Court orders PNP to submit report on Enrile transfer to private hospital
MANILA, Philippines–The Sandiganbayan on Monday ordered the Philippine National Police to submit an official report regarding the transfer of detained Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to a private hospital from Philippine National Police General Hospital last week after he was reportedly found to have contracted pneumonia.
Dennis Pulma, clerk of court of the antigraft court’s Third Division, said Chief Supt. Teresita Dumlao, head of the PNP Health Service, was directed to explain within three days why Enrile had to be taken to Makati Medical Center on Feb. 26.
“The task of submitting to the court a report on any visit or transfer of Senator Enrile… for medical reasons rests primarily on the shoulders of the administrator or director of PNP General Hospital,” Pulma told reporters.
He noted that a letter informing the court of Enrile’s transfer was submitted by the senator’s lawyers. He added that the letter, which was also signed by Dumlao, was addressed not to the court but the office of the clerk of court.
Enrile was placed under hospital arrest after he was indicted for graft and plunder in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel racket.
Two weeks after he celebrated his 91st birthday, he was rushed to the Makati hospital after he reportedly experienced fever due to pneumonia.
Acting Senate Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Monday moved for the adoption of a Senate resolution proposing that Enrile be detained at his Makati residence in view of his health.
“He is not a flight risk, and neither is he intending to be one,” Sotto said in a manifestation on the floor.
“He was rushed to the Makati Medical Center a few days ago, maybe because our government hospitals may not be properly equipped to handle his condition. His health concerns are many, given the fact that he is 91 years old,” he added.
Senate President Franklin Drilon referred his motion to the committee on rules, saying this should be given priority.
Sotto said he was aware of the separation of the three branches of government, but said this was not “airtight” or “inflexible.”
Besides, he added, Enrile has not been convicted. “I simply want to rely on our operating principle that innocence is presumed. Furthermore, upon reaching the age of 70, even convicted criminals are considered for pardon under the present rules of the Department of Justice,” Sotto said.
Sen. Grace Poe earlier said Enrile should be “accorded the best medical care.”
“Whatever his doctor advises that will improve his condition should be followed,” she said.
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