Court grants Enrile's request for hospital detention

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan granted on Friday, September 26, the request of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile for hospital detention.

In a 16-page resolution, the 90-year-old senator was allowed continued detention at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital until doctors consider him fit to be transferred to a regular jail facility or until further orders from the court.

The PNP General Hospital Director was the hospital of choice in Enrile's motion, now granted by the Sandiganbayan's Third Division.

The hospital's director was likewise given "continuing authority" to allow Enrile to access another medical facility outside Camp Crame, the police camp where the hospital is.

The court said Enrile will have to shoulder any off-site medical expenses.

This is under the conditions that the procedure sought outside Camp Crame is an emergency case and cannot be provided by the PNP hospital.

Enrile is charged before the Sandiganbayan of plunder and graft for allegedly amassing ill-gotten wealth with his co-conspirators, including his former aide Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

Court ruling

The court's ruling was based on the testimony of doctors from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) led by director Jose Gonzales. 

The PGH physicians were tasked to conduct a check on Enrile to determine if the hospital arrest is called for. 

Based on their findings, the senator is suffering from the following conditions:

For the Sandiganbayan Third Division justices, there were only two options on where to detain Enrile: a hospital in accordance to his request or a facility supervised by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

The 3rd division earlier resolved that an accused must be detained in a jail as defined by law, which is run by the BJMP. 

Believing it "does not possess the necessary competence to pass upon" Enrile's conditions, the court heeded Gonzales' testimony attesting that Enrile may be endangered inside a jail.

Oral arguments

In the oral arguments, Enrile's lawyer Estelito Mendoza said his client is in frail condition and may suffer from attacks that are "immediately fatal."

The prosecution countered by saying past events have shown his physical ability to still fulfill his functions as legislator.

Prosecutor Annielyn Cabelis added that Enrile had undergone stem cell therapy, which had given him "vitality and zest" in life.

Enrile cited the same health concerns in a motion for bail filed earlier. Attached to his motion were medical certificates issued by his doctors.

A May 8 certification by Dr Clementa Gatmaitan Jr said Enrile is under the care of Dr Claver Ramos of the Makati Medical Center. He had been diagnosed with chronic hypertension, elevated fasting blood sugar, and mild anemia, among others.

In a separate medical certificate, Dr Ramos said Enrile is on at least 22 different medications for his various health complications.

Another medical certificate signed by Dr Amadeo Veloso Jr of the Asian Eye Institute attests that Enrile has "age-related macular degeneration" in both eyes.

"He needs to undergo regular ophthalmologic check-up, monitoring and treatment for the sight threatening condition. Since 2008, he has been receiving monthly intravitreal injections to maintain and preserve his vision," the certificate read. – Rappler.com