SEN. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said the possible granting of a petition to temporarily free Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile from detention is a welcome development as his inputs and wise counsel could help in plenary debates on his proposed version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which was renamed as the Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR).
Marcos said he really wants Enrile to participate in deliberations on the proposed Bangsamoro law considering his vast experience as a legislator, as a lawyer and as a former defense secretary who faced the Moro rebellion head on.
Enrile was defense minister in the administration of the senator’s father and namesake, President Ferdinand Marcos.
Marcos said he had long discussions with Enrile on various issues including the proposed law on the Bangsamoro before he was placed under arrest and detained following the filing of a plunder case against him in connection with his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
“He is the most experienced in government and legislation among the members of the chamber. He is very good lawyer in his private practice and he could really help in the crafting of BBL,” he told The Manila Times.
Sources at the Supreme Court (SC) disclosed that an overwhelming majority of the justices are inclined to support the petition to have the 91-year-old lawmaker released.
They said a 17-page draft decision ordering the provisional release of Enrile circulated among the justices last week.
A P500,000 bail was set for Enrile’s temporary liberty.
Marcos said he believes Enrile deserves to be allowed to leave detention for humanitarian reasons considering his age and health condition.
He added that the veteran lawmaker is not flight risk and he does not believe that Enrile is planning to leave the country.
“Considering his age, we should take that into account. He needs constant medical attention. You know when you are 91-years old, you have health issues,” Marcos said.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said Enrile, the minority floor leader, can attend sessions once he is released from detention.
The Senate president noted that Enrile, even in detention, can still perform his legislative duties particularly the filing of proposed bills and resolutions since the suspension order issued by the Sandiganbayan last September 2014 had already been lifted.
The anti-graft court issued a 90-day suspension order last September against Enrile in connection with the plunder and other graft related cases he is facing.
Enrile’s suspension ended on November 28.
Apart from Enrile, Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. are also facing charges at the Sandiganbayan and are currently detained in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Meanwhile, the expected plenary debate on the proposed BLBAR did not push through on Monday because senators were not yet ready to tackle the measure on the floor.
Although many lawmakers have expressed the intention to interpellate, they did not indicate the date as to when they intend to do it.
Drilon said some senators who are planning to quiz Marcos on his version of the BBL are asking for more time to study the measure.
The Senate president added that they are also waiting for Marcos to give senators a matrix of amendments so that they can make the interpellations easier.