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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
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P-NOY QUESTIONS SC RULING: DID SUPREME COURT OVERSTEP MANDATE ON ENRILE BAIL? 
['Usually if there’s an issue on clemency, I take care of it as president and I can only intervene if there is already what is called final conviction,' Aquino told reporters in Filipino in a chance interview at the DPWH Region 7 office]


AUGUST 24 -Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile returns to work at the Senate yesterday after being granted temporary liberty by the Supreme Court. MONG PINTOLO
The Supreme Court may have overstepped its mandate and issued what appeared to be judicial clemency in its recent ruling allowing Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to post bail, President Aquino said yesterday. “I’m not a lawyer. Usually if there’s an issue on clemency, I take care of it as president, and I can only intervene if there is already what is called final conviction,” Aquino told reporters in Filipino in a chance interview at the DPWH Region 7 office here. The High Court voted 8-4 last week to allow the 91-year-old senator to post P1.5 million bail, mainly on humanitarian grounds. The magistrates who voted favorably for Enrile’s petition cited his frail health and his being no flight risk. “It’s important to note that the Supreme Court decision says nothing about evidence and it is centered on the age and health of the senator,” Aquino said. He said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima doesn’t have to be instructed about pointing out flaws in the SC ruling as she has “spoken rather eloquently on the topic and others to include the dissenting opinions expressed by the honorable justices of the Supreme Court.” Some quarters believe the ruling may apply to other cases, including those of Sens. Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. who are also facing plunder charges along with Enrile. READ MORE...

ALSO: Freed Enrile not excited to be back


AUGUST 25 -HERE’S JOHNNY.... A seemingly amused Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd intently listens as Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile takes the Senate floor on Monday. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ
SENATE Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile has returned to the Senate but unlike his colleagues who expressed excitement, the veteran lawmaker said he is not excited to be back because it’s his job to be there. The 91-year-old senator added that he still feels the same and he intends to continue working and do his job as lawmaker. “I’m not excited, I’m just going to work,” Enrile told reporters. “I will perform my duty for as long as I have my own energy,” he said. Enrile was ordered arrested and detained by the Sandiganbayan in connection with plunder and other graft-related charges filed against him for his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam. The Supreme Court last week, granted his petition for bail allowing him to be released temporarily from detention. Enrile said he did not miss his work in the Senate because he has kept himself busy working on state papers while  in detention. “I believe I’m still lacking in knowledge that is why I’m studying,” he told reporters in Filipino. The veteran lawmaker said he also does not see his more than 12 months in hospital arrest as a waste of his time, although he believes that it is unfair to the nation. “Dahil sinusweldahan ako eh, di ako nagtatrabaho eh. Di ba? [Because I am receiving my salary but I’m not working, isn’t it?)” Enrile explained. When asked if he will actively participate in debates on the proposed Basic Law on Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), he replied that he still has to look at the proposal. READ MORE...RELATED STORY...

ALSO: Bersamin flogs Leonen over JPE bail dissent


AUGUST 26 -The battle of the “unprecedenteds” ensues today at the Supreme Court en banc as Senior Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, citing “unprecedented invasion” of a majority decision confronts Junior Associate Marvic Leonon who had labeled the SC ruling to grant Sen. J.P. Enrile’s bail as “unprecedented” & “a special accommodation.”  Leonen’s “dissenting opinion” also posed questions on the integrity of SC justices regarding what he called as the unpredecented basis of the majority decision based on humanitarian considerations in allowing nonagenarian Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to post bail. He  also claimed that the decision signed by the SC justices was not the same as the one presented to them during deliberations on Enrile’s petition for bail.
In a confidential letter addressed to Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, Bersamin slammed Leonen saying that the latter made an “unprecedented invasion” and “gross distortions” in the recently penned G.R. 213847. Justice Bersamin, in his letter, asked CJ Sereno to consider his points against Justice Leonen in today’s closed-door Court en banc. Justice Bersamin said that “Justice Leonen has unprecedentedly invaded the autonomy of the majority in arriving at its main opinion”.Last Aug. 18, the SC, voting 8-4, decided in favor of Enrile’s petition for bail with the majority decision’s main basis is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.The dissenters were Chief Justice Sereno, Senior Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Leonen. The senior justice also pointed to the “rectification of the gross distortions contained in Leonen’s dissent that have not only put me in bad light but worse, impugned the integrity of the seven members of the Court who joined my ponencia by claiming that they signed the ponencia without knowing the version they were joining.” Leonen said that the SC’s grant of bail to Senator Enrile is considerably an act of “special accommodation”. READ MORE..RELATED STORY..

ALSO: Senate Blue Ribbon orders arrest of alleged Binay 'dummies'


AUGUST 25 -The Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee is looking into the numerous corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday ordered the arrest of several individuals linked to Vice President Jejomar Binay and to cite them for contempt. Sen. Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, head of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, approved the motion of Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III to cite in contempt four members of the Chong family—Erlinda Chong, Irish Chong, Irene Chong and Kim Tun Chong—who have not appeared before the subcommittee hearings. Guingona arrest also reinstated the outstanding arrest warrant against the Chongs. Jack Arroyo, Laureano Gregorio and Marguerite Lichnock, the wife of Gerry Limlingan, were also cited for contempt. James Tiu, the brother of businessman Antonio Tiu, was also cited for contempt along with his wife Anne Lorraine. The Blue Ribbon Committee also reinforced the arrest order against Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy, an aide of the vice president, and alleged Binay bagman Gerardo "Gerry" Limlingan. Last May, the Senate committee ordered the arrest of 14 individuals who were cited in contempt for failure to attend the hearings on the corruption allegations against Binay. this is the full report...

