Would you throw a 90-year-old man like Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in prison?

Now that two of the three Philippine Senators charged with offenses related to the ‘malversation’ of their pork barrel funds through bogus non-government organisations associated with alleged ‘scam’ mastermind Janet Lim Napoles are in prison, it is Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s turn to get his wrists cuffed. But this is no ordinary suspect. Enrile is a former Senate President, and he is old. At 90 years old, Enrile is unlikely to cope well with the lack of creature comforts in the already souped-up jail cells occupied by his colleagues Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada.

Even President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III thinks so, wistfully encouraging the government in between meetings with big shots in Tokyo yesterday to be “considerate” to the elderly statesman.

“It seems there should be consideration to that, that is an established fact … I’m sure the courts are cognizant of fulfilling the obligations but at the same time, having as a factor the advanced age of Senator Enrile,” the President said at a press conference.

Aquino recalled that when he was in the Senate with Enrile, the latter was already reading with a magnifying glass and constantly used eye drops.

The Constitution itself, under the Bill of Rights, states that “cruel, degrading or inhumane punishment” should not be inflicted on a person, the President said.

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile: Too old to imprison?

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile: Too old to imprison?

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It is, of course, easy to quote the letter of the law while facing the cameras and fail to uphold its spirit while facing one’s own subordinates. Hundreds of thousands of Filipino inmates languishing in the Philippines’ squalid prison facilities will attest to the big gap between their society’s trumpeted principles and actual practice.

So it is understandable that every two-bit activist and various “cause-oriented” groups would be salivating over the prospect of seeing Enrile sweating out his years in a Philippine prison. Enrile, after all, is quite the piece of work. In the 1970s, he served the regime of then President Ferdinand E Marcos as Defense Minister and is regarded as the key architect of Marcos’s authoritarian rule. He is widely-believed to have staged an assassination attempt on himself (amidst many other terrorist activities at the time) to pave the way for the justification of the implementation of martial law in 1972.

As such, Enrile is linked to many alleged atrocities perpetrated under the watch of the Marocs regime. While it is widely agreed that these atrocities did happen, Enrile’s direct involvement and ability to influence the alleged crimes remains debatable. That whole episode has become even more muddled after Enrile published his memoirs in 2012 where he pinned accountability for all these on then First Lady Imelda Marcos and then Army Chief-of-Staff General Fabian Ver.

Many people do not buy Enrile’s version of the story, however. Susan Quimpo author of the book Subversive Lives : A family memoir of the Marcos years wrote in a GMA News article in 2012 how Enrile’s book gave her “sleepless nights”. She further writes…

It is surreal how Enrile fondly says that the typewriter he used to type out the implementing orders of martial law is still in his study. In his memoir, he writes: “I was faced with the problem of how or where to start. There was no model to begin with. I had to literally start from scratch. I had to improvise everything.”

Was he referring to the typewriter he used to craft the blueprint of Martial Law, dish out general orders and the letters of instruction? Did these include the order to arrest 70,000 political prisoners, and to hold them indefinitely in Marcos jails without charge or bail, to torture 34,000, and kill 3,240 as reported by Amnesty International? Whether or not Enrile foresaw these atrocities when he crafted the Martial Law decrees and administered Martial Law itself, cannot be proved, but it cannot be denied that such horrific acts were the practical result of his work. It would have been good to have heard even a few words of regret from him.

So it is not uncommon to hear shout-outs referring to Enrile’s past as a Marcos henchman coming from the torch-bearing mob gathering around the Philippines’ Sandiganbayan (the Philippines’ “People’s Advocate” court) as it deliberates on whether the weight of evidence is enough to prosecute Enrile today for pork barrel thievery. Indeed, the decision on whether or not Enrile should be thrown in prison today is only about that — the pork barrel case. Filipinos and their popularly-elected representatives and leaders had more than enough time and opportunity to prosecute and try Enrile for the crimes he allegedly perpetrated in the 1970s since 1986 when they supposedly “regained their freedom” in that “revolution” of that year. History, however, is the harsher judge in this instance and one can easily now judge Filipinos as a sorry collective of pushovers for squandering the opportunity to do just that — even giving Enrile a solid enough mandate not just to serve as Senator for many years but to also rise to the top of the pile as Senate President.

So does the now 90-year old relic of the Philippines’ martial law years deserve to be thrown in prison? That is now up to the lawyers.

During the hearing on Friday, members of the Third Division—Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang (chair) and Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz—listened to Enrile’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza challenge the more than 9,000 pages of documents submitted by the Ombudsman as any proof that Enrile received kickbacks from the pork barrel scam.

Martires assured Mendoza that the division read all the documents.

“I will read the 9,000 sheets (of paper). I don’t care what the lawyers, the media think. This court will base its decision on the evidence,” Martires said.

