Juan Ponce Enrile vs. President Aquino, past and present, score 3-0

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When you tangle with Juan Ponce Enrile, attorney-at-law, on a matter of law, you better go to court prepared and supported by a phalanx of brilliant lawyers. Even if, and especially if, you are the president of the Philippines.

Three times, an incumbent president Aquino – first, president Corazon Aquino, twice; and second, president Benigno Aquino 3rd, once — went into the ring against Enrile. And all three times. her/his excellency lost the battle.

And each time, it was no less than the Supreme Court that pronounced the verdict.

With Enrile’s latest legal coup, the fallout from defeat could be even greater for the Aquino camp – as it threatens to spread from Enrile to other cases, especially the case of Aquino’s biggest trophy prisoner, former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.


The Palace is now scrambling to contain the damage from Enrile’s recent feat, but President Aquino should resist the urge to overwork his apologists in the media and in the high court (they are already disgracing themselves as it is). It’s better for him and his team to study the landmark cases and learn why they lost the argument. PR is of little help here because the toothpaste is already out of the tube.

Election to the Senate in 1987
The three cases wherein Enrile defeated a President Aquino before the Supreme Court are:

1. First, Enrile’s petition for proclamation as a winner in the May 1987 Senate elections — On August 13, 1987, the Supreme Court responded favorably to the petition of then citizen Enrile requesting his proclamation as 24th winning senator in the 1987 election.

Reporting on the episode, US embassy historian Lewis Gleeck, Jr. wrote in his book, President Aquino: Sainthood postponed ( Loyal Printing Co. 1995, Manila):

“After weeks of palpable chicanery at the Commission on Elections intended to deprive Enrile of a place in the Senate, the Supreme Court took the matter out of the hands of the by now totally discredited COMELEC by responding favorably to an Enrile petition requesting his proclamation as 24th senator.”

He continued: “Cory was visibly angry and disappointed that the man whom she properly identified as her foremost opponent should have been rescued by her court. Though she had appointed them all, only Justice Sarmiento, the most partisan of the Cory court, objected to the decision. Before the TV cameras, President Aquino found it possible only to say, between clenched teeth, that the Supreme Court had spoken the final word. Pro-Enrile demonstrations then broke out when Enrile appeared before Supreme Court chief Justice Claudio Teehankee to take his oath.”

Independent reports on our public affairs are instructive because they bear the distinctive stamp of objectivity.

Rebellion complexed with murder, 1990
2. Charge of Rebellion Complexed with murder filed by the government of Presiden Cory Aquino against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile –On June 5, 1990, the Supreme Court, in a rebuff to President Aquino, ruled that the Government’s charge of rebellion against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile should not have included murder and was invalid.

The decision nullified the criminal cases filed by state lawyers against Mr. Enrile and about 20 other civilians linked by the Government to a failed army coup attempt in December 1989. The court voted 11 to 2 to nullify the government’s charge. Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan said the case against Mr. Enrile should be reduced to rebellion. The Government must amend the charge if it wishes to proceed with the prosecution.

The case was so bad, then Senate defense committee chairman Sen. Ernesto Maceda demanded that the government lawyers who filed the case should be fired.

Bail petition on Plunder case, 2015

3. Petition on Plunder case before the Sandiganbayan – On August 18, 2015, the Supreme Court en banc granted the petition filed by detained Senator Juan Ponce Enrile seeking a bill of particulars in the case filed against him by the Ombudsman.

At a press conference, SC Public Information Office Chief and Spokesman Atty. Theodore O. Te, said “the Court, voting 8-5 PARTIALLY GRANTED petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile’s Petition challenging the Sandiganbayan’s July 11, 2014 Resolution which denied his Motion for Bill of Particulars.”

“The Court directed the Ombudsman to submit a Bill of Particulars, providing the information to be contained in the Court’s Judgment,” Te added.

In his petition, Enrile said the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division committed grave abuse of discretion when it dismissed his request for the Bill of Particulars, hence his recourse to the SC for intervention.

Those “particulars are material facts that should be clearly and definitely averred in the complaint in order that the defendant may, in fairness be informed of the claims made against him,” he added.

Last Thursday, August 20, Senator Enrile was released after posting P1.4 million bond.

Enrile’s request for the Bill of Particulars exposed the weakness of the government’s evidence against him, which cancels one ground for the denial of bail.

The argument Senator Enrile advanced was compelling: Where bail is not available as a matter of right, it can be denied only after it has been determined that evidence of guilt is strong. The argument is so persuasive, the dissenting justices were hard put to confute it.

