MANILA – Majority of the senators have supported a call to the Sandiganbayan to put ailing Senator Juan Ponce Enrile under house arrest.
Acting Senate minority leader Vicente Sotto III on Thursday provided a copy of his letter to the Third Division to the Sandiganbayan containing signatures of 16 senators, including Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Aside from Drilon and Sotto, other senators who signed the petition are Senators Serge Osmena III, Ralph Recto, Sonny Angara, Lito Lapid, Cynthia Villar, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, Teofisto Guingona III, Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero and three minority senators Gregorio Honasan II, Joseph Victor Ejercito and Nancy Binay.
Attached in the letter submitted to the Sandiganbayan was the copy of Sotto’s privilege speech last March 2 where he asked the Senate to pass a resolution asking the proper authority to exercise “its judicial compassion” by allowing Enrile to be detained at his residence in Makati City.
Enrile is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital at Camp Crame on plunder and graft charges in connection with the alleged misuse of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
”As expressed in said speech, compassion is urged to be extended to Senator Enrile on account of his health condition and his being 91 years old already,” Sotto stated in his letter to Sandiganbayan dated March 9.
”Other senators have expressed conformity with the intent and tenor of said privilege speech,” Sotto said.
Sotto said his privilege speech could be used “as an attachment in any previous or future motion of the counsel of Enrile seeking the grant of said house arrest.”
The senators who signatures did not appear in Sotto’s letter are Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes IV and Miriam Defensor-Santiago who openly opposed Sotto’s proposal.
Two other senators — Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. were also detained at Camp Crame with plunder and graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.