MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was rushed to the hospital over the weekend, days before a plunder case was filed against him over the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
Enrile’s close allies Sen Jinggoy Estrada and Sen Vicente “Tito” Sotto III disclosed this on the day the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a plunder case against Enrile, Estrada, and Sen Bong Revilla before the Ombudsman on Monday, September 16.
In a statement released by Enrile’s office, Enrile’s son former Cagayan Rep Jack Enrile said the senator was brought to the Makati Medical Center early Saturday morning after complaining of difficulty urinating.
“As a result, his blood pressure became elevated. Doctors found an obstruction in his urethra, which was immediately removed. The Senator was supposed to be discharged this afternoon (Monday) but doctors advised him to stay for another day for observation,” the statement said.
In another statement from Enrile’s office, Enrile said the plunder case was filed after an “incomplete, hasty, and partial investigation.”
“That investigation has been accompanied by repeated and deliberate ‘leaks’ and the turnover of 17 boxes of documentary evidence to the DOJ 3 days after the Department revealed and the President confirmed that a conclusion had already been reached. In the words of [Secretary] De Lima herself, ‘I have to be very candid. We are under extreme pressure to file already a case or cases ASAP.’”
De Lima made that statement during the Senate hearing on the pork barrel scam on September 12, after President Benigno Aquino III said cases would be filed "not later than Monday," September 16.
The justice secretary's statement prompted comments from senators that assurances had to be made that the prosecution won't be selective and targetted against the opposition.
Enrile said, “Let me make clear that I am innocent of the charges filed against me.”
Probe was not thorough, not impartial
“The Filipino people are entitled to a thorough, complete, and impartial investigation so that whatever his rank, whoever is guilty, is punished and the innocent are exonerated. That is not the kind of investigation that has been done.”
Enrile said he trusts Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to lead this investigation with due process “so that justice be done to all.”
“It is with this trust that I will [lay] my case before her. I am therefore ready to fully and honestly cooperate with the investigation to discover not just the truth but the whole truth,” Enrile said.
Sotto said Enrile was rushed to the hospital last Saturday morning, September 14, and missed the Senate minority’s meeting Saturday afternoon.
Enrile was the only one of the 3 senators absent in the Senate session on Wednesday, September 16.
“He is indisposed. He is in the hospital. His blood pressure shot up. I talked to him. I heard that he was rushed to the hospital so I just asked how he was doing. He’s okay. He’s in high spirits. He just informed me he will fight this case in the court,” Estrada said in a press briefing.
Enrile is 89 years old.
Enrile was charged along with his former chief of staff, lawyer Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, who resigned at the height of the Senate fund controversy.
The Senate Minority Leader and his allies have said it is the liability of the implementing agency, not the senators, to screen the NGOs receiving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The lawmakers were charged for allegedly endorsing fake NGOs as recipients of their PDAF in exchange for hefty kickbacks.
Enrile said in a previous statement: “If any of my PDAF or pork barrel funds can be proven to have gone to my own pocket, I am ready to surrender whatever assets I and my family own, any or all of it if they want. If I were to choose something of value to leave to my family when I depart from this world, I would choose to leave honor and a good name, nothing else.” – Rappler.com