Enrile in hospital arrest; Gigi Reyes at QC jail
They will miss each other. But maybe not for long.
Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile turned himself in to the Philippine National Police on Friday afternoon after the Sandiganbayan Third Division ordered his arrest.
But his former chief of staff and coaccused, lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, who was also ordered arrested, is not detained in the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City, where Enrile, 90, is being held in a police hospital.
At 7 on Friday night, the court ordered Reyes held at the Sandiganbayan detention cell over the weekend. The court ordered that she be moved to the Quezon City Jail on Monday for her to be detained there while on trial with Enrile on plunder charges.
Plunder is a nonbailable offense.
Police sources have said the last of the four rooms in the newly renovated detention bungalow was reserved for a female detainee, most likely Reyes, who has been romantically linked to Enrile.
Enrile has denied having an affair with Reyes but his wife Cristina confirmed the relationship in a recent television interview.
“That’s a wife’s suspicion,” Enrile said then.
But on Friday, Enrile was sad as he said goodbye to Cristina and their children and grandchildren, according to his lawyer Enrique de la Cruz.
“He was sad. He kissed his wife, children and grandchildren. He told them: ‘Don’t cry. I’m not leaving. I will return. You wait for my return,’” De la Cruz recounted the departure scene at the Enrile residence on Morada Street, Dasmariñas Village.
Later at Camp Crame, a ranking police official who saw Enrile while he was being booked said the senator visibly tried to fight off his emotions as his two children, Katrina and former Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, watched policemen take their father’s fingerprints and mug shots.
“He was trying his best to be relaxed and be jolly. He was smiling, but you could see the sadness in his eyes,” the police official said.
He said Enrile tightly hugged his son for a few minutes before boarding the ambulance that would take him to the PNP General Hospital.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be OK. Just take care of your mommy,” the police official quoted Enrile as telling his son.
“It was a very emotional and touching moment, a father saying goodbye to his son,” he added.
In a decision dated July 3 but issued only on Friday afternoon, the Third Division ordered the arrests of Enrile, Reyes, alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, her nephew Ronald John Lim and her driver-bodyguard John Raymund de Asis on plunder charges brought against them by the Ombudsman on June 6.
The court issued the arrest order after denying Enrile’s and Napoles’ motions to dismiss the charges against them for lack of evidence.
The court also denied Enrile’s bail petition, saying it was premature.
Enrile is accused of embezzling P174 million from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in conspiracy with Napoles, Reyes and the others.
This is the third time for the former justice secretary, Senate President and martial law enforcer of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to be arrested. (See What Went Before.)
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, chair of the Third Division, and division members Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz signed the arrest order.
The three justices went home after issuing the order but returned to the court to discuss Reyes’ commitment.
Reyes did not ask the court to order her detention at the PNP Custodial Center where Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada are also being held on plunder charges.
But maybe there’s a chance that Reyes will not be sharing jail time with hardened criminals.
The court ordered the Quezon City jail warden to report within three days whether the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology had “adequate facility” to detain her at the city jail.
Arrest came fast
While he had anticipated it, Enrile didn’t expect that the Sandiganbayan would so quickly order his arrest.
When the order came, Enrile motored in an eight-vehicle convoy from his home in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City to the PNP headquarters in Quezon City for booking, without fanfare.
Before leaving for Camp Crame, Enrile rolled down the window of a white Chevrolet Suburban to greet reporters outside his home at 2305 Morado Street. He did not issue a statement.
His son and daughter followed him in another car, De la Cruz said on radio dzMM.
“It has always been his intention that once the warrant comes out, he will voluntarily surrender. He’s merely fulfilling his promise,” De la Cruz said.
“He was expecting this, but not this fast. We thought it was going to come next week. He has an eye operation tomorrow morning at Asian Eye Center in Rockwell. So we were expecting this to come out next week, perhaps Monday,” he added.
De la Cruz did not say what was wrong with Enrile’s eye and which eye.
He said Enrile had filed several manifestations and the Sandiganbayan Third Division was still sifting through the voluminous documents submitted by the Ombudsman.
A laugh before leaving
Enrile and his Senate staff shared a laugh before he left for Camp Crame.
“My boss is not afraid to spend time in jail, especially now because he knows he did nothing wrong,” said one of Enrile’s staff members, who agreed to talk to the Inquirer but on condition of anonymity.
“He’s been through situations like this before. We know he can defend himself against the accusation against him,” the staff member said.
The source said Enrile was “amused” at the sight of news crews tailing the convoy of vehicles taking him to the police camp.
“Senator Enrile was actually laughing while he was monitoring the news on radio. He was amused by how the TV crews were able to tail our vehicle,” the source said.
Enrile’s lawyers said they would file a motion to set a hearing on his motion for bail, which the Sandiganbayan said was premature.
Enrile had said his indictment for plunder and graft was an opportunity to prove his innocence.
He said he would show that Reyes did not receive any kickbacks for him, as alleged by star witness Ruby Tuason.
Enrile’s convoy arrived at Camp Crame at 5:30 p.m.
Enrile, dressed in a polo barong, gave Katrina one last, tight hug and submitted himself for booking.
“He told us to take care of my mom,” Katrina told reporters after her father was booked.
The booking took an hour, as Enrile had to rest after each stage, going to the toilet at least twice.
Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said Enrile’s blood pressure was 200/90 while his pulse rate was 84.
Enrile’s lawyers, however, gave different figures: 210/90 on arrival and 190/90 on leaving for the PNP General Hospital.
“His temporary hospital confinement was recommended for further observation due to his medical condition,” Sindac said.
Although Enrile had no complaints while being booked, PNP doctors noted a heart murmur, or abnormal heart sound.
Sindac said Enrile was taking medicines for hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, vertigo, blood thinners, antianemia injectibles and multivitamins.
Enrile will be confined in an air-conditioned room at the police hospital, where a nurse and a personal assistant will be allowed to monitor him with PNP doctors, Sindac said.
As in the arrests of Senators Revilla and Estrada last month, Malacañang said Enrile’s arrest was a “step forward” in the search for the truth about the alleged misuse of the PDAF.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte urged the public to “remain vigilant” as the pork barrel scam cases moved through the courts.
President Aquino has said he favored the grant of humanitarian consideration to Enrile because of the Senate minority leader’s advanced age. With reports from Marlon Ramos, Julie M. Aurelio, Nikko Dizon and AFP
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