Enrile visits eye doctor again

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Saturday, July 12, 2014


MANILA -- Detained Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was brought again to the Asian Eye Institute in Makati City Saturday morning.

A medicine was injected in the right eye of the 90-year-old senator for treatment of his age-related macular degeneration, a condition that usually leads to loss of central vision.

The hospital visit of Enrile, who faces a non-bailable case of plunder and a separate graft case, lasted for 30 minutes.

After the visit, the senator was immediately returned to the his hospital suite at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital in Camp Crame, Quezon City where he is temporarily detained.

Last Friday, Enrile refused to enter a plea on the plunder charge during his arraignment at the Sandiganbayan third division prompting the court to enter a "not guilty" plea on his behalf.

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

The lawmaker allegedly amassed P172 million in kickbacks from 2004 to 2012 after channeling his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation to fake non-government organizations controlled by Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the pork barrel anomaly.

Napoles is a co-accused in the three separate plunder charges filed against Enrile and senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.

'VIP treatment'

Meanwhile, militant groups held a protest rally in front of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in Quezon City on Saturday morning to protest the alleged VIP treatment given to Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes, Enrile's former chief-of-staff and co-accused in the plunder charge.

Reyes was brought to the heart center past 8 p.m. Friday after complaining of chest pains.

Earlier in the day, Reyes failed to attend her arraignment at the Sandiganbayan, as the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital (TPDH), where she was confined due to anxiety attack, did not clear her.

Reyes, who was committed to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) female dormitory at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, had asked the court to allow her to be detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, citing security reasons.

Anacleto Diaz, the legal counsel of Reyes, claimed that the presence of nine suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels detained inside her detention cell triggered his client's panic attack on Wednesday night.

"The detention of accused Reyes at the female dormitory of Camp Bagong Diwa with the NPA detainees, who accused Reyes will have to mingle in the common areas, poses security risks to her life and has caused her fear and contributed to her anxiety," the motion read.

Also on Friday, Enrile's camp raised the concerns on the alleged railroading of the plunder and graft charges against the lawmaker and his co-accused at the Sandiganbayan third division following the instant dismissal of their various motions.

Estelito Mendoza, Enrile's legal counsel, said the so-called "express trial" being done by the third division has been moving "so quickly."

"I can't even catch my breath, I hardly catch my breath on this [seeming] express trial," Mendoza said.

Mendoza lamented that their motion for Bill of Particulars seeking to order the prosecution to present the precise and accurate details of the information against Enrile was junked and the motion for reconsideration was also denied both in an open court on Friday.

He said the prosecution should not be given a free hand to build the details of the cases that it already filed.

"The prosecution cannot be allowed to win on a bluff," Mendoza said.

He reiterated Enrile did not steal "even a single centavo of pork barrel funds as alleged by the information."

"There must be specific and precise details of the information," Mendoza said.

The court has yet to issue a commitment order for Enrile as it awaits the recommendation of the team from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) that conducted a medical examination on the senior lawmaker.

The PGH doctors are set to appear before the court on Monday, July 14, to testify whether Enrile needed to be confined in a hospital. (Sunnex)

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