ALSO: Enrile blasts yearlong Senate Binay probe; it’s self-destructing
[It is no longer an investigation in aid of legislation.]


AUGUST 26 -Senator Enrile back at work at the Senate -
It is no longer an investigation in aid of legislation. That’s Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s observation on the hearings conducted by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee into allegations that Vice President Jejomar Binay amassed illegal wealth while he was mayor of Makati City.  “It’s unusual in any country for an investigation to last that long in aid of legislation. So it destroys itself,” he said. “I said it is self-destructing. Let them proceed because in the long term they will become irrelevant.”  “An investigation like that is already losing its own steam and value,” Enrile told reporters Tuesday on his second day in the Senate following his release on bail while the plunder case against him is undergoing trial in the Sandigan. Enrile, a political ally of Binay and who has assumed his post as Senate minority leader, said the length of the Binay inquiry, which started a year ago, was unprecedented. He noted that the inquiry into the alleged overprice of the Makati City Hall Building II in aid of legislation had expanded “too far away” from the original resolution and delved into other issues.
Asked if he would raise the matter with the Senate leadership, he said they were “brilliant” and “responsible” people and should know what is good for the Senate and its image. Let the people judge. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, the subcommittee chair, said Enrile was entitled to his opinion and he respected that. “But we will endeavor for it not to self-destruct,” Pimentel said in a text message. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who initiated the inquiry against Binay, said the public was the better judge of the subcommittee’s performance.
READ MORE...RELATED STORY....

ALSO: Enrile calls on candidates to arm themselves with ‘intellectual, multiple discipline’


AUGUST 28 -Senate Minority Leader Senator Juan Ponce Enrile acknowledged yesterday that Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares is an “electable” candidate even though she perceivably lacks experience in public service. But Enrile said Poe, as well as the other potential candidates in the coming May, 2016, elections, can arm themselves with “intellectual discipline.” Next year’s candidates must equip themselves with knowledge and understanding of today’s and future needs, he said. In related reports on the political scene yesterday: • Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza described Poe as “a breath of fresh air in the polluted world of presidential politics,” as she and Sen. Francis Escudero arranged an invitation for a conference between them and the National Unity Party (NUP), the third largest in the country. NUP Executive Director Reginald Velasco said the NUP is open to the possibility of throwing its support to any of three other presidential candidates, although it had earlier shown up in full force for a meeting with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party. • Sen. Fedinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he is now holding talks with various groups, including his own Nacionalista Party (NP), about running for higher office. There are five million votes from the Solid North that Senator Marcos can count on should he run for the presidency, Senator Enrile said yesterday. • Liberal Party stalwarts are not giving up on Sen. Grace Poe amid the reported formation of a united Poe-Escudero senatorial ticket for next year’s polls. Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said they are patiently waiting for Poe’s nod to join the administration banner.
MULTIPLE DISCIPLINE Senator Enrile stressed the need for the presidential candidates to prepare themselves for problems that will require immediate resolution or decision. One needs multiple intellectual discipline, he said. “You must be versed in economics, in politics, in security, strategy, currency, demography, climate change, environmental degradation – lahat iyan. They have an impact on the stability of any country in this planet. An event that happens in Europe or in Asia could engulf the world at any time and you must always have a strategy to meet these contingencies.” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Did SC overstep mandate on Enrile bail?


Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile returns to work at the Senate yesterday after being granted temporary liberty by the Supreme Court. MONG PINTOLO

CEBU CITY, AUGUST 31, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Delon Porcalla - The Supreme Court may have overstepped its mandate and issued what appeared to be judicial clemency in its recent ruling allowing Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to post bail, President Aquino said yesterday.

“I’m not a lawyer. Usually if there’s an issue on clemency, I take care of it as president, and I can only intervene if there is already what is called final conviction,” Aquino told reporters in Filipino in a chance interview at the DPWH Region 7 office here.

The High Court voted 8-4 last week to allow the 91-year-old senator to post P1.5 million bail, mainly on humanitarian grounds. The magistrates who voted favorably for Enrile’s petition cited his frail health and his being no flight risk.

“It’s important to note that the Supreme Court decision says nothing about evidence and it is centered on the age and health of the senator,” Aquino said.

He said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima doesn’t have to be instructed about pointing out flaws in the SC ruling as she has “spoken rather eloquently on the topic and others to include the dissenting opinions expressed by the honorable justices of the Supreme Court.”

Some quarters believe the ruling may apply to other cases, including those of Sens. Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. who are also facing plunder charges along with Enrile.

READ MORE...

Aquino barely gave clemency to convicts 70 years old and above.

Early this year, or before Pope Francis’ visit in mid-January, Aquino failed to release convicts – which should have been a yearly practice for Chief Executives every Christmas – as a sign of goodwill.

Reliable sources said Aquino directed De Lima to submit a “second list” of inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City to be granted clemency in time for Francis’ visit.

“Secretary De Lima submitted a second list that is (currently) being reviewed,” the source had revealed.

Long before the pontiff’s arrival, the Bureau of Pardons and Parole – an agency under the Department of Justice – had submitted to De Lima a list of elderly inmates 70 years old and above who had served their sentence.