From Enrile to Arroyo
The significance of the SC ruling on Enrile’s case goes far beyond the senator’s travail. It could lead to the high court laying down doctrine that will write finis to this administration’s policy of detention prior to conviction and denial of bail for certain offenses. Once this is ruled as inimical to due process, a long list of persons who have been denied bail will find new life and hope.

Keeping President Arroyo under continued hospital arrest will become totally indefensible.

Legal experts and pundits aver that there are even more compelling reasons for the SC to grant bail to Arroyo and facilitate her release. Her state of health is more precarious than that of Senator Enrile.

Her case has also been brought to the United Nations human rights panel by a high-profile international lawyer, the wife of actor Gorge Clooney. If ever Mrs. Clooney decides to come to Manila to visit her client, the embarrassment of President Aquino will be globalized.

The president is in this fix because he has bent the law to his will, and sycophants and apologists have abetted him.

Gleeck’s judgment on the Cory Aquino presidency is instructive: “A government cannot perform adequately if its basic raison de’tre is revenge…revenge as a basis of government, covers up flaws in both the policies and performance of government…I regard the presidential term of Corazon Aquino as not only a failure, but in the end, a regression.”

Like mother, like son.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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45 Comments

  1. ang sinabi ng SC at matimbang eh yong advance age ni Enrile at age 90 plus na hindi na siya flight risk,gets niyo?

  2. Pacencia na kayo mga kabayan kasi sa field ng law eh pagalingan. Kawawa ka at matatalo sa kaso pag mahina kang abogado. Puro mga de-kalibre halos ang mga abogado natin sa Pinas…mga cumlaude, sumacumlaude, magnacumlaude sa UP, San Beda, Ateneo, UST, etc. Mga bar topnotchers karamihan diyan sa Supreme Court at mga expert sa criminal laws. Sabi nga kahit ang client eh bad or good person, criminal man o hindi eh kailangang ipagtanggol ng abogado. Yun ang profession at trabaho niya. Doon siya kikita…he…he….he. Walang masamang tinapay ika nga….pagalingan sa argumento….he…he…he

  3. Considering the Bulatao report regarding the mental state of this president, I fully agree with Mr. Makabenta that this president is not qualified to lead the country due to his unstable state of mind. And because he is a midiocre person, he is unfocused on the welfare of the people and instead dwell on his vindictive attitude. A nation united for a change of leadership should stand path on removing all the LP cabals who have destroyed the country in just 5 years.

  4. Being a outsider in this country it seems to me that it was a pity when people power
    which got rid of Marcos, did not go further and got rid of his cronies and the Dynasties
    that then run the country and still do !
    The Philippines could be as strong as Singapore if it was not for the current batch of
    senators etc.
    The whole need to be replaced and the country re booted !
    The country should think about its people and not let it be run by a select few who
    only think of themselves and get richer and richer each year !

  5. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    25 August 2015

    Manila Times columnist YEN MAKABENTA is taking the cudgels for both Juan Ponce Enrile and the Supreme Court which has just granted Juan Ponce Enrile bail in the amount of P1.4 million for “humanitarian” reasons–that at 92 years of age, he is weak and frail and non-ambulatory.

    If one were to believe the Court’s majority decision penned by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, right after being freed Juan Ponce Enrile would be rushed quickly by ambulance to the ER of the nearest hospital.

    Did that happen?

    No, it did not. Juan Ponce Enrile declared soon after his release, THAT HE WAS GOING BACK TO WORK! Talk about “humanitarian” reasons on which the majority decision anchored itself! He in fact is already back at work as the Minority Leader of the Senate.

    The Minority dissent, penned by Associate Justice Marivic Leonen, should have been the Majority decision of the Supreme Court. It makes more sense, both legally and based only on common sense. Plunder is a NON-BAILABLE crime, is it not?

    This stunning decision of the Court will go down as a grievous mistake, one that will stigmatize the Court for a long, long time.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    Lakandula1927@yaho.com

  6. I will vote for Gloria Arroyo if she will be allowed again to run for president.Our country is being governed by neophytes who need on the job trainng for five years, in case of BS Aquino he never learn what he knows is vendetta against his political enemies.

  7. Kapag wala na sa poder si Pnoy panawagan sa bagong presidente i hold departure lahat ng opisyal ng gobyerno at mga gabinete nito,magtatakasan na to,pag wala na sa puesto si Pnoy reresbak si Gloria siya naman ang ikukulong hindi sa muntinlupa kundi sa Mental Hospital me sayad kasi.Ang unang dadalaw kay Pnoy ay ang kamukha niya ang anak ni kris na si joshua.

