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TJ Burgonio
Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

Asia

Court has to clear where you want to be jailed, 3 Philippine senators told

Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN | TJ Burgonio | Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile.

MANILA, Philippines - Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. can choose where they will be detained, but they need to clear it with the court, Malacañang said on Saturday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said nothing could stop the three senators from bringing a motion stating where they wanted to be detained.

The senators are facing plunder and graft charges for allegedly pocketing millions of pesos in kickbacks from their annual allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), in a scandal that has become known as the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

"They can file a motion. Nothing will stop them from doing that, but it's the court that will decide where they will be detained," Valte said over dzRB, commenting on Enrile's petition for bail.

Plunder is a nonbailable offence and is punishable by life imprisonment.

Too old to be jailed

But Enrile cited his age, 90, and many ailments in asking the court to allow him bail.

Valte declined comment on observations that Enrile's petition contradicted his earlier expression of readiness to go to jail.

"It will be up to the division hearing his case on how to consider the factors that he has raised, mainly based on his age and on his health," she said.

The Sandiganbayan raffled off the cases of Revilla, Enrile and Estrada to its first, third and fifth division, respectively, on Friday.

Under the rules, a division issues a warrant of arrest upon determining probable cause to put an accused on trial.

The justices could take a minimum of 10 days to evaluate the evidence before making a determination.

Motions to dismiss

Shortly after the raffle, the three senators petitioned the antigraft court to dismiss the cases against them.

Speaking to reporters in the Senate earlier this week, Enrile said he had packed his bags and was ready to go to jail.

Enrile is facing one count of plunder and 15 counts of graft; Estrada one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft, and Revilla one count of plunder and 16 counts of graft.

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