Enrile’s release is humane and in the public’s interest

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WE join our voice with those of many in welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision last Tuesday to allow Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to post bail and gain provisional liberty in his ongoing case and trial in the Sandiganbayan.

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It is indubitably the right thing to do, for humanitarian reasons, for reasons of justice and due process, and for reasons of the public interest.

The humanitarian grounds take first and primary consideration because Senator Enrile is now 91 years of age and is frail of health. It is fitting that he and his family should have these late years of his life to enjoy together.

It is a foolish system of justice that would impose on a nonagenarian the full rigors of a trial which even persons half his age would find life-threatening.

We are gladdened to learn from his defense counsel about his current state of health. He said: “He’s in good health. Of course he will have to take his maintenance medicine and treatment.”

Due process and elementary justice

Secondly, the grant of bail is sound for reasons of due process and elementary justice. The case against the senator has been moving slowly in the graft court, as it has met with innumerable delays and snags. The basic right to due process simply means that an accused can confront and challenge the government’s case against him, that the government must prove alleged misdeeds beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the  government must not thwart due process by using extraneous factors to interfere with the trial, such as the demands of a publicity campaign heralding the prosecution and detention of  Senator Enrile to show that the Aquino Administration is fighting corruption.

The current practice today of detention prior to conviction is unjust, and should be expunged from our system of justice. It is only the Aquino administration, on the dubious legal opinion of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, that has dared to apply this misguided doctrine.

Our justice system must guard against falling under the sway of legal positivism, which cares only for the pedigree of the law. Under positivism, to quote a noted expert, “the law is whatever those in power say it is, and that whoever controls the government always gets its way.”     This is the viewpoint that has produced the current and repugnant policy of selective justice.

It is good that sound legal argumentation by Enrile and his counsel persuaded the High Court to grant his petition. This should set a precedent that will ultimately redound to the good of our justice system.

Serving the public’s interest

Third and finally, the grant of bail and provisional liberty to Senator Enrile, will serve the public interest, because he earnestly intends to return to work in the Senate, where his legal acumen and experience can contribute immensely to the chamber’s deliberations on public policy issues of great meaning and importance.

Not surprisingly, his Senate colleagues have been the most enthusiastic in applauding the Supreme Court’s decision. They are eager for him to lend his counsel and insight to deliberations on the proposed basic law for a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR).

Beyond Enrile’s service in the Senate, where he has served also as Senate president, there is his even longer and distinguished service in the executive branch of government. He has served in the sensitive posts of defense secretary, finance undersecretary, and customs commissioner.

Some may assign greater or lesser significance to Enrile’s role in the EDSA people power uprising that spelled the end to the long rule of President Ferdinand Marcos. History is the best judge of both the revolt and the Marcos regime.

For now, this is a time for elation because we are welcoming back into the frontlines of our public life one of the few men and women still living, who truly may be said to have gravitas.

So it is with pleasure that we say: Mr. Senator, welcome back to our public conversation.

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30 Comments

  1. Ikabod Bubwit on

    There are thousands of other political prisoners incarcerated right now who are much more deserving than Enrile and should be released !!! The problem with the government is that you need grease money for any bureaucrat, police, judge or any official to get anything moving !!!
    And Enrile has got plenty of money (much of it not honestly earned) !!!

  2. The recent decision of the Supreme Court on Enriile’s bailout is an example that our judicial system is very weak, a system that is bereft of true justice which only favors the rich and the mighty. Over and over again our laws are being circumvented thru technicalities to favor a few that perplexed the mind of an ordinary Filipino. Enrile was kept iin prison for a long time because the charge against him is the very grave crime of plunder punishable by life imprisonment and because the evidence against him is very.strong. Our law provides no bail for this kind of crime. Yet 8 justices of our SC were able to concoct a way out for Enrile not provided in our laws which is something new. Yes we need to be humane when it is for the aged and the sickly but Enrile is already aged when he allegedly committed this non-bailable crime of plunder. So where is the justification?

  3. Granting of the bail is fair. Due process means not making somebody suffer and languish in jail while the DOJ takes it’s own sweet time preparing the bill of particulars. Those geniuses in the DOJ should have prepared these details when they filed their case in the first place.

  4. The SC has been FOR SALE decades now.

    Just look at Corona’s Bank records.

    That is why PH is a POOR country.

    • i dont want to tackle on money issues related to enrile’s favorable decision. i’m more interested on the same as a precedent of other cases with similar justification….for me, it’s a bad decision on the majority of the sc.