  8. Sen. Enrile has an excellent argument why he should be allowed to post a bail. In a way, this reveals the ‘vindictive’ aspect of the case filed against him.

  9. rudy contillo on

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, being a retired Supreme Court justice, should have taken these considerations. But its clear and patent that the hailing to court of Enrile was done in haste. President Aquino should learn his lessons from the past. In a few months, he himself will be facing the same dilemma. That is Delima’s dilemma..

    • Already taken care of. Smartmatic will insure that Mar Roxas will win no matter how many actual votes he gets. Once that deed is done Aquino is in the clear.

  10. I say #NoToMar4President #ZeroVoteforLPBeat. Kapag natalo bata niyang si Roxas, for sure magkikita pa rin sila, yun nga lang sa kulungan na… and I’m so excited…

    • Funny how Abnoy’s stupidity & incompetence was responsible for the highest ever GDP of +6%, about 2% more than that achieved by that plundering so-called economist GMA. Funny how Abnoy’s stupidity & incompetence earned for the country the honor of being proclaimed the 2014 2nd best performing economy in Asia next only to China & 4th best in the world for the same year topped only by India, China, & Kenya. I wonder why that so-called economist GMA was a huge failure in her supposed specialty for, after all, didn’t she once admonish PNoy with that borrowed phrase “It’s the economy, student”! Indeed, it’s the economy, st…d!

    • Try reading the articles someday mar, corruption is at a all time high, Yolanda victims 135,000 still living in tents 2 years later. This corrupt government led by Aquino has done nothing except make the rich more rich and the poor more poor.

  11. I wonder if the public did not know that it took the SC to order the ombudsman to give the bill of particulars to Enrile on plunder case filed against him. This is a legal manuevering of Usec Justiniano to delay the trial. This basic right of the accuse in any court to give him the bill of particulars so he can answer them. When Justiniano denied Enrile the bill of particulars it boils down they got nothing on the oldman. They will a time reckoning for Justiniano when Pnoy steps down on June 30, 2016. Definitely may balik yan and it will his worse nightmare.

    • dapat magisip na syang mag retire at mangibang bayan sa july 1,2016 ung nagisip na hindi ibigay ang bill of particulars sa kaso. iba si hENRI LEe. kung bengatibo si boy sisi, mukhang ganun din si hENRI LEe. malaki atraso ni boy sisi kay hENRI LEe. una, na hocus pcos ang anak nya nung 2013 elections, pangalawa, ginoyo sya nung impeachment ni corona. pagkatapos nyang pagbigyan na maimpeach si corona dinale naman sya duon sa perang ibinigay sa kanya na regalo sa pagboto ng impeachment.

  12. bravo mr. macabenta. bene..
    Like mother like son. Both of them were demons, devils, jinx of our nation. Aside from being stupid and idiot. Their lawyers were nothing.. Zero…bobo bobo ang kanilang mga abugado kaya sila natalo ni enrile. Mr. enrile is come from the technocrats lawmakers..during marcos presidency. Conclusion, mas magaling ang mga abugado nung panahon ni president marcos kaysa sa ngayon… ngayon ang mga abogado pang novatos lang…

  13. Manuel Jaime jr on

    The continued detention of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a fallacy and a big joke to the democracy being perceived and trumpeted by this Yellow administration.As these chipmunks had been howling for almost 3 decades now,telling the people that they were able to restore democracy in the country.The truth?,we are far worst than Malaysia when it comes to human rights violations are concerned.In that neighbor country of ours,the law is to prove the government wrong when they charged you with a crime.While here in the Philippines,it is the opposite.The state has to prove your guilt and should provide enough evidence beyond reasonable doubt.Restored democracy is a fallacy? Yes,for how can it be not illogical when for 5 years now and counting,Arroyo is being detained without the proper courts doing its job ascertaining whether the allegations are ample disallowing her the right to bail! 5 years of torment is more than enough for the SC to correct this anomaly.Democracy is all about human dignity and rights.It is also meant to give justice to the oppressed be them rich nor poor,powerful or not.It is about fair play and fairness to all,and not injustice to some,especially to one.If this is what the yellow horde,and this administration is claiming as the democracy that they have restored,then its a big baloney!They should all be put in one big balikbayan box,and should be shipped to China or North Korea where their kind of justice and democracy will be best entertained.Anyway,their yellow President will be a good company and playmate of these two countries leaders,most especially of the North Koreans.If former President Arroyo committed crimes during her term,then by all means charged and sue her! But it should be in the proper way,with fair play and true justice system that is not bereft of her dignity…

  14. For a very long time, the Aquino family have deceived us Filipinos. They are not what we thought they are. They are a curse to this country.

