MANILA – Recalling his experiences, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said he believes he would be free again even if he gets arrested by authorities soon.
Enrile, who is facing plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division due to his alleged involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam, said he is confident the court would free him in a way similar to what happened to him in previous administrations.
His co-accused, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., has already surrendered and is now detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center after the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division found probable cause of the plunder and graft cases filed against him.
But the 90-year old Enrile, speaking before his supporters from Cagayan who trooped to the Senate to express their support for him, said he believes there is another chance he could avoid being detained like what happened to him before.
“Tuwing dekada ba, simula noong ako’y pumasok sa pulitika pagkatapos ng EDSA Revolution, ako ay nakukulong. Kinulong ako nung panahon ni Ginang Presidente Cory Aquino, (kinasuhan ako) ng rebellion complex with murder. Ikinulong ako at doon ng 10 araw ako naka-kulong sa (Camp) Karingal (Each decade since I entered politics after the first EDSA Revolution, I’m being jailed. I was behind bars during the time of then President Cory Aquino when I was charged with rebellion complex with murder. I was detained for 10 days in Camp Karingal),” Enrile said.
Enrile also recalled he had gone to jail during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term in 2001 but was also freed days later.
“Ikinulong din ako nung panahon ng election noong 2001, panahon ng admin ni Ginang President Gloria Arroyo na kumare ko, inaanak ko pa si Dado (Arroyo) na congressman ng Bicol ngayon. (I was jailed during election time in 2001, during the time of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo though I was godfather of Dado who is now congressman in Bicol now),” he said.
In all the cases he faced, he went to the Supreme Court for legal intervention.
“Noong kinulong ako ni Cory (Aquino), nagpunta ako sa Supreme Cout, at ako naman, awa ng Diyos ay pinalaya ng Korte Suprema. Noong 2001 ganun din, nagpunta din ako sa Korte Suprema at sa awa ng Diyos ay pinalaya din ako ng Panginoon. Pinalaya din ako ng Korte Suprema, (When Cory had me imprisoned, I went to the SC, and by God’s mercies I was freed by the SC. The same thing happened in 2001, I went to the SC and I was freed by the SC),” he said.
Enrile said he won’t hesitate to elevate his case to the SC again if there is a need to do so.
“Baka sakali mauulit yan pagdating ng araw. Aakyat din ako dun sa Korte suprema saka-sakali kung kelangan, magpapaliwanag ako dun, (I think it could happen again one day. I will raise the issue to the Supreme Court just in case I need to. I will explain myself there),” he said.
Enrile further said he has no ill-feelings against the people who charged him with accusations that he funneled his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations set up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
“Sapagkat alam ko na mapapatunayan ko sa bandang huli na yun ay hindi totoo. At yan ay aking gagawin at yun ay magsisimula bukas upang magpaliwanag kami. Sapagkat hindi kami maaring makapag paliwanag sa panahon na mainit ang mga isyu na ibinabato sa amin. Sapagkat wala kaming telebisyomn, peryodiko, magazine, wala kaming radio, na pwedeng gamitin upang sa ganun ay magpaliwanag. (That’s because I know in the end I can prove the charges against me are not true. That’s what I’m going to do starting tomorrow. Because we cannot explain our side while the issues being hurled against us are still strong. There is no television, newspaper, magazine, or radio at our disposal where we can air our side),” he said.
A lawyer by profession, Enrile said he believes it is the court that has the jurisdiction to hear and judge his case.
That is why he said he still expects a fair trial before the Sandiganbayan where the charges against him will be heard.
“Pero ako’y naniniwala sa matuwid na hustisya sa ating bayan at ating mga hukuman nama’y kahit na marami diyan ang pumapansin o nagsasabi na walang hustisya dito, ako naniniwala na karamihan ng ating mga huwes mga hukom dito ay matutuwid, (I believe there is still justice in this country even if other people say otherwise. I still believe that most of our justices are upright),” he said.
“Sinusunod nila ang daang matuwid sapagkat yan ay tunay na daan na dapat sundin natin. Kaya akoy malaki ang paniniwala ko na dito sa aking hinaharap na kaso, patas-patas lang, walang pwersahan, at walang lamangan. (They are following the straight path because that’s the right path they should follow. I firmly believe that in this case all of us are equal, no one is being pressured, it’s going to be fair),” the senator said. (Manila Bulletin)