MANILA - The lawyer of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile said it is unfortunate that the Sandiganbayan ordered his arrest Friday since he was scheduled for an eye operation on Saturday.
"May operasyon siya sa mata bukas ng umaga sa Asian Eye Center sa Rockwell... Unfortunately, hindi na siguro matutuloy, Atty. Enrique dela Cruz told radio dzMM.
The Sandiganbayan Third Division on Friday afternoon ordered the arrest of the 90-year-old senator after finding probable cause on his plunder and graft cases in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Enrile then turned himself in to PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Benjamin Magalong. He is now in Camp Crame.
Dela Cruz said Enrile is keeping true to his word. "It has always been his intention to voluntarily surrender," he said.
Before leaving his home in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City, Enrile kissed his wife, children, and grandchildren goodbye.
Dela Cruz said Enrile told his family not to feel sad, and wait for his return.
"Hinalikan niya yung kanyang asawa, humalik yung kanyang mga anak at apo, nagpaalam. At sabi niya: Huwag kayong umiyak dahil hindi naman ako papanaw pa. Ako'y babalik pa rito. Wait for my return."
According to dela Cruz, they are hoping that the court will allow the senator to be detained in a hospital "considering his health and age."
He said they will file before the Sandiganbayan a motion to set for hearing the motion for bail they filed earlier.
The court on Friday rejected as premature Enrile's motion for bail, noting that a warrant of arrest had yet to be issued against him prior to the filing of the motion.
"Ngayong na-issue na yung warrant ay hihilingin namin na itakda na ang pagdinig sa motion for bail," dela Cruz said.
Enrile is accused of amassing P172 million in pork barrel kickbacks. He is facing one count of plunder and 15 counts of graft.
Enrile has denied any involvement in the multibillion-peso scandal. He is "adamant to clear his name," dela Cruz said.