MANILA – Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday described as ''cold and callous'' the government prosecutors' opposition to the house arrest of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
In a statement, the vice-president said the government might be accused of having no compassion for the sick and elderly because of this move.
''This is cold and callous. It opens government to charges that it lacks compassion for the sick and elderly. It also reinforces the widely-held view of selective justice under the present administration and invites criticisms that political opponents are treated harshly,'' Binay said.
Enrile, who turned 91 last February 14, was transferred to Makati Medical Center last Thursday due to pneumonia. He was placed under hospital arrest at the Philippine National Police General Hospital for plunder and graft in connection with the pork barrel scam.
His son, Jack, said on Friday that his father's condition was already getting better.
“He’s fine, he’s getting better. His fever is gone for today… He’s under massive intravenous antibiotics, but that’s to be expected given the level of infection of his pneumonia. He’s being monitored and right now wala siyang fever, medyo mataas ang kanyang appetite. That’s a good indication that he’s getting better,” Jack said.
“He has not spat any blood in the last 24 hours, I believe. But given his advanced age and his frail condition at this point, he is under constant medical supervision and observation,” he added.
Jack also wants his father to be placed under house arrest.
According to Binay, putting the senator under house arrest is the compassionate thing to do.
"Senator Enrile is 91 years old. He needs medical attention for several ailments and medical conditions that go with his advanced age. His on-going bout with pneumonia shows the fragility of his physical state. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do," said Binay, Enrile's fellow stalwart in the political party, United Nationalist Alliance.
Binay also believes that the house arrest request of detained former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must be granted.
''She is also of frail health. Her petition for house arrest is being opposed by government prosecutors and her case has barely moved in court. The fact that the former president is a political opponent should not deprive her of the compassion that should be extended to all detainees similarly situated, regardless of political affiliation,'' Binay said.