Mercy and compassion: CBCP head lauds Pope's plan for sick, elderly. CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archibishop Socrates Villegas said such an act would be a signal that the country was doing its best to be a nation of mercy and compassion, as the Pope urged all nations to be. GMA NEWS JANUARY 5, 2015

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, whose president is Bataan Bishop Socrates Villegas, urged Aquino to grant clemency to sick, old and abandoned prisoners in line with the theme of the papal visit – “Mercy and Compassion.”

For the past five years, Aquino has so far released only eight prisoners – in December 2012. This was from the original shortlist of 40 convicts recommended for clemency by the BPP under the DOJ.

A recipient of Aquino’s clemency in July 2011 turned out to be already dead when his release papers reached the BuCor.

The man, who died of cancer, had served eight years of his 40-year jail term.

Up and about After being allowed bail mainly for health reasons, Enrile reported back to the Senate yesterday – all set to catch up on his duties.

Accompanied by his daughter Katrina, Enrile arrived at his office yesterday afternoon, about an hour before the start of the plenary sessions, and was greeted by his staff and friends.

Since it was his first day back after a year of detention, Enrile sat through the plenary session and only stood up to manifest his abstention in the vote taken on two bills taken up for approval on third reading.

Speaking with reporters at the session hall, Enrile said that there was nothing extraordinary about his return to the Senate.

“It is just like before. I have no feeling. I’m not excited. I’m just going to work. It is my duty to come here,” Enrile said when asked about how he felt being out of detention and back at the Senate.

Enrile said that he kept himself busy during his year in detention, studying “everything under the sun.”

“My knowledge is insufficient so I have to study,” he said.

He said he felt not much of his time was wasted during detention.

“It was time wasted probably for the nation but not to me. Because I am being compensated and I am not working,” Enrile said.

He declined to comment on criticism by dissenting Associate Justice Marvic Leonen that the SC decision was a form of special accommodation for him.

He said that he does not harbor any ill feelings against anyone because “everyone in the world is my friend.”

“I will perform my duty for as long as I have an ounce of energy,” he said.


“It is just like before. I have no feeling. I’m not excited. I’m just going to work. It is my duty to come here,” Enrile said when asked about how he felt being out of detention and back at the Senate.

He also declined to talk about his plans for 2016 or who among the possible presidential candidates he would support. Enrile said he has not talked to anybody about politics because “all I did was to study.”

The veteran senator’s term is ending next year and it has been reported that he is retiring from politics.

Along with Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President and now Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada, Enrile was one of the founders of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

Jinggoy for his part said Enrile urged him and Revilla to “be strong and have faith” in their effort to secure their own release from the court.

Enrile gave the advice last Saturday when he visited the two at the PNP custodial center at Camp Crame.

Jinggoy said all three of them had lunch together and talked about many things.

“We had lunch together with Senator Bong and nagkwentuhan lang,” Jinggoy told reporters in an interview after his bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan.

He expressed hope that the Supreme Court’s decision granting bail to Enrile would work to their advantage.

“I haven’t read the decision yet. But I am praying and hoping that it will have some favorable effects on us,” Jinggoy said.

‘Gross distortion’ Meanwhile, Leonen is being accused of “gross distortions” in his dissenting opinion by his fellow magistrate who penned the Supreme Court decision.

In a letter to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno yesterday, Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin asked that the Enrile case be tackled again by the high court in today’s session.

Specifically, Bersamin sought discussion on the “unprecedented invasion of the autonomy of the majority in arriving at its main opinion and rectification of the gross distortions contained in Justice Leonen’s dissent.”

Bersamin stressed that the claims of Leonen “not only put me in bad light but worse, also impugned the integrity of the seven members of the Court who joined my ponencia by claiming that they signed the ponencia without the version they were joining.” –With Edu Punay, Marvin Sy, Michael Punongbayan


MANILA TIMES

Freed Enrile not excited to be back August 24, 2015 11:30 pm
by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, REPORTER


HERE’S JOHNNY A seemingly amused Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd intently listens as Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile takes the Senate floor on Monday. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

SENATE Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile has returned to the Senate but unlike his colleagues who expressed excitement, the veteran lawmaker said he is not excited to be back because it’s his job to be there.

The 91-year-old senator added that he still feels the same and he intends to continue working and do his job as lawmaker.

“I’m not excited, I’m just going to work,” Enrile told reporters. “I will perform my duty for as long as I have my own energy,” he said.

Enrile was ordered arrested and detained by the Sandiganbayan in connection with plunder and other graft-related charges filed against him for his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam. The Supreme Court (SC), last week, granted his petition for bail allowing him to be released temporarily from detention.

Enrile said he did not miss his work in the Senate because he has kept himself busy working on state papers while he was in detention.

“I believe I’m still lacking in knowledge that is why I’m studying,” he told reporters in Filipino.

The veteran lawmaker said he also does not see his more than 12 months in hospital arrest as a waste of his time, although he believes that it is unfair to the nation.

“Dahil sinusweldahan ako eh, di ako nagtatrabaho eh. Di ba? [Because I am receiving my salary but I’m not working, isn’t it?)” Enrile explained.

When asked if he will actively participate in debates on the proposed Basic Law on Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), he replied that he still has to look at the proposal.

READ MORE...

Senator Ferdnand Marcos Jr., in an earlier interview, said Enrile’s inputs and wise counsel could help in plenary debates on his proposed version of the BLBAR.

The Senate began interpellations on the BLBAR also on Monday.

