‘Frail’ health prompts Enrile to seek bail on plunder rap
MANILA, Philippines–Citing his “poor and frail physical condition requiring constant medical attention,” former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Friday filed an omnibus motion for bail on his plunder raps in connection to his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
In a 51-page urgent motion filed before the Sandiganbayan, Enrile said the court should allow him to post bail on his plunder raps because the pieces of evidence against him have no “probative value.” Plunder is a non-bailable offense.
Enrile’s camp said this was because the documents and signatures were forged and fabricated by the employees of Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the scam.
He also said there was no evidence to show that he directly participated in the alleged scam, especially as the whistleblowers themselves said they had not transacted directly with Enrile.
The motion also said said “Enrile should be entitled to the most reasonable amount of bail possible considering that… he is already 90 years of age and of poor physical condition, requiring constant medical attention.”
According to three medical certificates attached to the omnibus motion, Enrile has the following illnesses: Diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, chronic hypertension, extensive coronary artery calcification in the right coronary, age-related macular degeneration, elevated blood fasting sugar, mild anemia, and eight other diseases.
According to a medical certificate from the Makati Medical Center, Enrile is also under 22 maintenance medicines for his illnesses: 21 tablets and an injection.
Enrile also said he should be allowed to post bail because he was not a “flight risk” because he would surely appear before the court for the trial.
Enrile, and Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada were charged with plunder and graft before the Sandiganbayan for being allegedly involved in the purported misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) for kickbacks.
Also charged was alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, whose supposedly bogus organizations were allegedly used as dummy fronts for kickbacks.
Enrile filed the motion just hours after the anti-graft court consolidated the cases and raffled them off to their respective court divisons.
Also, the Sandiganbayan said the arrest warrants against the accused cannot be issued automatically within the 10-day period after the court receives the case because the court still has to find probable cause.
Ombudsman said it found probable cause to indict Revilla with one count of plunder and 16 counts of graft; Enrile with one count of plunder and 15 counts of graft; and Estrada with one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft.
The anti-corruption agency said the senators’ following PDAF were “never used for the intended projects”: Revilla with P517 million PDAF, Enrile with P345 million PDAF, and Estrada with P278 million PDAF.
Other pork barrel scam players were also implicated in the plunder case. Enrile’s co-accused is Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Estrada’s co-accused is Pauline Labayen, and Revilla’s co-accused is Richard Cambe. Co-accused for all three senators are Napoles and John Raymund De Asis. Co-accused for both Enrile and Revilla is Ronald John Lim.
Lim is Napoles’ nephew while De Asis is her long-time employee.
Meanwhile, the accused personalities in the graft case are: Cambe; De Asis; Mario Relampagos, Undersecretary for Operations in the Department of Budget and Management; Antonio Ortiz , former Director General, Technology Resource Center (TRC),Dennis Cunanan, Director General-on leave, TRC; Francisco Figura, group manager, TRC; Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana, group manager, TRC; Marivic Jover, chief accountant, TRC; Myla Ogerio, Eulogio Rodriguez, Laarni Uy, Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule and Marilou Bare.
The pork barrel scam in the form of PDAF has long been seen as a tool for political patronage and corruption.
The high court ruled the practice of allotting public funds to lawmakers to ease their constituencies’ poverty as unconstitutional at the height of the investigation on the scam.
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