MORE than a year after he was detained for plunder and graft for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile will be back at the Senate today, Monday.
The senator gained temporary freedom last week after the Supreme Court (SC), through an 8-4 vote, allowed him to post bail.
Enrile’s daughter, Katrina Ponce Enrile, said her father wants to attend sessions and perform his duty as a lawmaker as much as he can because that is his job.
“As a senator he needs to earn his keep. It is not proper for him to receive his salary and yet not reporting for work. That is why if he is given a chance to work, he will take it,” she said in a radio interview.
Katrina dismissed views that Enrile, 91, will be contradicting the basis for his bail grant if he decides go back to work.
The senator, in his petition for bail, cited as mitigating circumstances his advanced age and voluntary surrender.
“It’s a fact na matanda na ang tatay ko, marami na siyang karamdaman pero buhay pa siya at pwede pa siyang maglakad. Kung pwede siyang pumasok ay papasok siya pero kung hindi naman nya talaga kaya then that’s the time na talagang hindi siya papasok [My father is old and he already has a lot of ailments but he is still alive and he can still walk. If he can go to work, he will work, as long as he can],” Katrina explained.
She said her father was already suffering from a slew of diseases before he surrendered to the police in July last year. Enrile, the minority leader, was detained in Camp Crame in Quezon City. The Sandiganbayan eventually allowed him to be placed under hospital arrest.
Katrina said her father was suffering from high blood pressure when he presided over the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“My father reports to work even if he has high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes and macular degeneration because of his age,” she added.
Some senators lauded the High Court’s decision to allow Enrile to post bail. Even Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, a known critic of the veteran senator, said the granting of Enrile’s bail petition clearly shows the independence of the SC.
“It is not in the best interest of this administration to have Enrile out, so it shows the independence of SC and I respect it,” Trillanes noted.
A number of Enrile’s colleagues are looking forward to working with the former Senate president. Senator Vicente Sotto 3rd, who temporarily assumed the post of minority leader, said he was happy that Enrile had gained temporary freedom.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto also said he can’t wait to work with Enrile again.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sees Enrile’s participation in the deliberation of the measure that will create a Bangsamoro region important considering his experience and knowledge.
Marcos said Enrile can enrich the discussions on the proposed Bangsamoro law.