“I will now go back to my work”
“I would like to state for the record that my faith in the probity and justness of our judiciary has been vindicated.”
Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile made the statement on Thursday as he faced reporters as a “provisionally” free man after a year of incarceration.
The Supreme Court (SC), voting 8-4, granted Enrile’s petition to post bail on Tuesday. He cited his advanced age and voluntary surrender to the anti-graft court to back his petition, which was filed in September 2014.
The SC set a P1-million bail for Enrile’s provisional release for the plunder charge and an additional P450,000 for the 15 counts of graft filed against him in connection with his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Enrile, who was placed under hospital arrest at the Philippine National Police General Hospital in Camp Panopio (Quezon City) after his arrest for plunder when he was implicated in the pork barrel scam, arrived at the Sandiganbayan under heavy guard around 6:30 p.m.
The 91-year-old lawmaker was immediately taken to the office of the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division where his fingerprints and pictures were taken as part of the process in granting him bail.
After completing the formalities, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, who heads the Third Division, signed the order approving Enrile’s bail.
A release order was then signed by clerk of court Dennis Pulma.
By 6:40 p.m.—in time for the prime-time evening television newscast—Enrile walked out of the Third Division and started fielding questions from the media who have been staking out the Sandiganbayan since Wednesday.
“I will now go back to my work,” he said, adding that “I have no other interest except the interest of the country.”
He refused to answer questions when he would show up at the Senate but his lawyer, Eleazar Reyes, said they expect him to be back on Monday.
Enrile was then taken to his house in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City, arriving at past 8 p.m. after an almost two-hour drive through heavy rush-hour traffic from Quezon City.