    • Virgilio Sta Ana on

      I believe the decision of the Eight (8) justices are not fair and in accordance with the law. They are questionable beyond doubt for their decision???? Money is a source of all evil . Please ask the opinion of E Mendoza who is very smart . thanks

    • We salute the eight (8) honorable and worthy SC justices for their strong will to restore insanity in the judiciary and state of justice under the Aquino and Roxas corrupt yellow LP regime.

      We abhor the evil four (4) minority yellow dissenting justices.

  5. palpak ang walong justices ng SUPREME COURT ..Alam na nila nagalit ang taong bayan sa MAGNANAKAW NG SALAPI NG BAYAN……Tapos pawawalan mo si ENRILE ..na gusto pa bumalik sa SENATE gayon ang basehan daw ng SUPREME COURT AY sakitin at malapit ng mamatay si ENRILE. Hayaang mamatay ang matandang magnanakaw sa kulungan para hindi parisan ng iba.

  6. Again being charged with an offense is different from having been convicted of. Nakakaintindi ka ba?

    • To quote the dean of San Beda Graduate School of Law, Fr. Aquino–
      “Liberty is so precious a commodity that our Constitution requires nothing less than “proof beyond reasonable doubt,” also known as “moral certitude” to deprive a person of his liberty through a judgment of conviction.”

  7. When you have practically all government offices colluding with the one in charge without fairness or equality in applying laws …we have more than a dictatorship because we live in fear of reprisal .. SC ruling is correct .. Unfortunately DOJ and the ombudsman Congress and the Senate even the Samdigbayan have no respect in people’s eyes because of their subservience to the imbalanced and capricious will of BSAlll…. Say goodbye to Bbl and the lies and the rot will slowly come out … This is democracy… Check and balance

  8. Manuel Jaime jr on

    As an associate Justice of the Supreme Court,Justice Leonen should have exhibited his proficiency of the law.His being a law dean at UP should have also exemplified him of his wisdom of the trade.Obviously,he has forgotten that there are a number of precedence with regards to Supreme Court rulings involving recognizance of non-bailable crimes.Plus,an associate Justice cannot and has no right to question the majority vote decided by the SC as a whole.He may have his own opinion of the matter,but it will never constitute relevance to the other opinions that formed the majority vote decided by highest court of the land.Leonen should exhibit his impartiality as an associate Justice,and not his political color.He should act as a true magistrate not as a political stooge.He should always bear in mind that the Supreme Court defines and delineate the law of the land and not the laws and opinion of the few,especially of those that appointed him in his present position.Senator Enrile deserves the right to bail,as the others before him do.Bail is a matter of right of every citizen of the land which will be deemed by the courts as non risky and non jeopardous to the crime he is being accused.Enrile is an aged man,often sickly,and a prominent person and member of the senate to jump bail and evade arrest.So why the babble and the furor? Its time to act like a dignified Supreme Court Justice Mr Leonen…

  9. what humanitarian. are we forgetting the cause of hardship to the poor he done for stealing billions of pesos? what those homeless children and poor families who only can afford to eat once a day because He stole those funds intended for these basic services? the truth of the matter is our

    • the truth is our society always forgive the elite crooks and not the poor who were poor because they were honest. I say jail this crook and confiscate all his stolen cash and assets and give it back to the people. and that’s when justice is served and not these compassion humanitarian bullshit. this is the reason why we remain a 3rd world country and a failed state.

  10. Enrile’s release on bond is correct. I hope this SC ruling will stop the bail hearings that have been corrupted into deciding whether to grant bail or not, from the original purpose of deciding how much bail should be posted. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Everyone is entitled to freedom until convicted in a court of law.

    • Your opinion would have been correct if that is in accordance with the rules of court or the supreme law – our 1987 Constitution. How about the few or not the many having fragile health condition similarly with that of senator enrile? What happened to the equal protection and due process that must be applicable to everyone not just to the elite? If the decision that favored was pro hac vice, the more we can conclude that selective justice has been made and tailored to fit his interest. Good day :)

  11. Leodegardo Pruna on

    In the case of JPE, the “exception clause” is properly applied. SC Justice and DoJ Secretary, with their stand, are simply acting like robots, in humane and out of touch of reality. Each and every individual are different and differently situated. The Justice and Secretary should refrain from acting as if they owe their very existence to their boss. God bless the Philippines.

