MANILA — For Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, it will not be a good idea to grant house arrest for Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention.
“Why should President Gloria Arroyo, a former president of the Philippines, be granted hospital arrest only while Enrile, who is just a former Senate president, should be granted house arrest?”
This, according to her, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
“That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said.
The senator also commented on Enrile’s health condition, adding that she sees no proof that Enrile is really suffering pneumonia.
She also added that ordinary cold can easily be confused with pneumonia.
“Pneumonia mimics a cold,” she said. “So if you are coughing then you could already be placed under house arrest? You might as well just keep on coughing.”
“There will be an epidemic of pneumonia in the jails,” she said. “I am certain of that.”
She also added that granting house arrest because of age is not right from a legal standpoint.
“How many people of his age have died in jail waiting for their appeals to be decided?” she asked.
“Why are we making an exception for him? If we want persons of that age to stay out of jail, let us have a law, that is the procedure. You don’t ask for an exception for one person in a democracy.”
Santiago also said that granting the house arrest for the argument that Enrile’s right to life includes the right to be taken away from a correctional facility will trivialize the constitutional principle.
“It does not meet the threshold of a possible threat to the life of a person because every person is entitled to life, but not in that sense,” she said.