  15. No visa is required for a US citizen to come to the Philippines. That is one of the perks of being a US citizen, visit countries and no visa is required. As for Arroyo, even granting that she did wrong during her administration, the way the Aquino administration imprisoned her and deprived her of her right to seek medical help abroad is inhuman. And again, I would like to say this, bipolar people don’t feel sympathy towards others. They are self centered and everything revolves around them, they love people telling them they are right. That is our president always surrounded by sipsip gang to boost his morale and assure him he is doing right, he is the best, he is good! wow, this is a president who doesn’t know anything about governing. blame it on the people who are always star struck, who are feudalistic, and who are easily taken by emotion. just because the mother passed away, people got carried away and voted for hm. He was the worst candidate during that time but won!!! How I would like to see Duterte rule and witness the eradication of drugs in the Philippines so that once again, we can walk the streets without fear!

    • The Aquino government claims that anyone who makes more than P58 a day is above the poverty cap, that’s P1750 a month.

      Other world organizations put the poverty cap at P120 a day or P3600 a month which still seems low while others claim less than P181 is living in poverty (P5430 a month)

      Either way, a family living on less than P3600 or even P5430 a month seems poverty stricken to me. A average family can barely live on 5500 month.

      A family living on P3600 a month is the new middle class according to the Aquino government.

      The Philippines has a poverty rate of 20% according to Aquino.
      The World puts the poverty rate at around 66% is not higher.

      The Aquino government will lower the poverty cap to P45 a day and then claim they have reduced poverty.

      Drugs are not fueling the crime wave in the Philippines,
      Poverty is the reason you can’t walk the streets.

  16. Ang kinalaban nila ay hinung-hinog sa panahon! The saying “With age comes wisdom”! Pnoy jst made a clumsy comment, putting himself at an embarassing spotlight. Ang dami ng pinagdaanan ni Manong Enrile! Kahit respect nlang sa senior citizen. Hinda pa naman naproven ang mga accusations, nag Bill of Particulars nga para klaro ang pwede nyang isagot sa binibintang sa kanya. May basehan– jurisprudence ruling yan!

  17. Were white-collar crimes non-bailable before Cory’s time? Im not a lawyer so I don’t remember but if they were bailable then I suspect, given what we already know about the character of the yellows, that white-collar crimes were made non-bailable so that these cases can be used as a weapon against their political opponents. As usual, a typically yellow tactic, devious and cheap.

  18. Not this time. if the government can expose all of his ill gotten wealth since Martial Law then Enrile may lose this time. evidence is enough. People will bring the guilty verdict on Enrile if Pnoy cannot. the same is true with the other 3 clowns revilla, Estrada and napoles

    • emilio. guilty na lahat sa lahat ng tao sina biNOY, arroyo, enrile, sexy at pogi hindi ba?? sa dami na ng bashing na inaabot ng mga ito sa press ay guilty na sila sa mata ng tao. NGUNIT SA MATA NG BATAS SILA AY AKUSADO AT HINDI PA GUILTY. NASA EBIDENSYA ANG KANILANG GUILT OR INNOCENSE. ang problema lang mukhang dinidribol ng gobierno ang kanilang mga kaso para patagalin lalo na yung may mga kasong NOT BAILABLE para nakakulong sila hangang matapos ang termino ni boy sisi. ang panalangin ng mga kultong dilaw ay manalo si boy pickup para tuloy pa rin ang pagkakakulong sa mga ito. at pag natalo si boy pickup, sila namang mga dilaw na kulto ang papaplit sa kulungan kina arroyo, sexy at pogi. weder weder???

    • Odnalor Obirt on

      I believe that JPE is guilty of plunder and I would like a guilty verdict for him. But much more than guilty verdict for JPE, I really like to have a double guilty verdict for Benigno Simoun Cojuangco Aquino III for trying to devide the territory of the Republic of the Philipines by endorsing the BBL to create the Bangsamoro and giving billions of peso from the taxes of true Filipinos and us – the OFWs for its creation.

