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Philippine president favors considerate treatment of 90-year-old senator
Publication Date : 25-06-2014
Philippine President Aquino on Tuesday said jailers should be considerate toward 90-year-old Senator Juan Ponce Enrile who was also facing arrest on plunder charges stemming from his alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
“It seems there should be consideration to that, that is an established fact … I’m sure the courts are cognizant of fulfilling the obligations but at the same time, having as a factor the advanced age of Senator Enrile,” the President said at a press conference.
Aquino recalled that when he was in the Senate with Enrile, the latter was already reading with a magnifying glass and constantly used eye drops.
The Constitution itself, under the Bill of Rights, states that “cruel, degrading or inhumane punishment” should not be inflicted on a person, the President said.
He did not say whether Enrile should just be placed under house arrest.
Enrile, a former Senate President who presided over the impeachment trial and conviction of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, has been charged with plunder and graft in connection with the 10-billion-peso (US$2.28 billion) pork barrel scam.
The Sandiganbayan division assigned to handle his case is expected to issue an arrest warrant against him any time now.
Two other senators—Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, who are also charged with plunder and graft for allegedly pocketing kickbacks in the same alleged pork barrel scam—are now detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
Enrile allegedly funneled 683 million pesos of his allocations from the PDAF to phantom projects proposed by Janet Lim-Napoles through bogus nongovernment organisations (NGOs) from 2004 to 2012, getting 50 percent in kickbacks.
Revilla is accused of plowing 1.2 billion pesos of his PDAF allocations into Napoles’ NGOs, also allegedly receiving 50 per cent in kickbacks from every project.
Estrada is allegedly the biggest contributor to Napoles’ scam, channeling 1.6 billion pesos of his PDAF allocations to ghost projects through the NGOs.
The Inquirer tried to contact the lawyer of Enrile to get his reaction to Aquino’s statement about the senator but he did not reply to text messages and phone calls.