MANILA - (UPDATED) Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to move for the cancellation of the bail of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who is seeking re-election to the Senate.
Enrile was jailed in 2014 for allegedly pocketing millions of pesos in public funds through bogus organizations. Two years later, the Supreme Court granted him a P1 million bail due to "instability of his health and his advanced age."
In a letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martires, Mamba and other local leaders of Cagayan said Enrile’s bid for a Senate comeback negated the bail that was granted to him.
“This only proves that Juan Ponce Enrile falsely appealed to the Supreme Court’s pity to gain the relief of bail. It means that he is not so 'ill' as to be incapable of flight, as the Supreme Court declared,” Mamba said in the letter received by the Ombudsman on Tuesday.
Mamba said that running for a Senate seat is nearly impossible for the 94-year old Enrile who also hails from the province of Cagayan.
“Seeking a seat in the Senate necessarily entails a nationwide campaign that even a healthy person will find strenuous,” Mamba said.
Enrile, in registering his candidacy last week, said that he is not planning on mounting a physically taxing campaign and will be relying on the reach of social media instead.
In the letter, Mamba admitted that his group is on the opposite political side and does not support their fellow Cagayanon who should also be held accountable for the plunder and graft cases he is facing at the Sandiganbayan.
“Sir, we are local leaders in Cagayan who witnessed how Juan Ponce Enrile and his minions ravaged our beloved province for 40 years. Even to the extent of oppression through false charges,” Mamba said.
Enrile said he will not protest against Mamba's move.
"I leave it to the good judgment of the Ombudsman, to the good judgment of the Supreme Court," he said in a forum in Quezon City.
Among those who made the appeal was former Buguey, Cagayan Mayor Igacio Taruc.
The former Senate president also stressed that he truly got sick in detention because he was not able to exercise inside his small room.
"I had no space to exercise, and I deteriorated. I got sick. I was really sick. I nearly died with pneumonia during that period," he claimed.
CAGAYAN EXPERIENCED PROGRESS - ENRILE
Enrile, meanwhile, refuted Mamba's claims that he ravaged his home province during his time in government, saying Cagayan experienced progress because of him.
"I understand in that letter he said that I raped my province for 40 years that I was in government. I never raped the province. I never cut a single deal there. I never mined anything there," he said.
"All the progress in my province were done by me during my seat in government. Tuguegarao became a city because of what I did," he added.
Tuguegarao became a component city in Cagayan in December 18, 1999 after a plebiscite. Enrile was senator during the period leading to its cityhood.
Enrile and Mamba are political rivals. In 2016, the Cagayan governor even took reportedly down a bust of Enrile standing on the province's capitol grounds.
Mamba said a bust of a living person is against the guidelines of the National Historical Commission, and he does not want Enrile to be an example to the youth.--with a report from Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News