SC fooled big-time by joke
Letter-writer Jeremias Tobias articulated what many people had in mind about the manner by which the Supreme Court granted bail to Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (“Lapses in common sense,” Opinion, 9/10/15). It really is appalling how the wise men in the Supreme Court could have been fooled by the antics of the quintessential politician.
On second thought, however, that seems unlikely. Far from being hoodwinked, they were simply more inclined to give Enrile “special treatment.” That decision was “especially tailored” for him, according to the dissenting minority. It was thus for reasons that have nothing to do with what is right, fair or just! Can Supreme Court justices really do that? Of course! They can do anything. They can bend any law, even the Constitution (e.g., “midnight appointments” of Supreme Court justices, the two-year time limit for them to decide cases, etc.), any way they want!
At the Sandiganbayan, Enrile argued he was too old, too sick, too frail to be in jail. He said he needed medical attention so badly. That court bought it and put him under “hospital arrest,” pending the determination of his bail petition. Thereafter, it denied him bail, finding strong evidence of guilt. But Enrile remained under “hospital arrest” (at his own expense) to stand further trial for allegedly having pocketed about P170 million of his pork barrel!
After the Supreme Court reversed the Sandiganbayan and granted him bail, Enrile went straight back to work and started doing his thing as Senate minority leader and acting like—tadah!—there was nothing wrong with his health! From all appearances, none of the things that he said ailed him necessitated his being set free and subsequently nursed back to health in the comfort and luxury of his own home!
The Sandiganbayan justices themselves were fooled big time. The “hospital arrest” turned out to be a big joke! The eight Supreme Court justices bought it, too, and went further to see that he got his bed rest at home! That turned out to be a bigger joke!
The upside is, according to pundits, the bail matter is not yet over. The Ombudsman has filed a motion for reconsideration. So, is there still hope for genuine justice to prevail? Alack, no one is holding his breath on that ever coming to pass—not with the present composition of the Supreme Court.
The make-or-break question is, will the majority of the justices ever admit they erred? They already stretched their credibility “beyond breaking point,” the Aug. 24 Inquirer editorial noted, so they might just as well go all the way on that one! Indeed, the question may have become more rhetorical than hypothetical.
—ROGELIO S. CANDELARIO, [email protected]
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