Enrile: I still believe in justice, ‘straight path’
MANILA, Philippines – Possibly facing arrest for the third time, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile remains cool and told his supporters he believes in a justice system adhering to the “straight and narrow path.”
While his co-accused focused on their impending arrest over the pork barrel scam, the legal luminary looked ahead to the outcome of the trial. He believes he will be vindicated, now that the case moved from the court of public opinion to the court of law.
“Ako’y naniniwala sa hustisya sa ating bayan at sa ating mga hukuman. Maraming pumapansin o nagsasabi na walang hustiya dito. Ako’y naniniwala pa rin na karamihan ng ating mga huwes, hukom dito ay sinusunod nila ang daang matuwid sapagkat iyan ang tunay na daang dapat sundin,” Enrile said at the Senate on Thursday, June 19.
(I believe in the justice system in our country and in our courts. Many say there is no justice here. But I believe most of our judges and justices still follow the straight and narrow path because that is the path we must take.)
Enrile added: “Palagay ko ako ay mapapalaya. Kaya abangan ang mga susunod na kabanta mula bukas.” (I believe I will be freed. So watch out for the next chapter starting tomorrow.)
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The former trial lawyer was referring to the scheduled hearing on Friday, June 20, for his motion for judicial determination of probable cause at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
The 90-year-old Enrile faces possible arrest after he was charged with plunder and 15 counts of graft over the country’s biggest corruption scandal in recent history. The senator is accused of pocketing P172 million ($3.93 million) in kickbacks from alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for endorsing her bogus non-governmental organizations as recipients of his discretionary funds.
His co-accused are fellow opposition senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
While Enrile opts to keep his legal strategy a mystery, he obliged political leaders and supporters from his home province of Cagayan with an informal speech discussing his attitude about the case.
The defense minister during the Martial Law regime said his confidence about the case stems from his previous criminal cases where the Supreme Court upheld him.
“After the EDSA Revolution, I was jailed during the time of President Cory Aquino for rebellion complexed with murder,” Enrile said. “I was also jailed during election time in 2001 under the administration of President Gloria Arroyo.”
Enrile was arrested in 1990 for alleged participation in the 1989 coup attempt against the Corazon Aquino presidency. In 2001, he was also arrested for the charge of inciting to sedition when supporters of his ally, ousted President Joseph Estrada, stormed Malacañang in an attempt to remove Arroyo from power.
“When Cory (Aquino) jailed me, I went to the Supreme Court and by the mercy of God, the Court sided with me. In 2001, that was also the case when I went to the Supreme Court and again by the mercy of God, the Court affirmed my position,” said Enrile.
‘I will fight for the truth I know’
A former Cagayan representative, Enrile is determined to again win his legal battle.
“Ipaglalaban ko ang aking alam na katotohanan para sa ganoon maliwanag ang kaisipan ng sambayanang Pilipino, lalong lalo na ang mga kababayan ko sa probinsya ng Cagayan,” Enrile told an audience that included his son and namesake, defeated senatorial bet and former Cagayan Representative Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr.
(I will fight for the truth I know so that the minds of the Filipino people will be enlightened, especially my townmates in the province of Cagayan.)
While Estrada and Revilla questioned the developments in their case, Enrile welcomed the court proceedings.
“Wala akong sakit ng loob o galit sa maski sinuman na sa mga ganitong paratang sapagkat patutunayan ko sa bandang huli na iyon ay hindi totoo. Sapagkat hindi kami maaring makapagpaliwanag sa panahon na mainit ang mga isyu na 'binabato sa amin sapagkat wala kaming telebisyon, peryodiko, magasin, radyo, na pwedeng gamitin upang makapagpaliwanag.”
(I harbor no grudge or anger against anyone because of these accusations because in the end, I will prove that those are not true. Because we could not explain at the time the allegations thrown at us were hot because we do not own any television stations, newspapers, magazines, radio for us to give our side.)
Enrile explained that since he started out as a lawyer, it was his policy not to discuss the merits of his case in public.
“So earlier they were asking me, ‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘I will not tell you.’ What is your plan? I said, ‘I won’t say.’ That’s it. My answer is simple.”
One of the most controversial and colorful personalities in Philippine politics, Enrile said he takes trials in stride. He advised his supporters to do the same.
“Kaya kailangan anumang bagay, mga pagsubok sa iyong buhay ay kailangang panindigan mo, harapin mo at sa bandang huli ang maliwanagan ang lahat ng mga hindi pagkakaunawa.”
(So in whatever challenge you face in life, you have to stand up, face it and in the end, everything will be clear and the all the misunderstandings will be resolved.) – Rappler.com