MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) stood pat on its decision to grant Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's bail plea in connection with his plunder case over the "pork barrel" scam.
Voting 7-6, with one abstention (Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, former Solicitor General), the high court denied the Sandiganbayan's motion for reconsideration (MR) of the SC's August 18, 2015 decision that granted Enrile bail.
"The majority stated that the People were not kept in the dark about nor were they denied a reasonable opportunity to rebut the instability of his health and his advanced age even if these were not raised in the motion for bail," the SC said.
The high court also denied that Enrile was given preferential treatment because he is a senator; rather, his plea was granted "due to [Enrile's] health condition, which was sufficiently proven."
In its August 2015 decision, the high court cited the following grounds for the bail grant:
- bail protects the right of the accused to due process and to be presumed innocent;
- bail may be granted as a matter of right or of discretion of the trial court;
- admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion perpetua is subject to judicial discretion; and,
- Enrile's poor health justifies his admission to bail.
The high court placed Enrile's cash bond at P1-million.
The case against Enrile accused him of having pocketed P172.8 million in kickbacks and commissions from alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles for allocating portions of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to Napoles' bogus NGOs.