had not been reading newspapers because this would only stress him.
He said the news report on the detention preparations only showed “they’re really hell bent on jailing us.”
Estrada said he had received information that the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation had been visiting Napoles, who was confined at the Ospital ng Makati, purportedly to sign papers pinning down the three senators.
Revilla said he hoped there would be an end to his “trial by publicity.”
Have a heart
“I hope you would have a heart. Maybe you also have children and a wife who could be hurt. Eight or nine months of pain inflicted on my family are enough.”
Revilla said he was ready to face anything because he knew what was happening had to do with politics.
He said he had prepared his family and told them not to cry when he is charged, arrested and detained because this would only delight the enemy.
Revilla also said that some people were “casing” his house as early as 6 a.m. “I don’t know the scenarios. Whatever they are doing, I leave it all to God,” he said.
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