Enrile, meanwhile, refused to discuss issues relating to his case and even refrain to give comments on a statement earlier made by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the granting of his bail petition has turned the country into a “banana republic.”

“Wala akong paningin tungkol diyan eh [I don’t have views about it, I cannot discuss my case,” the senator said.

Anti-graft drive continues

The President also on Monday maintained that the Supreme Court (SC) decision to grant Enrile bail would not undermine the government’s campaign to pursue corrupt officials.

Speaking to reporters in Cebu City, he was asked if the granting of bail to Enrile would affect the government’s anti-corruption drive.


P-NOY: "Plunder is supposed to be non-bailable, a very important point for Sec De Lima".

“Iyong pinakaimportante ayon kay [Justice] Secretary Leila [de Lima], kasi parang ang plunder na isa sa mga kaso ay supposed to be non-bailable. Ngayon doon sa pagiging non-bailable, marami dito sa mga non-bailable na asunto pwede nang mabigyan ng piyansa kapag mababa ‘yung ebidensiya, ‘yung mahina ang ebidensiya. Importante yatang tingnan natin doon sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema ay wala silang binabanggit tungkol doon sa ebidensiyang hinarap at tila nakasentro doon sa edad at kalagayan ng kalusugan ni Senator Enrile. So, maaapektuhan ba? Hindi. Tuluy-tuloy ang kampanya natin [Plunder is supposed to be non-bailable, that is a very important point for Secretary de Lima. Now, many non-bailable cases can now be considered bailable if evidence is weak. In the Supreme Court decision, nothing was mentioned about evidence and it seemed to focus only on Sen. Enrile’s age and health],” Aquino said.

He noted that the National Bureau of Investigation recently filed before the Ombudsman the third set of cases against officials suspected of misusing their pork barrel funds.

“Hindi ho nahihinto at tuloy pa rin ‘yung paglilitis [Trial is going on],” the President said.

He reiterated that the High Court released Enrile on bail for humanitarian reasons rather than weak evidence against the senator.

When asked about renewed calls for the SC to also grant former president now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo bail, the President replied that those who have committed crimes must be held accountable.

“Kailangan kung mabigat ang krimeng ginawa mo, may mabigat rin namang dapat na kaparusahan [Heavy crime begets heavy punishment],” he said.
Arroyo faces a P366-million plunder case in connection with alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence fund during her second term as President from 2004 to 2010, as well as electoral sabotage for alleged election fraud in the 2004 presidential elections and the 2007 senatorial elections.
With PNA

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

For Enrile, hospital arrest was like ‘heaven’ @inquirerdotnet 05:35 PM August 25th, 2015


While in detention, the senator said, he did nothing but sleep, study and exercise. “Kumakain ako ng hospital food. Masarap naman yung hospital food na dangit. Kumakain kami ng dangit, miswa, sotanghon,” he said. Told by a reporter that he looks younger now, the 91-year-old senator said in jest: “Thank you for the compliment …pero wala nang asim.”

“IT’S like heaven,” was how Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile described on Tuesday his more than a year of his hospital arrest at the Philippine National Police General Hospital in Quezon City.

“I’ve been incarcerated four times already, once by enemies of our country. That’s really hell. This time, it’s like heaven compared to what I went through,” he told reporters.

When asked if there was ever a time that he became emotional while in detention, Enrile said: “Why should I? I know that sooner or later the truth will come out. As a lawyer, I believe in our justice system.”

Last week, the Supreme Court allowed the senator to post bail after being in hospital arrest since July 2014 on plunder and graft charges filed against him in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Asked if he thinks that the truth is now starting to come out following the Court’s decision, Enrile said: “Not yet. I’m just given a temporary liberty. I have not started the trial yet.”

While in detention, the senator said, he did nothing but sleep, study and exercise.

“Kumakain ako ng hospital food. Masarap naman yung hospital food na dangit. Kumakain kami ng dangit, miswa, sotanghon,” he said.

Told by a reporter that he looks younger now, the 91-year-old senator said in jest: “Thank you for the compliment …pero wala nang asim.”

Enrile said he was “treated well” while in detained that he was even allowed to sleep under the sun.

To keep himself busy, he said, he also wrote “reflections” of his life.

“When I’m all alone and I think about the past, the present and the future and many things,” he said. He said he would leave this “narrative” to his daughter and it would be up to her whether to publish it later or just throw it in a waste basket.

Enrile said among those who frequently visited him while he was detained were former President Fidel Ramos and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

“Siguro si Mar must have been there about three times,” he said but refused to say whether they talked about politics during his visits.

“No comment…He (Roxas) just visited me,” he said.


TRIBUNE

Lucas Bersamin flogs Jr. Marvic Leonen over JPE bail dissent Written by Tribune Wires Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:00 By Ted Tuvera  and Benjamin B. Pulta

The battle of the “unprecedenteds” ensues today at the Supreme Court en banc as Senior Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, citing “unprecedented invasion” of a majority decision confronts Junior Associate Marvic Leonon who had labeled the SC ruling to grant Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s bail as “unprecedented” and “a special accomodation.”

Leonen’s “dissenting opinion” also posed questions on the integrity of SC justices regarding what he called as the unpredecented basis of the majority decision based on humanitarian considerations in allowing nonagenarian Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to post bail.

Leonen also claimed that the decision signed by the SC justices was not the same as the one presented to them during deliberations on Enrile’s petition for bail.