    • How about applying that “exception clause” to the others who, like Enrile are old & sickly but, unlike Enrile, are charged with bailable crimes but couldn’t afford lawyers? Are they excluded from the “humanitarian reasons” applied to Enrile whose crime is supposedly non-bailable?

  12. Until the case of plunder against him is decided in his favor, I reserve my welcoming back an accused plunderer to the senate. And because the senate is home to many possible plunderers, I believe that it should be abolished and replaced by a body composed of fresh faces. Justice is not served when Enrile was granted bail and almost proclaimed as innocent of charges against him.

  13. If the reason to release Enrile is primarily for; firstly due to
    humanitarian reason due to health and old age.

    They SC should have more reason to grant bail to GMA
    for health threatening disease. She is very frail and besides
    she was jailed because of; primarily, VINDICTIVENESS.

    Her co-accused of are all released on bail – WHY NOT HER?.

    VINDICTIVENESS IS THE VERY REASON, why she is in jail .

    WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND – B Sttttttttttttt Aquino.

    YOUR DAYS ARE COMING AND NUMBERED.
    SEE YOU IN JAIL

    • Conspiring with some Comelec officials to cheat in the 2007 elections and for which she was charged with electoral sabotage is vindictiveness? She couldn’t even submit her rebutting evidence but merely said “I am sorry” in a nationwide telecast. Here we had a sitting president, supposedly the country’s no. 1 law-abiding citizen breaking the law and charging her with betraying our trust is vindictiveness? Indeed, what comes around goes around…she’s under hospital arrest.

  14. you might as well just burn the constitution and abolish all courts of law starting from the suprememy stupid court all the way down to the regional trial courts as they are all meaningless … it is clearly stated in the laws of the land – PLUNDER IN A NON-BAILABLE OFFENSE – ENRILE IS CHARGED WITH PLUNDER – IT LOGICALLY FOLLOWS THAT HE DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR BAIL – WHICH PART OF THE LAW DOES THE SUPREMELY STUPID COURT NOT UNDERSTAND?

    REPLY
    Mr Serquina, Enrile has only been chargedm sir. He has not been convicted. You and I can be charged with murder or any crime by a neighbor or anyone who hates us and if the DOJ also doesn’t like you or me, the prosecutors under orders of De Lima can take us to court even if we arfe innocent. That is why we need to wait for an accused person’s conviction before we can pronounce him guilty. That is the system we have and a court is allowed to disregard some parts of the law, like bailability, if the justices are convinced that a detained accused is being unjustly treated or is sick, etcetera.

    • Bail is set for those charged with a crime while sentencing is set for those convicted with a crime. If the crime charged is non-bailable, he only has to wait for conviction or freedom. In Enrile’s case however, the rich & powerful are again favored by the law while the hundreds similarly situated are left to rot in jail because they are poor. This is our justice system.

    • Justaskingseriously on

      If you wait for one to be convicted of plunder, then “nonbailable” has no meaning. Even “bailable” has no meaning after conviction of any crime. Bail precedes any conviction. A nonbailable charge like plunder is necessarily applied before conviction of plunder. It is asinine to grant bail in a nonbailable charge of plunder. This is another one of those constitutional provisions that even the President chose to ignore or blatantly violated. What is the use of taking an oath to uphold the constitution? For something to be humane is one thing; it is quite another — and frankly an oxymoron — to grant bail because one has not yet been convicted of a nonbailable charge. Is this an instance of a reply that could have avoided error by sticking to the “it is humane” part?

    • The problem isn’t bail or no bail, the problem is the government is keeping people in jail for years without a trial.

      In the Philippines cases sit for years without a trial.

      Maguindanao massacre 58 deaths, 6 years and no trial.

      The Dept of Justice in the Philippines is headed by a incompetent appointee (De Lima) who needs the President’s permission to file charges.

  15. Hypothetical question:
    What if enrile, at his age, again committed plunder, will he be again granted to post bail?

    • You said Again, you mean to say he was convicted. What do you think of Noy, Abad, Drillon, Abaya, Trillanes et al? Honest?

    • That would be yes.

      The senate is happy to have one of their plundering buddies released without a trial. They are going to welcome him with open arms and throw a party for him.
      What’s a little plundering of the people’s tax money among friends.

      Almost every member of the senate did the exact same thing and yet they were not charged due to being allies of the President, it’s no surprise they are happy that he is released without going to trial.

      15 senators are just as guilty as Enrile of stealing the people’s money but never got charged so fire up the karaoke machine it’s party time.