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Why Court erred in ‘Enrile Decision’

01:31 AM August 26, 2015

The Supreme Court, with due respect, gravely erred in granting Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile bail for humanitarian and health reasons, coupled with his solid reputation and decades of public service. Enrile is accused of plunder, an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua. Nowhere in the Constitution can we find the grounds cited by the Court in granting the bail.

The general rule on the right to bail is: “All persons in custody for the commission of an offense shall before conviction be admitted to bail as a matter of right with sufficient sureties or be released on recognizance prescribed by law.”

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The exception is, when the offense charged is punishable by reclusion perpetua, meaning by life sentence, and when the evidence of guilt is strong, right to bail is not available.

The exception to the exception is, when the evidence presented by the prosecution is weak, then, the right to bail shall not be impaired and the court must grant the same. (Article III, Section 13, 1987 Philippine Constitution).

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Thus, clearly, the only ground where Enrile can be granted his right to bail is when the evidence presented by prosecution against him is weak.

The decision rendered by the Supreme Court opens the floodgates to “applications to bail” for humanitarian, health and age reasons as the so-called “Enrile Decision” is now part of jurisprudence that may be used by litigators, considering that “judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines” (Article 8, Civil Code, as amended).

The basic issue in the case at bar is whether or not the evidence of the prosecution on the guilt of the accused is strong. In the positive, Enrile must be denied his right to bail. In the negative, he must enjoy his right to bail under the Constitution. Under no circumstances, however, may the good senator be released on grounds of health, age and decades of public service or for the sweeping humanitarian reason.

—NORMAN M. VERZOSA, Verzosa Gutierrez Nolasco Montenegro Law Offices, IBP Manila III incumbent president, [email protected]

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TAGS: Bail, Enrile Decision, Juan Ponce Enrile, plunder, pork barrel scam, Supreme Court
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