In a confidential letter addressed to Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, Bersamin slammed Leonen saying that the latter made an “unprecedented invasion” and “gross distortions” in the recently penned G.R. 213847.

Justice Bersamin, in his letter, asked CJ Sereno to consider his points against Justice Leonen in today’s closed-door Court en banc.

Justice Bersamin said that “Justice Leonen has unprecedentedly invaded the autonomy of the majority in arriving at its main opinion”.

Last Aug. 18, the SC, voting 8-4, decided in favor of Enrile’s petition for bail with the majority decision’s main basis is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The dissenters were Chief Justice Sereno, Senior Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Leonen.

The senior justice also pointed to the “rectification of the gross distortions contained in Leonen’s dissent that have not only put me in bad light but worse, impugned the integrity of the seven members of the Court who joined my ponencia by claiming that they signed the ponencia without knowing the version they were joining.”
In his dissenting opinion, Leonen said that the SC’s grant of bail to Senator Enrile is considerably an act of “special accommodation”.

Leonen, in his 29-page opposition to the majority rule, said allowing the 91 year old statesman may bring about “selective justice” wherein the decision will no longer be based on “legal provisions” but on “human compassion” instead.

Bersamin criticized Leonen’s claim that the decision of the majority of the SC justices is contrary to the “rule of law” and will stain the legitimacy and stability of the entire judiciary.

Leonen, who served as Malacañang’s chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the first round of peace pact signinings under the incumbent administration, is a favored appointee of President Aquino in the SC.

The Court held that the 91-year-old senator deserves to be given bail for humanitarian consideration and for not being a flight risk.

READ MORE...

The Court directed Enrile’s immediate release from custody upon posting of P1 million unless he is being detained for some other cases.

In his dissenting opinion, Leonen revealed what he said was a surprising revision of the draft decision penned by Bersamin.

He recalled that in previous deliberations in their session, the debate centered on two mitigating circumstances in Enrile’s plunder case – his advanced age at the time of commission of the alleged crime and his voluntary surrender – that would determine whether the penalty could be lowered.

But in their session last Tuesday Leonen alleged Bersamin changed his draft and instead focused on the humanitarian consideration as ground in granting Enrile’s bail petition.

Leonen said he sought more time to address the new ground, but Bersamin insisted for the voting to proceed.

The grant of bail was based on the right of the accused to due process and to be presumed innocent; prior to conviction, bail may be granted as a matter of right or of discretion. Anyone charged and detained retains his right to bail, unless charged with a capital offense, an offense punishable with life imprisonment, and when the evidence of guilt is strong; admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion perpetua is subject to judicial discretion; and Enrile’s poor health which accordingly justifies his admission to bail.

In his dissent, Leonen said the decision is “based on a ground never raised before the Sandiganbayan or in the pleadings filed before this court.” He added bail is “not a matter of right in cases where the crime charged is plunder and the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua” or life imprisonment.

Political accomodation — Leonen

Leonen’s dissent said the majority decision tempts one to conclude that “the decision is the result of obvious political accommodation rather than a judicious consideration of the facts and the law.”

He also alleged that the case may benefit “one powerful public official at the cost of weakening our legal institutions.”

In the majority decision, it was concluded that “the Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective of bail to ensure the appearance of the accused during the trial; and unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the fragile health and advanced age of Enrile.”

The Sandiganbayan “gravely abused its discretion” in denying the senator bail, its action connoting “whimsical and capricious exercise of judgment as is equivalent to excess, or lack of jurisdiction.”

Enrile is one of three Palace targets in the controversial P10-billion pork barrel scam case that also led to the detention of Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr for plunder and graft charges.

Enrile said in his petition for bail that he is not a flight risk and that the prosecution failed to establish strong evidence of guilt. He added the SC should consider his advanced age and voluntary surrender as mitigating circumstances.

Leonen claimed in the dissent that the justices voted on a different version from what had been the subject of their previous deliberations.

The draft, Leonen claimed, adopted the legal arguments, which centered on the court taking note of evidence that seeks to establish mitigating circumstances.

When the case was deliberated upon on Aug.11, 2015, the member in charge, then the ponente, proposed that all discussion on the legal points pertaining to bail as a matter of right be dropped and instead focus on “humanitarian” grounds.
Leonen said Bersamin told his coilleagues that he was “abandoning the Aug. 14, 2015 circulated draft” that centered on humanitarian grounds.

“Instead, he was returning to his earlier version that focused on bail as a matter of right based on judicial notice and the existence of mitigating circumstances.

This is what the Supreme Court justices voted on at 11 am of Aug. 18. The only amendment accepted by Bersamin was the increase of the bail amount to P1 million,” Leonen’s dissent noted.

On the day when the SC heard oral arguments on the Torre de Manila case, Bersamin supposedly passed around a “final copy of the majority opinion which was not the version voted upon during the morning’s deliberation.”

Leonen said what was circulated was the Aug. 14 version granting bail on humanitarian grounds.

Challenging the main basis for the decision to grant bail, Leonen said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “does not prohibit the arrest of any accused based on lawful causes nor does it prohibit the detention of any person accused of crimes.”

It merely implies that arrest or detention must be carried out in a “dignified and humane manner.”

Special privileges, Leonen said, may be granted only under “clear, transparent, and reasoned circumstances. Otherwise, we accept that there are just some among us who are elite. Otherwise, we concede that there are those among us who are powerful and networked enough to enjoy privileges not shared by all.”

