MANILA – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago rejected on Thursday a call to grant house arrest to detained Senator Juan Ponce Enrile due to his health condition and age.
Santiago said if Enrile should be granted house arrest, other aging detainees with pneumonia should also be given the same privilege.
”Equal protection of the law requires that although people are by nature unequal, the law must treat them equally. That is what it means. The law must treat every person equally,” Santiago said in a press conference in the Senate.
Last Monday, Senator Vicente Sotto III lobbied from the Senate for house arrest for the former Senate President who was rushed to hospital due to pneumonia over the weekend.
Sotto proposed that the 91-year-old Enrile be detained at his Makati City residence.
”If we allow this, all elderly in detention will have pneumonia. There will be an epidemic of pneumonia,” Santiago, a known rival of Enrile, said.
Santiago explained that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who, like Enrile, is also facing plunder charges, is also sick but has been granted hospital arrest.
“Why President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been granted hospital arrest, while Enrile will be given house arrest? That violates equal protection,” Santiago explained.
Enrile, along with Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, is presently detained at Camp Crame over graft and plunder charges for allegedly getting kickbacks from their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) through fake non-government organizations (NGOs) of Janet Lim Napoles.