The Sandiganbayan’s Third Division on Thursday denied Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s move for the court to set an amount for his bail, saying it is premature.
Enrile is facing a P172-million plunder case over the pork barrel scam.
Since his surrender, he has been staying at the Philippine National Police General Headquarters in Camp Crame, the PNP headquarters in Quezon City.
Meanwhile, the Third Division directed doctors from the Philippine General Hospital to continue with the medical examination of the senator and to submit a report within 30 days upon receipt of a court resolution that deferred ruling on Enrile’s request for hospital arrest.
The 90-year-old senator had asked the court to let him post bail and set the amount pending determination that evidence of his guilt is strong.
In persuading the Third Division, Enrile said his physical condition must be considered by the anti-graft court and that he is not a flight risk.
Although the court acknowledged that age of an accused, physical condition and being a flight risk are among factors considered in fixing a reasonable amount of bail, it said it is premature to set an amount for Enrile’s bail “without an anterior showing that the evidence of guilt against accused Enrile is not strong.”
The minute resolution dated July 14 and signed by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz said Enrile’s argument that the maximum penalty that may be imposed on him is reclusion temporal (20 years prison time), not lifetime imprisonment given that he has voluntarily surrendered and is over 70 years old, has no merit.
The senator’s co-accused and former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, will be arraigned today on a plunder charge.
Their arraignments for graft have been rescheduled for next week.