That sounds fair enough now, doesn’t it?

[Note to all metaphorically-challenged readers: There is no torch-bearing mob actually gathering around the Sandiganbayan today as of this writing.]

28 Replies to “Would you throw a 90-year-old man like Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in prison?”

  1. Does Penoy Aquino’s public musings of consideration for Enrile come from a genuine deference to his age and his years of service to the republic or does it stem from an abject fear of Enrile’s influence and power? If the latter, what does Enrile have on the Aquinos (going all the way back to Ninoy) that they’ve gone out of their way to keep him out of prison for the past 28 years?

  2. Juan Ponce Enrile, two words immediately come to mind. Traitor and criminal.
    Lock the fucker up and let him die in jail.

    1. Does that really satisfy anyone? The fact is, Enrile is an OLD MAN. Unless he’s got a back room deal that has him being granted immortality, the threat of dying after what will probably be a short stint in prison isn’t likely to faze the vile coot.

      You want to hurt him and his family? Divest them of everything they own and leave them destitute. If Enrile’s fortune originates from plundering the government’s coffers, it would be legal to seize his assets, including any profits derived from his illegal activities. And there is legal precedent. The first Aquino presidency created the mechanisms for going after the ill gotten wealth of former government officials and sequestering their assets.

      1. First of all, fuck his family! They are all accomplices. I don’t give a flying hoot about them. Enrile is an evil, vile bastard. He certainly would not want to die in prison because of his inflated ego.

        The rest you wrote about seizure of assets and alike is and will remain wishful thinking.

        1. It certainly is wishful thinking as long as people have already decided (like Jim DiGriz) from the start that it is pointless to make the effort. And then complain about what is essentially a self fulfilling prophecy.

    2. That’s the least we can do with kindness of course – Nothing personal, His choice not ours.
      Lock-up the bastard! (only speaking the truth)

  3. Justice for ‘Jonny’? HHHMMM…
    to see this guy LIVE another 50 years? 50 more LOOOOONG years…..Outlive his kids,things like that,Yes? The types of events that only Father time can bequeath.Yeah…justice.

  4. wouldn’t you throw a 90 year life long child molester in jail? Just because he got caught late in his corrupt life……

    1. Unless you can prove Enrile IS a 90 year old paedophile, the argument is invalid. We’re talking about the appropriate punishment. In the case of operators like Enrile — who enter politics for the specific purpose of accumulating wealth and power — depriving them of their prize would punish them more than imprisoning them. The same way that locking a 90 year old child molester away from the public would deprive him of the opportunity to satisfy his depraved proclivities.

  5. Hurrah! I would even throw him in hell and by that I mean every day of torture. I would even cut off his fingers one by one by one and have him fix by the best doctors so I could do it again. So don’t ask what is deserving for traitors like him because we don’t care about hes age, even if he is dead we will dig him up and chop off his carcass, take his head and curse it and hung it in a square. That perhaps one day shall include traitor supporters and sympathizers like you! All traitors and thieves like him deserves a pirates death. Long drop and a sudden stop. That is BDO tower in Makati. Tie a rope in his neck and throw him down from the top only to stop near the 2nd level.

  6. If you want to hurt him, let get his entire family and burn them all in front of him! This way he will feel the saddest pain ever before his death. they say in hell is a repetition of punishment and sins – that means as his crime flashes before him as a traitor and so as the death of his entire family.

    Lets erase the name ENRILE in the face of our Country. I say we kill ourselves blood of traitors!

  7. Kaplastikan ng Pohtang Inang Abnoy na yan na maging considerate daw ki JPE na inakusahang nilang Plunderer. Bakit ki PGMA iba trato niya na wala namang napatunayan sa mga akusasyon. Puro Sarzueala lang at Publicity yang pag akusa at pagkulong kina Bong at Jingoy.
    Hoy Aquino/Cojuanco Family kayo ang Cancer ng Lipunan kay namatay at mamamatay din kayo sa sakit na yan. Nauna na si Korikong na nagka cancer sa colon. Susunod na yan si Abnoy na mamamatay sa either sa Cancer sa Baga or sa lalamunan bukod pa sa pagka Baliw. Susundan yan ni KriSTD na mamamatay sa Cancer sa Ari. Sunod sunod silang mamamatay sa sakit na yan bilang Parusa sa kanila dahil sa kanilang KAHAYUPAN.

  8. One door closes temporarily for three incarcerated Filipino gangbangers.
    Another door opens for three new Filipino gangbangers who swear allegiance to the ruling criminal crime syndicate.

  9. Typo underlined:

    “As such, Enrile is linked to many alleged atrocities perpetrated under the watch of the Marocs regime.”