Before media, Aquino took a jab at the SC decision.


“Usually in clemency, they go to me as President. Most of the time, it is only possible if there is final conviction,” Aquino said.

“I think it is important that we acknowledge the decision of the Supreme Court, yet they mentioned nothing about evidence. It is as if they are centered immediately on the age and health status of Senator Enrile,” Aquino said.

The President said the decision of the SC was baseless, pointing out that the President is the only one vested with power to pardon prisoners.

“Usually in clemency, they go to me as President. Most of the time, it is only possible if there is final conviction,” Aquino said.

He however noted that Enrile’s release and return to the Senate won’t affect the administration’s anti-corruption efforts.

Meanwhile, another alleged political detainee former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s call to be placed under house arrest was rejected by Aquino as well, saying that she is privileged enough to be placed under hospital arrest at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center.

The chief executive said that sympathy should no preside over the case of the former president, saying that it is the law that should be followed.

“All that needs to be done has been done to ensure her health… If she is to be brought home, it means there’s no more issue on her health. Why was she even hospitalized?” Aquino said.

“What should we show the current society and to the next generation? To me it is important that if you’ve fone a crime, you need to pay for it,” he added.

JPE back at Senate

Enrile, meanwhile reported back to the upper chamber sans any fanfare, as if it was just another day at work in the Senate.

Enrile was conspicuously guarded in answering questions from reporters especially on matters relating to the Supreme Court’s grant of bail that allowed him to be released from detention due to plunder charges.

He also downplayed any significance to his possible participation in the floor debates on some of the controversial issues in the Senate such as the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), 2016 proposed national budget, fending off as well matters relating to the 2016 presidential elections.

“I will do my job (as minority leader), just like what I did before. It is my duty to come here and earn my pay. I will perform my duty for as long as I have my own energy,” he said.

Enrile, a known stalwart of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay, dodged queries on who he intends to support in the coming presidential race.



“I’m no longer a politician,” he said.

“I have not talked to them (Binay camp). I have not talked politics. All I did was to study,” the Senate leader said.

When asked if he will be an active member of the minority bloc, Enrile gave this reply: “Just watch.”

Sen. Vicente Sotto III who took over Enrile’s position while the latter was in detention in Camp Crame for more than a year, said the minority leader was cheerful when he met some of their colleagues in the executive lounge shortly before they opened the afternoon plenary session.

“He looks fresh although he does not want to be interviewed because he does not to be asked on the comments from various quarters on his case,” Sotto said in another interview with reporters.

“It’s good to have him back because whenever he’s present and when he discusses (issues on the floor), you can really see that there’s a thorough discussion,” said Sen. Nancy Binay.

Binay, when asked on Enrile’s comments insinuating that he does not intend to take an active role in the coming elections, said she’s hoping for Enrile’s support.

“I think every vote counts. It does not mean that you will have to be there and supporting him (Vice President Binay). A mere vote will be appreciated. The most important support is a vote in our favor.

“Of course I’m praying and hoping that he will support the Vice President especially since they both came from the same region. Sen. Enrile came from Cagayan and my father is from Isabela,” she said. Angie M. Rosales

-------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Bersamin hits back at Leonen over JPE bail By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 26, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus1 0


Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The conflict between two magistrates of the Supreme Court (SC) stemming from the decision last week granting bail to Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in the pork barrel plunder case has gone from bad to worse.

Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, who wrote the ruling, hit back at Associate Justice Marvic Leonen in a rejoinder submitted to the full court during session yesterday.

Bersamin specifically accused Leonen of overstepping his bounds and lacking respect for the majority ruling.

“At this point, I wish to state that Justice Leonen overstepped the bounds of respect for the majority; once the vote was taken, he had absolutely no business implying anything against how the majority had voted, or how their consensus had been reached,” read the rejoinder, a copy of which was obtained by reporters from sources.

“He (Leonen) was a member of the minority; he should have stayed there. He should have confined himself to expressing his losing views. He should not fret and assail the process that he could not control from his side of the vote,” Bersamin stressed.

Bersamin believes Leonen was just whining with his losing opinion and instead of respecting the majority ruling, he went out of control and displayed his “self-righteous mindset.”

He said the allegations of Leonen in his dissent were “false and unreasonable” and also “unfair to me as the ponente (author) and to the seven other members of the Court who joined me.

“I could have tolerated the unfairness, except that the comments were published and soon unavoidably became fodder for people of closed minds and clear biases to criticize my intelligence, regionalism, loyalty and what else… In this age of the Internet, I simply cannot be tolerant but must respond,” he lamented.


Senior Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin

Bersamin stressed there was no deceit or sudden revision in grounds on the ruling circulated to justices after their voting on the case last Aug. 18, as claimed by Leonen.

“The majority was well aware that what was to be voted on was the pruned-down version simply because there was no demand from any of them to still first see the original version. On the part of those who voted against, none of them, including Justice Leonen, demanded to first see again the older version before voting,” he explained.

Bersamin alleged Leonen raised issues to delay the voting.

“He asked for time to circulate a draft. I saw this as a move to delay the vote. It was in exasperation more than anything else that I said that I would revert to the original version, and that the case should now be put to a vote. Much discussion followed. Then the vote was taken,” he said.

Bersamin also turned the tables on Leonen and accused him of violating Section 2, Rule 10 of the Internal Rules of Court on matters of confidential deliberations of the SC justices.

