MANILA (UPDATED) - President Aquino doesn't mind giving humanitarian considerations to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile once he is detained for the pork barrel scam.
Speaking during an interview with reporters on board the PAL chartered flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima, Aquino noted that Enrile is 90 years old.
He recalled that when they were both in the Senate, Enrile had problems reading.
"Under the Bill of Rights, Section 19, subsection 1, says a fine shall not be imposed or cruel, degrading, inhuman punishment inflicted. The way I read that, the guy—the senator is 90 years old—the guy is known to have a lot of ailments that has to be, parang dapat may consideration naman yun. That is already an established fact," he said.
"When we were all together in the Senate, ‘di ba, when he reads, with a magnifying glass; ‘yung eyedrops na napaka-constant. I'm sure the courts will be cognizant of fulfilling the obligations, but at the same time, having as a factor 'yung the advanced age of Senator Enrile," he added.
Enrile, like Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, is charged with graft and plunder for allegedly funneling his Priority Development Assistance Funds to bogus organisations of Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for kickbacks.
Estrada and Revilla are already detained after the Sandiganbayan found probable cause in the complaints filed against them.
'NINOY'S MENTAL TORTURE'
Meanwhile, the President also gave a reaction to an open letter by a blogger who compared the conditions in the cells of the 2 detained senators and the incarceration of Aquino's own father, the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., during martial law.
The President said his father had an air-conditioner in his Fort Bonifacio detention center but was kept in solitary confinement.
"Yung one hour a day ka pwedeng lumabas ng kuwarto. Solitary confinement, ‘di wala kang kaagaw sa banyo. May katre na ‘yung typical—sa Armed Forces siguro—‘yung manipis na kutson. ‘Yung privacy, zero. Parang may camera akong naalala noon. Ina-assume namin may mga microphones na rin dito sa mga paneling ‘nung kuwarto. Napaka-limited ‘nung dalaw," he recalled.
"Maraming kasama ang daddy ‘nung sa Crame for, I think, about one day or so. Tapos after that, ilan na lang silang nalipat sa Fort Bonifacio. Tapos, eventually, si Senator (Jose) Diokno na lang for about two years. Sila Serge Osmena, sila Geny Lopez were not in ano e, the same structure within the MSU compound. Tapos, eventually, mag-isa na lang siya doon. So ‘yon ang talagang, for somebody who is a very sociable being like my dad, ‘yung solitary confinement was really, shall we say, a mental torture," he added.
The Revilla and Estrada camps have earlier complained that their cells are too hot. Revilla's family said there are rats and roaches in the cell.
They have requested that an air-cooler be put in the cell.
The President is leaving it to the courts to decide on the requests made by the senators. He said he has no problem where the two will be detained.
Aquino stressed his government is working to improve the detention facilities in the country.
He said his marching orders to the Department of Justice is to make sure the government files cases that will secure convictions.