Ex-SC chief: ‘Old age’ not ground for bail
MANILA, Philippines–The courts have “wide discretion” in deciding where people accused of crimes are to be detained.
For retired Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban Jr., Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s age should be taken into account in choosing where he will be detained after his arrest.
Enrile, accused of plunder and graft over the P10-billion pork barrel scam, is 90.
“In my personal opinion, consideration should be given to Senator Enrile because of his old age. It is obvious that he has some infirmities,” Panganiban said in a phone interview with the Inquirer. “Detaining him in jail or even in the PNP Custodial Center might cause his health to deteriorate.”
Panganiban said it was up to the Sandiganbayan to determine where Enrile would be detained.
“Detention prior to conviction pending trial is only a preventive measure to ensure that the accused will not escape,” he explained. “It is not a consequence of guilt. It is just a preventive measure to make sure the accused is there for the trial.”
Panganiban said Enrile could be detained in a hospital or placed under house arrest.
But he emphasized that old age is not a ground for bail. “There is only one ground for bail. If the evidence of guilt is not strong, then the accused can be granted bail,” he said.
At a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, President Aquino said the jailers should be considerate toward Enrile because of the Senate minority leader’s advanced age.
“It seems there should be consideration [for] that. That is an established fact,” Aquino said, referring to Enrile’s age.
The President has the power to grant executive clemency, but only after conviction.–Inquirer Research
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.