Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on Friday spent his first day as a “provisionally” free man visiting his colleagues–Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.–who remain in detention for plunder and graft charges at the police custodial center in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Radio reports said the 91-year-old lawmaker arrived at past noon to have lunch with his former fellow detainees.
The three opposition senators were arrested and held for allegedly misusing their Priority Development Assistance Fund–infamously known as “pork barrel”–in a scheme allegedly run by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Napoles, who was convicted of serious illegal detention, is serving her jail sentence at the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila). She is also on trial in connection with the “pork barrel” scam, which she allegedly masterminded.
Enrile was released from “hospital arrest” on Thursday after the Supreme Court allowed him to post bail.
Meanwhile, a Supreme Court (SC) source told The Manila Times that Enrile would have gotten a 10-4 ruling instead of 8-4 had the votes of two absent justices were counted.
The SC en banc did not count the vote cast by Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr., who is on “wellness leave” and Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, who is on “medical leave.”
An SC insider said Villarama left his vote with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for the August 18 voting on Enrile’s bail.
The SC en banc, however, decided not to include his vote since he failed to read the draft ruling and participate in and deliberate on the case.
It was also learned that Reyes also sent his vote to Sereno.
He, however, withdrew his vote as he was also not able to participate in the case deliberations.
With JOMAR CANLAS