He also recalled Leonen even approached him during the Baguio summer session “to suggest to limit the justification for granting bail to humanitarian grounds.”

“He should have a clear recollection of this. Hoping that the Court could be unanimous, I said then that I would give his suggestion a serious consideration,” Bersamin said.

Bersamin added the dissenting justices were the ones who did not read Leonen’s opinion when they signed it, saying “two of them signed in favor of his dissenting opinion days before the opinion he wrote for them was completed.”

The rejoinder was supposed to be tackled in session of the justices yesterday, but Leonen asked that the deliberations be reset to Sept. 28. A majority of the justices, however, decided to just set the voting in their next session on Sept. 1.– With Paolo Romero


PHILSTAR

Senate panel orders arrest of alleged Binay dummies By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated August 25, 2015 - 3:38pm 4 429 googleplus0 0


The Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee is looking into the numerous corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday ordered the arrest of several individuals linked to Vice President Jejomar Binay and to cite them for contempt.

Sen. Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, head of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, approved the motion of Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III to cite in contempt four members of the Chong family—Erlinda Chong, Irish Chong, Irene Chong and Kim Tun Chong—who have not appeared before the subcommittee hearings.

Guingona arrest also reinstated the outstanding arrest warrant against the Chongs.

Jack Arroyo, Laureano Gregorio and Marguerite Lichnock, the wife of Gerry Limlingan, were also cited for contempt.

James Tiu, the brother of businessman Antonio Tiu, was also cited for contempt along with his wife Anne Lorraine.

The Blue Ribbon Committee also reinforced the arrest order against Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy, an aide of the vice president, and alleged Binay bagman Gerardo "Gerry" Limlingan.

Last May, the Senate committee ordered the arrest of 14 individuals who were cited in contempt for failure to attend the hearings on the corruption allegations against Binay.


INQUIRER

Enrile blasts yearlong Senate Binay probe; it’s self-destructing @inquirerdotnet 05:40 AM August 26th, 2015



Senator Enrile back at work at the Senate.....

It is no longer an investigation in aid of legislation.

That’s Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s observation on the hearings being conducted by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee into allegations that Vice President Jejomar Binay amassed illegal wealth while he was mayor of Makati City.

“It’s unusual in any country for an investigation to last that long in aid of legislation. So it destroys itself,” he said. “I said it is self-destructing. Let them proceed because in the long term they will become irrelevant.”

“An investigation like that is already losing its own steam and value,” Enrile told reporters Tuesday on his second day in the Senate following his release on bail while the plunder case against him is undergoing trial in the Sandiganbayan.

Enrile, a political ally of Binay and who has assumed his post as Senate minority leader, said the length of the Binay inquiry, which started a year ago, was unprecedented.

He noted that the inquiry into the alleged overprice of the Makati City Hall Building II in aid of legislation had expanded “too far away” from the original resolution and delved into other issues.

Asked if he would raise the matter with the Senate leadership, he said they were “brilliant” and “responsible” people and should know what is good for the Senate and its image.

Let the people judge

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, the subcommittee chair, said Enrile was entitled to his opinion and he respected that.

“But we will endeavor for it not to self-destruct,” Pimentel said in a text message.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who initiated the inquiry against Binay, said the public was the better judge of the subcommittee’s performance.

READ MORE...

“It has an unprecedented length because we’re dealing with unprecedented corruption by a public official too,” Trillanes said in a text message.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, the third senator actively participating in the subcommittee probe, said he disagreed with Enrile. As long as the hearing exposes graft and corruption, it could never be considered losing steam and value.


CAYETANO

While people may frown on negativism, Cayetano said they also support efforts to expose wrongdoing which leads to reform.

“If you think about 30 years of corruption, how can you expose all that in one year?” he said in a phone interview. He also said the delay was due to the Binay camp, which hid documents and witnesses.

After celebrating its first anniversary last week, the subcommittee seems to have no plan of letting up in its probe and is set to hold its 24th hearing Wednesday.

More arrests

The subcommittee also continues to go after people identified with Binay and his alleged dummies.

On Tuesday, the mother blue ribbon committee ordered the arrest of Marguerite Lichnok, the wife of Binay’s close aide Gerry Limlingan, and 10 other people, including Erlinda, Irish, Irene, and Kim Tun Chong, Laureano Gregorio Jr., Jack Arroyo, and James and Anne Lorraine Tiu.

There are also standing orders to arrest Limlingan and Eduviges Baloloy, identified as Binay’s longtime secretary.

The committee granted the request of subcommittee chair Pimentel to cite Lichnok for contempt and to order her arrest.

The Senate’s subpoenas and invitation to Lichnok had not been given to her as she had not been located, but Pimentel said these were deemed served even though not physically served.

Pimentel said that following the procedure, a show-cause order was issued requiring her to explain why she should not be held in contempt. Since no explanation was filed, she should be cited for contempt.

Lichnok has been mentioned as one of the officers of the firms that Binay allegedly owned through dummies.

Hacienda Binay

In ordering Jack Arroyo’s arrest, the committee said that despite subpoenas, he had not appeared at the hearings in connection with alleged irregularities surrounding the University of Makati’s contract with STI and Philippine Health Educators Inc.

Gregorio, on the other hand, was summoned to the hearing to explain allegations concerning a vast Rosario, Batangas, property that has been dubbed “Hacienda Binay.”

In the case of the Erlinda, Irish, Irene, and Kim Tun Chong, Pimentel asked that their arrest orders issued earlier be enforced after they failed to make good on their promise to appear before the subcommittee hearing.

