Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile will remain confined at the Philippine National Police (PNP) hospital but only until he is determined fit for detention in a regular jail.
Enrile, who is facing a P172-million plunder case and a 15-count graft suit in connection with the pork barrel scam, has been staying at the PNP General Hospital in Camp Crame in Quezon City since his surrender.
The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Third Division ruled that he should remain in hospital detention because he is suffering from multiple illnesses.
“To order his incarceration in a jail facility, which could lead to his possible death, would certainly not serve the purpose of keeping the latter in detention, i.e., to answer for the commission of the offense charged,” the court said.
The ruling was based on findings of the doctors from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) earlier asked to assess the 90-year-old senator’s medical condition and also considered state lawyers’ comment.
Enrile’s medical maladies “pose a significant risk for life-threatening events,” it quoted the Manifestation and Compliance submitted by the PGH.
“Based on the aforesaid findings and recommendations of the medical specialists from the PGH, placing accused Enrile in a regular jail facility would definitely endanger the latter’s life,” the Sandiganbayan said.
Placing him under hospital arrest would also address state lawyers’ objective in seeing to it that Enrile will face trial and not abscond or be exposed to unnecessary risks, it ruled.
The PGH team found that the senator has chronic hypertension with fluctuating blood pressure levels on multiple drug therapy, hardening and narrowing of arteries and irregular heartbeat, among others.
The Sandiganbayan held that the proper place of detention for Enrile is a hospital to ensure adequate response should his medical conditions give rise to an emergency.
The resolution, promulgated on Friday, was penned by Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and Third Division Chairperson Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, and concurred in by fellow Associate Justice Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz.