HIROSHIMA – President Aquino has disclosed that he is amenable to suggestions from some senators that Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile be granted house or hospital arrest for humanitarian reasons, given his advanced years and frail condition.
On board a chartered plane en route from Hiroshima to Tokyo, Aquino told reporters yesterday that he feels Enrile should be granted more leniency than his two colleagues, Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada. The two lawmakers are currently detained at the Camp Crame Custodial Center after the Sandiganbayan ordered their arrest for plunder, relative to the 10-billion peso pork barrel scam.
Aquino, who was the keynote speaker at the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao, an event sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Hiroshima, said that Enrile is “already 90 years old, there has to be consideration.”
“The guy is known to have a lot of ailments. That is an established fact,” Aquino said, as he cited the 1987 Constitution, Bill of Rights, Section 19, sub-section 1, which states that “a fine shall not be imposed or cruel, degrading, inhuman punishment inflicted.”
Enrile is afflicted with poor hearing, high blood pressure and vertigo.
The President added that he and Enrile had “been together in the Senate,” recalling his three-year term as a member of the chamber before his victory in the May 2010 presidential elections.
The anti-graft court’s Third Division has not yet determined if there is probable cause to order the arrest of Enrile, who is charged with plunder for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.