Two other Chong family members, Kimsfer and Imee, appeared at an earlier subcommittee hearing.

James Tiu, brother of businessman Antonio Tiu who is alleged to be a Binay dummy, asked the subcommittee to recall the arrest and contempt order against him and his wife, Anne Lorraine, and to excuse their appearance at the hearings.

According to James, he and his wife face security threats. While he was driving along Katipunan Avenue on April 22, he said armed men tried to accost him but he was able to evade them after a car chase. He said he and his family might not be as lucky next time.

Pimentel, however, said James did not attach the police report on the incident, adding that anyone can make up a story.

He asked that the standing arrest orders against James and Anne Lorraine be enforced, and the committee granted his motion.


MANILA BULLETIN

Enrile calls on candidates to arm themselves with ‘intellectual discipline’ August 28, 2015 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share0 By: Hannah L. Torregoza, Ben R. Rosario, Mario B. Casayuran, and Charissa M. Luci

Senate Minority Leader Senator Juan Ponce Enrile acknowledged yesterday that Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares is an “electable” candidate even though she perceivably lacks experience in public service.

But Enrile said Poe, as well as the other potential candidates in the coming May, 2016, elections, can arm themselves with “intellectual discipline.” Next year’s candidates must equip themselves with knowledge and understanding of today’s and future needs, he said.

In related reports on the political scene yesterday:

• Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza described Poe as “a breath of fresh air in the polluted world of presidential politics,” as she and Sen. Francis Escudero arranged an invitation for a conference between them and the National Unity Party (NUP), the third largest in the country. NUP Executive Director Reginald Velasco said the NUP is open to the possibility of throwing its support to any of three other presidential candidates, although it had earlier shown up in full force for a meeting with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party.

• Sen. Fedinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he is now holding talks with various groups, including his own Nacionalista Party (NP), about running for higher office. There are five million votes from the Solid North that Senator Marcos can count on should he run for the presidency, Senator Enrile said yesterday.

• Liberal Party stalwarts are not giving up on Sen. Grace Poe amid the reported formation of a united Poe-Escudero senatorial ticket for next year’s polls. Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said they are patiently waiting for Poe’s nod to join the administration banner.

MULTIPLE DISCIPLINE

Senator Enrile stressed the need for the presidential candidates to prepare themselves for problems that will require immediate resolution or decision. One needs multiple intellectual discipline, he said.

“You must be versed in economics, in politics, in security, strategy, currency, demography, climate change, environmental degradation – lahat iyan. They have an impact on the stability of any country in this planet. An event that happens in Europe or in Asia could engulf the world at any time and you must always have a strategy to meet these contingencies.”

READ MORE...

Enrile was interviewed after he returned to work in the Senate after a year of being detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP). Enrile, who is facing plunder and graft charges over his alleged involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam, was allowed by the Supreme Court to post P1.45-million bail for his temporary liberty.

NUP TO DECIDE

The NUP’s Velasco said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Jejomar Binay, will also be given the same opportunity to present their program of government if they win the presidency. “We will decide during our convention in September.”

Roxas’s invitation for meeting with the NUP was attended by a large group of NUP members but most remained tentative on whom they would ask the party to support in 2016.

Velasco admitted that Poe has a following of loyal supporters within the NUP which boasts of 30 district congressmen, 19 party-list congressmen, nine governors, and a number of city and municipal mayors.

Poe has also been getting strong backing from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) although like the NUP, the party has yet to make a declaration as to who it will support. The NPC is the second biggest political party in the country.

THE HIGHER ROAD

Congressman Mendoza, who is eyeing the governorship in Batangas, cited Poe for “taking the higher road for talking about issues instead of criticizing other candidates.” He noted that Sen. Chiz Escudero has also focused on “programs, not personalities” when approaching important issues.

Mendoza added that the Bicolano senator’s objective “is always to find solutions. He understands that grandstanding is unproductive and doesn’t get anything done, which is why he is always focused on finding answers, not finding fault.”

Although the two senators have yet to formally declare their plans, Mendoza said that NPC members were all expecting Poe and Escudero to announce their candidacies soon.

“A picture is worth a thousand words. The photos in Cebu and their other trips tell us that when Senator Grace and Senator Chiz formally announce their plans to run for president and vice president, this will be welcomed by a lot of people,” he said.

PANGASINAN VISIT

Speaking at the University of Luzon in Pangasinan, Senator Poe said she is hoping the youth would trust her. She recalled that she visited several state universities and colleges in 2013 and

“I always feel a certain warmth when I visit. I always feel very welcome. Actually in many places of the country, because they also remember FPJ (her father Fernando Poe Jr.). Although she said some people say that she is always in the shadow of FPJ, “for me it is an honor to have a role model like him. And I think that should learn from him.’’

The ruling Liberal Party (LP) of President Aquino is wooing Poe to be the running mate of Roxas.

Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, president of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) confirmed that the team of Poe and Escudero has started forming a united senatorial ticket for next year’s polls, tapping kep figures from major political parties in the country.

Sources said among those eyed for the team are Las Piñas City Rep. Mark Villar, Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian, Taguig Rep. Lino Cayetano, House Independent Bloc Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, reelectionist Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Marcos, and Ralph Recto, Manila City Vice Mayor Franciso Domagoso or Isko Moreno, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson, former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, and people’s champion Manny Pacquiao.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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