Humanitarian SC pities Enrile, blind to ‘zombies’ in prison
“SC AFFIRMS Enrile bail” said an Inquirer report (Second Front Page, 7/13/16). The Supreme Court reaffirmed its Aug. 18, 2015, ruling to grant Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile bail due to his “old age” and “for health reasons,” according to a statement given by the Court’s spokesperson, Theodore Te.
As everyone knows, Enrile went back to the Senate in top form, without showing any sign of debilitation on account of his age and his alleged sickness. He even actively campaigned for then presidential candidate Jejomar Binay. His phenomenal agility is said to be due to his having undergone a stem cell treatment which only multimillionaires can afford.
From all appearances, Enrile is not one any lawyer would plead the court to grant bail based on “humanitarian reasons.” The picture of him in fighting form just did not fit such melodrama. In fact, his lawyers never dared to make that misericordiam plea. It was the majority of the Supreme Court who cooked up that excuse for him—on their own.
I used to join some nongovernment organizations that visited prisons in the country to check on the subhuman living conditions of prisoners. I have seen hundreds of old and sick people wallowing in debilitating health conditions and wasting away there, without any hope of ever getting adequate medical treatment, much less getting out. Compared with Enrile, they looked so much like zombies they might as well be dead and buried already to rest in peace.
Have the justices of the Supreme Court ever bothered to take a look at those prisoners’ conditions before falling all over themselves in showing pity and sympathy for the senator who, lest we forget, stands accused of plunder for having allegedly stolen some P170 million of public funds? Should they not be released en masse also on “humanitarian grounds” and allowed to live the last days of their lives in the comforting company of their families? Or, with apologies to the English author, Samuel Butler, is “Justice, though she’s painted blind, (only) to the (richer side) inclin’d”?
—SCARLET S. SYTANGCO, [email protected]
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