JPE seeks hospital arrest
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - July 8, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile wants to remain in the police hospital where he has been held since Friday for plunder and be allowed to undergo medical examination and treatment in another hospital outside Camp Crame.

In a motion filed with the Sandiganbayan Third Division yesterday, Enrile – through his lawyers – requested that he be allowed to stay at the PNP General Hospital (PNPGH)while in detention, citing his health problems.

His lawyers also asked the Sandiganbayan to allow the 90-year-old senator to undergo examination and treatment in another hospital as the PNPGH “may not have the necessary specialists or resources to fully address Enrile’s elderly needs… and (his) poor medical condition.”

They also petitioned the Sandiganbayan to give the PNPGH head or administrator a “continuing authority” to exercise his professional medical judgment or discretion to allow Enrile’s “immediate access of, or temporary visit to, another medical facility outside of Camp Crame.”

They said the senator may be “returned forthwith” to the PNPGH “after completion of the appropriate medical treatment or procedure.”

Enrile was the third senator to be ordered arrested for plunder for allegedly embezzling their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the official term for congressional pork barrel. Enrile and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. are being accused of conniving with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles in skimming millions of pesos from their PDAF.

No need for court OK

But even without Sandiganbayan approval, Enrile’s police custodians had allowed him to undergo two successive visits to the Asian Eye Institute in Makati City for treatment of his left eye.

Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office (PIO) director, said there was no need for the PNP to seek court clearance for Enrile’s hospital trip since the senator was still technically under custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) until Monday morning as the warrant for his arrest had not yet been returned to the anti-graft court when the trip was made.

Sindac said Enrile’s lawyer pleaded that the senator be allowed immediately to undergo eye operation and successive checks to prevent him from going blind.

Enrile surrendered late Friday afternoon, leaving the PNP with no time to return the warrant to the Sandiganbayan, whose office hours ended at 5 p.m.

The senator had his eye operation on Saturday and checkup on Sunday. He is scheduled to have another eye procedure on July 12.

Sindac said Enrile’s blood pressure yesterday was 140/70, pulse rate 63 and his temperature 36 degrees Celsius. He added that a PNP cardiologist also checked on the senator and recommended that he undergo a two-dimensional echocardiogram (2D Echo) tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. at the PNPGH.

Sindac said the camp of the senator wants “to keep whatever goes on as private as possible.”

“They have specific visitors, 60 are allowed, including 14 family members, eight VIPs – senators, congressman, the vice president, a former president, 14 immediate family members, members of the legal team, nine Senate staff, eight doctors, and 12 security personnel, personal staff, personal nurse and staff,” Sindac added.

Although the procedure lasted for only 10 minutes, Sindac said the eye institute declined to share details except their concern about the risk of moving their equipment outside hospital to serve the medical needs of a patient.

Friday arraignment

Enrile is set to be arraigned for plunder and graft on Friday along with Napoles and his former chief-of-staff Jessica “Gigi” Reyes.

The Sandiganbayan scheduled the arraignment after the CIDG returned the warrant of arrest against the senator yesterday.

Enrile, Reyes, and Napoles will face the magistrates of the ant-graft court’s Third Division headed by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang at 8:30 a.m. to hear the charges and enter a plea.

After the arraignment, the Sandiganbayan will schedule a pre-trail and preliminary conference before a full-blown trial.

Enrile and Napoles have filed petitions for bail so they can enjoy temporary liberty while undergoing trial.

The Sandiganbayan ordered their arrest last Friday after determining that there was probable cause to proceed with the criminal cases filed against them by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Enrile is being accused of pocketing more than P183 million in kickbacks for pork funded-projects implemented by non-government organizations linked to Napoles.

Meanwhile, ombudsman prosecutors are preparing to present 41 witnesses against Revilla and his co-accused.

Government lawyers filed a pre-trial brief before the anti-graft court’s First Division yesterday listing persons who would take the witness stand led by whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

Ombudsman investigators and Commission on Audit (COA) auditors would also be included as witnesses for the prosecution.

The prosecution pegged the number of witnesses at 41 but some entries have more than one name, meaning more than 41 would likely be presented.

Revilla and Napoles have yet to submit their pre-trial briefs

Lawyer Stephen David, counsel for Napoles, however bared that they intend to present some 15 witnesses of their own.

He told The STAR that Napoles herself is expected to take the witness stand and defend herself before the anti-graft court.

Hearings on Revilla and Napoles’ petitions for bail will begin on Thursday. Richard Cambe, Revilla’s former chief of staff who is also being held at Camp Crame, is also asking for bail. –Cecille Suerte Felipe

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with