btw.issue.29

Amid his impending arrest, Sen. Bong Revilla (center) faces his supporters at their compound in Bacoor City, Cavite with wife Lani Mercado (left), son Jolo Revilla (right) and other family members on June 19.  (Photo by Gel Francisco/InterAksyon)


by.the.way.1


A poet once wrote, “Walls do not a prison make/Nor iron bars a cage.”

But the iron bars at the detention center of the Philippine National Police (formerly the Constabulary) do make a cage, no ifs or buts about it.

The center will be “home” for all the accused while being tried by the Sandiganbayan for the high crime of plunder.

But the trial court might take pity on some of the respondents and let one or more be under house arrest.

Due to his age (90), Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile may be confined at home, while Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla are reported to be arranging to surrender once arrest orders are issued against them.

Enrile and Estrada are no strangers to detention.

During President Cory Aquino’s term, he was haled to prison but was soon freed after the Supreme Court ruled that the crime he was charged with — rebellion complexed with murder — was not provided under the Constitution.

This greatly embarrassed then Justice Secretary and now Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, who filed the non-existent case against Enrile.

Estrada was briefly detained at Camp Crame after he was named co-accused in the plunder case against his father, President Joseph Estrada.

But he was also later released for lack of evidence while his father went on to be tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison but was later pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Arroyo herself is currently detained at a military hospital after she was accused of electoral fraud while in office.

Her movements are strictly limited, visitors thoroughly screened and security tight.

The Commission on Elections is mulling to strike her name off the voters’ list in her home province of Pampanga, where she ran and got elected to Congress while under detention.

The only one who can see her at will (even more than her husband Mike) is President Fidel V. Ramos, according to a visitor from Manila during a recent lunch in Manhattan.

How does he do it, we asked.

After a round of golf at the V. Luna Veterans’ Hospital course, Ramos would nonchalantly drive his golf cart to the parking lot and walk all the way to the private room of Arroyo, catching her guards off-guard.

Besides, how do soldiers accost their former commander in chief?  

Have you noticed that the PNP is making a big deal about renovations at the custodial center to house the VIP occupants.

Pictures sent to the print media show a newly-painted cell (white), with a bunk bed (which looks like an army-issue cot), a shower room with toilet, and a ceiling electric fan.

“I tell you that’s like living in a furnace,” recalled Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who was placed in a military jail for his role in a botched mutiny.

He won election to the Senate while in jail but was not allowed to take his seat.

However, he drew his salary.

That’s what probably Bong Revilla is thinking as he goes around Metro Manila, thanking his supporters in a possible bid for the 2016 presidential election under the Lakas party headed by Arroyo.

If he is not convicted of plunder in 2016, he can run for any office, according to the Comelec.

In any case, he plans to spend his time at Camp Crame reading the Bible and other books, praying and working on his abs.

What else is there to do?

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