Enrile: I’m confident we’ll win ‘pork’ scam case

Ayee Macaraig
Enrile: I’m confident we’ll win ‘pork’ scam case
Enrile says, 'You get stressed out only if you are guilty. Why should I get stressed out?'

MANILA, Philippines – While his two co-accused admit being stressed out over their likely arrest over the pork barrel scam, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile is not at all worried.

He said he is able to sleep soundly for 9 hours, eat a hearty breakfast, and even exercise. What makes him so relaxed? The 90-year-old senator summed up in one line his attitude toward his plunder indictment over the country’s worst corruption scandal in recent history.

“I am confident we will win this case,” Enrile told reporters on Tuesday, May 20.

Watch this report below.

 

A former trial lawyer and defense minister during Martial Law, Enrile said that his mind is not focused on his impending arrest but on the case alone.

“I am confident in a fair trial, in a fair court – and I’m sure our courts will be fair about this – I’ll have a fair chance of winning this case,” he said.

Asked if he was stressed out, Enrile responded, “No, what for? You get stressed out only if you are guilty. Why should I get stressed out? I know myself. I know what we did. My office, I think, is blameless.”

 

Enrile refuted speculation and the insinuation of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago that he was behind the release of several versions of the so-called Napoles list, or the list of officials alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles implicated in the scam.

President Benigno Aquino III and lawmakers said the lists were meant to muddle the issue and turn attention away from the plunder charges against the 3 opposition senators. 

“PR? Who has PR? I have no PR. You can ask all the PR practitioners in the country if I have ever engaged anyone, none. I have not talked to any of you in the media. I don’t even discuss my case in my own radio program,” Enrile said.

The former Senate president said he was also not in touch with Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson, who had an unsigned copy of the list.  “I have not talked to Ping Lacson ever since he became the [rehabilitation] czar.”

While politicians, the media and the public got caught up in the controversy over the Napoles lists, Enrile said he will not join the fray.

“List or no list, it doesn’t matter to me. So what if there is a list? I have a case. There is a case pending against me so I will attend to that case. I will deal with that case. I will study it.”

“I’m thinking about all possibilities. As a lawyer, when you study a case, you study it in total, in whole. Don’t study your case half-baked so you avoid pitfalls and surprise,” he added.

‘No contact with Gigi’

Enrile also denied communicating with his resigned chief of staff and co-accused in the plunder case, lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes.” Reyes made a surprise return in April after spending 8 months abroad; her whereabouts were unknown. Enrile said he does not know where she is now.

“I have not had any contact with her since she came back.”

Enrile said he is not upset over reports that the Philippine National Police is already preparing a detention facility for him and Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr and Jinggoy Estrada in Camp Crame. They will reportedly be joining other high-profile detainees like communist leader Benito Tiamzon.

Why should I get offended? I am ready to defend myself inside the courtroom. Okay lang maski sino magiging cellmate ko, pwede naman Abu Sayyaf,” he quipped. (It’s okay whoever my cellmate will be, it can be the Abu Sayyaf.)

While other lawmakers cried foul over their inclusion in the Napoles list, the former martial law administrator was unfazed.

“Could they say anything more derogatory about me? All my life I’ve been the subject of malignment. I’m still around and alive. I think a Filipino jail is better than a Japanese jail,” Enrile said, referring to his past as a guerrilla fighter imprisoned during World War II.

Asked if he was “ready for the worst,” Enrile just replied, “What is the worst?”

Along with Revilla and Estrada, Enrile faces plunder charges for allegedly conniving with Napoles to funnel his pork barrel to her bogus non-governmental organizations in exchange for P183 million in kickbacks.

Enrile has remained mostly silent about the issue. He explained why. “Pardon me for not discussing the case and what I’m going to do in the event a case is filed against me. I’ve been trained in that art. In the same way you (reporters) are trained in your art so all of us are practitioners.”

Revilla: This is torture

Enrile’s disposition was a sharp contrast to Revilla’s and Estrada’s. In a separate interview, Revilla lamented that no case has been filed against him in court yet but the police are already planning his detention.

“Hindi ako napipika, parang paulit-ulit na lang. Sinabi na iyan hinahanda ang kulungan namin. Ngayon hinahanda na naman. Ano ba ito? Torture na ito eh. Nananadya na. Okay lang, tanggap ko na. This is political persecution,” Revilla said.

(I am not annoyed, it’s just that this has been repeated over and over. They already said they were preparing our jail. Now they’re preparing it again. What is this? This is already torture. They’re doing this deliberately. It’s okay, I have accepted it. This is political persecution.)

Revilla claimed that a group of men on board two vehicles were monitoring his home and trailing his people. He said the car of one of his men was stolen. 

“’Di ko na alam ang mga scenario na ito basta’t kung ginagawa nila, bahala na ang Diyos.” (I no longer know what these scenarios are, but if they are behind this, God will take care of them.)

Teary-eyed, the actor-turned-politician reiterated that he is ready to be arrested anytime. “Hinanda ko na ang aking pamilya, kung ano at anuman, ihanda ninyo na at ako, nakahanda ako. Sabi ko huwag kang iiyak. Walang sinuman ang iiyak kasi ‘pag umiyak tayo, matutuwa lang ang mga kalaban natin.”

(I already prepared my family. Whatever happens, I am ready. I told my family not to cry. No one should cry because if we do, our enemies will be pleased.)

“Alam mo ‘di na ako natatakot sa sarili ko. Natatakot na ako para sa bansa kasi ‘di na natin alam saan tutungo ito,” Revilla said. (I am no longer afraid for myself. I am afraid for our country because we do not know where this is headed.)

Surrender for Estrada?

As for Estrada, he said it was the same scenario during his first plunder charge under the Arroyo administration when authorities already prepared his cell in Fort Sto Domingo in Laguna, even before a case was filed against him. Estrada was acquitted in that case.

Estrada said he received “information” that officials from the justice department keep visiting Napoles in the hospital to ensure that the 3 opposition senators are implicated. 

“When the DOJ offers witness protection or has a secret like that, we have no chances of fighting it …. They’re really hell-bent on jailing the 3 senators. When it’s the 3 senators mentioned, Napoles and Benhur Luy’s story is credible. When it’s others involved or allies of the administration, it’s so incredible. There you will see selective justice.”

Asked if he would surrender to President Aquino like Napoles did, Estrada joked, “Kay Presidente Erap.” (I will surrender to my father, former president Joseph Estrada.) – Rappler.com 

 

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