    That said, the sadism in some of the comments…

  10. No I would not throw a 90 year old man into jail. Besides this… he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Due process and the rule of law must also be taken into account. I recall former PGMA as treated with cruelty. Her human rights violated. The same thing might happen to JPE should he be tagged as a perceived enemy of the yellow regime. I also recall the fact that the yellow regime likes to destroy its enemies by way of black propaganda through trial by publicity. The deceit and deception in the mantra of the Matuwid na Daan is repeated over and over to incite less discerning people to shout crucify him like an NPA kangaroo court while the yellow emperor looks squeaky clean. Wake up Filipinos! Down with the yellow regime!

  11. The point of argument is the age of the accused. Shouldn’t lady justice be blind on race, gender, age. If the law says accused should be jailed, he should be jailed. Being so forgiving has brought us nothing but more corruption and misery.

    1. Who said anything about ‘forgiveness?’ If the Sandiganbayan finds cause to arrest Enrile for his involvement in the PDAF/DAP matter, he should be taken into custody and prosecuted. If found guilty, he should be punished according to his crime.

      As a practical matter, however, it is unlikely that someone of Enrile’s advanced age will be suffering incarceration for long. For that matter, given the glacial pace of our judicial system, it would not be surprising if he does not survive the trial. The prospect of being imprisoned isn’t likely to frighten him.

      If we want to be pragmatic about how we deal with Enrile, the most effective way to ensure that he (and his co-conspirators) are punished and for the Filipino people to be afforded justice in this matter is recover the money that was stolen and to seize any assets and/or proceeds that were derived from the criminal enterprise. Deprive Enrile and his ilk of their ill gotten wealth — that is how you send the message that ‘Crime doesn’t pay.’

  12. Why cant people understand that we are not after yellow, green or blue. We are after all of them. All traitors and corrupt who f u c k with our people – now its our time to f u c k with theirs – rid the nation of ENRILEs. Kill him ang his name along with it. Erase him from our history and be it written as the traitor he is to his people. If he die, throw his body into international waters. For he who betrays his country is not a Filipino and as such deserves no place in it. Same thing we do to the rest of them. Slit them up and feed them to the sharks lurking in international waters or cut them up into pieces and put them in display to every governmental office – to remind all those in public service of what future awaits traitors and thieves.

  13. Enrile is the ultimate political opportunist. He always set his sail; where the wind is blowing. Together, with his son-in-law, Honasan. They profited in the Aquino years,

    Enrile knows many things about the unholy alliance of the Cojuangco-Aquino-NPA. He knows who bombed the LP “miting de avance” at Plaza Miranda. What Ninoy Aquino, Jr. role on this incident. He knows about the assasination of Ninoy Aquino, Jr.; and the alledge assasin: Galman. He knows about who financed and shipped the boatload of arms of the MV Karagatan.

    Enrile can easily shatter the myth of the Aquinos; and Ninoy Aquino, Jr. Ramos and Honasan can do that also. They were key players in this political drama.

    So, Aquino must treat Enrile with “kid’s glove”. Otherwise, he will begin to sing like a freed Canary; and open a can of worms of the Aquinos…

    This must be a dilemma of Aquino…

  14. With regards to the confiscation of assets of those corrupt politicians. Everyone knows that Aquino spare and connive with his corrupt friends and cahoots. Then, he goes after his political enemies…or those who do not toe the line of what he wants…

  15. Put Juan Ponce Enrile in jail.That is just.That is justice.Old age is not an excuse to commit a crime.Another matter that should be addressed is that all his properties must be sequestered while he is in jail.This is also just.

  16. I don’t know how “cruel and unusual” punishment came into the picture. Jail isn’t a cruel and unusual punishment, personal circumstances notwithstanding. If you want to get technical, Enrile isn’t being punished yet since his preventive detention isn’t a “penalty” for a crime strictly speaking.

    I say toss him in jail. He’s allegedly a smart man. Let him figure his own way out.

  17. Let him live and let him have a cozy prison place and let him invite his creator to educate him about the place waiting for him. and please kindly make a bonfire outside of his window to remind him what will happened next once he closed his eyes since he don’t have any soul.

  18. was this guy caught giving $25,000 away to his friends recently?

    Was it proven? if so, make him give it back to the people. and keep him in jail on larceny charges, pending trial. after the guily verdict is in…sentence the guy as an ordinary citizen would be sentenced. 4-5 counts of ‘GRAND LARCENY’ should keep him locked up for the rest of his life…..case closed…move along…nothing to see here….NO?


  19. He is still on trial. although on bail. So let the trial on plunder continue. Once proven as guilty, the court will impose the corresponding punishment. After that, if I recall correctly, only the President can give clemency or forgiveness, if warranted.
    The country awaits a speedy trial of this case.

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