  19. After more than 10 years,with mother and son as presidents,our country is still in a quagmire of dismay and corruption, the Aquinos always uses MARCOS as their mantra of depriving the people of the real state of our country,the Enrile victory proves that this government is ruled by LOW CLASS TECHNOCRATS,President Aquino might be educated ,but surely not an INTELLECT.now they are trying to obfuscate the issue,and using the media to correct their BOBOO.
    WHAT A SHAME

  20. An enlightening commentary on the vengeful regimes of the mother and son. Probably BS Aquino III hates Sen. Enrile so much because of that coup attempt against Cory Aquino’s regime purportedly wirh the involvement of Enrile. If I remember right, it was the coup that as per rumor, Cory hid under her bed. I am not sure if that was also the time that her only son was hit by a bullet. The electorate should never again elect personalities whose supervening motive is vengeance. It will only cloud their good judgement and intentions. Regarding the current presidential hopefuls, I see only Roxas is not carrying the hate baggage. However, he is predisposed to continue PNoy’s hate campaign. Grace Poe has so much hatred against the people who, she feels, rob FPJ of the presidency. VP Binay, surely hates his present ditractors who relentlessly malign his reputation and honor. Bongbong Marcos definitely has hatred for those people who indiscriminately sequester their properties and dishonor the Marcos name through sustained black propaganda. Mayor Duterte of course has personal reasons to hate the drug lords, robbers and big-time crime syndicates. Granting there is no better choice, the voters should look at the motive or reason for such hatred. The rule is will that hatred if given the benefit of the doubt will result to good governance by equating that hatred with his/her national development agenda,

  21. genesisbughaw on

    Sir,
    Greetings Of Peace!
    Evidently, the yellowtards are only good in there sophists style of justification.
    That’s why sir, i’m keep on wondering what kind of species they are.

  22. Leodegardo Pruna on

    US Embassy Historian’s conclusion that Cory’s administration was a failure and a regression. It continues and applies to her son P-Noy, who with his KKK and incompetent advisers and cabinet members, would be multiplying the regression already inflicted to the nation. What we are having is a double knockout. God bless the Philippines.

  23. Mar Padilla, Jr. on

    This judgment is a good precedent for those people who are languishing in jail. Their Lawyers should study carefully the decision. Their client might be on the same boat.

  24. Enrile has the smarts and resources to fight anyone in a court. Weak and or improperly filed charges are all subject to dismissal.

  25. Samuel Santos on

    I guess PNoy won’t forget the name Juan Ponce Enrile as long as he (PNoy) is alive.

  26. Now, I remember, it is this Mr. Lewis who wrote in another book the admission of Mr. Benigno that he indeed worked with the CIA and admitting that he did a lot of killings at Hacienda Luisita during the time that he was the Manager thereat. I got to read the book which seemed to have come from the Ateneo Library before but it seems that the Library has removed the book from its shelves. Indeed, it is like mother, like son – and a son of a congenital liar. How could it have happened that 15 million Filipinos believed a stupid asshole and “elected” the guy as their president? Does that mean that those 15 million Filipinos were never discerning and fell into the trap that this Philippine version of the Pied Piper led them into?

    • The yellow media specially ABS-CBN brainwashed the masa to vote for this insecure pied piper.

  27. Gleeck’s judgment on the Cory Aquino presidency is instructive: “A government cannot perform adequately if its basic raison de’tre is revenge…revenge as a basis of government, covers up flaws in both the policies and performance of government…I regard the presidential term of Corazon Aquino as not only a failure, but in the end, a regression.”

    Like mother, like son.

    I agree with your conclusion without reservation. Thank you for expressing the nation’s collective sentiment!

    • Me, too! I agree 100 percent! As members of the oligarchy the Aquinos cannot be expected to rule in favor of the masses because they cannot empathize with the poor poor — Hacienda Luisita being a glaring case in point.

  28. Every Filipinos know Enrile’s character and faults and has vast array of consultants, lawyers and supporters to protect him. It can’t be 3-0, it should be 2-0 because two Aquinos are President and not Enrile thankfully.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      Are we not aware of the character and flaws of the circle of P-Noy and P-Noy himself? P-Noy is deeply rooted in “revenge”. God bless the Philippines.

  29. PNoy is not worred that the wife of George Clooney, an international lawyer plans to come and visit Mrs. Arroyo because she could not be a U.S. citizens yet and PNoy will just instruct the Embassy or Consul wherever she applies, not to grant her an entry visa. But if she can make arrangements to visit, it will be a very big slap right in the face of PNoy and his Sandigan lapdogs because the press will be over her. Worse is if Clooney will cover over with her.