Law Dean told me he’s willing to petition SC in behalf of these lolos accused of raping minors
Exclusive By Raïssa Robles
Enrile’s bail has caused an uproar.
Harvard law graduate Oscar Franklin Tan wrote a highly provocative column entitled – Would you grant bail if it was not Enrile?
Likewise, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, Dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law, wrote: “I wonder: Had bail been granted a 91-year old farmer charged with a crime punishable by reclusion perpetua, would there have been strenuous objections? So, it seems that the protest is directed not really at the justness of the decision, but because it is Enrile involved. “
I’m not a lawyer, just an observer. So’ I’d like to suggest, let’s test the premises of both Atty. Tan and Fr. Rannie with actual cases.
In the case of Fr. Rannie, I decided to ask him directly whether he would be willing to go to the Supreme Court to petition for bail for other detained lolos similarly charged with a capital crime. I found news reports on five lolos who have been detained for the non-bailable crime of raping young girls.
Fr. Rannie told me he was willing to file a petition before the Supreme Court. I wrote down his exact words to me –
“For as long as their counsels agree, If you can get their papers , I will gladly draft a petition (for the lolos) following the theory I’m advocating.”
The dean patiently explained to me his theory – “that the denial of bail can only take place after evidence (is presented).” He said that after an information is filed against an accused and the offense is punishable with a life term, the accused usually asks for a bail hearing so the court can weigh whether or not the evidence is strong. In Dean Rannie’s opinion, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan erred by denying Enrile bail even while the bail hearing was going on. “Because you can deny bail only when you know the evidence of guilt is strong,” he said.
But the Dean pointed out that the Supreme Court decision penned by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin did not at all rule on this point. Instead, he said, Bersamin’s decision to grant Enrile bail “rests on humanitarian grounds.”
Since this is the case, let’s ask lawyers to petition before the Supreme Court similar bail on humanitarian grounds for this 80-year-old grandfather who is now in jail in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte accused of the non-bailable crime of raping a four-year-old girl.
You can read about the news story here.
Remember, the main argument for Enrile’s bail, according to Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin is that
“Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime charged, should be allowed independently of the merits of the charge, provided his continued incarceration is clearly shown to be injurious to his health or to endanger his life. Indeed, denying him bail despite imperiling his health and life would not serve the true objective of preventive incarceration during the trial.”
I am presuming that since this lolo is far poorer than Sen. Enrile, and almost certainly can’t afford stem cell injections, he is even less healthy than the senator. Therefore his continued incarceration would be injurious to his health or would endanger his life even more.
But just to get the physical evidence that this lolo is less healthy, let him submit himself to a free health examination. Let’s see if he is less or more healthy than Enrile. Remember that Justice Bersamin noted the following about Enrile:
(1) Chronic Hypertension with fluctuating blood pressure levels on multiple drug therapy; (Annexes 1.1, 1.2, 1.3);
(2) Diffuse atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease composed of the following:
a. Previous history of cerebrovascular disease with carotid and vertebral artery disease; (Annexes 1.4, 4.1)
b. Heavy coronary artery calcifications; (Annex 1.5)
c. Ankle Brachial Index suggestive of arterial calcifications. (Annex 1.6)
(3) Atrial and Ventricular Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) documented by Holter monitoring; (Annexes 1.7.1, 1.7.2)
(4) Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrom (ACOS) and postnasal drip syndrome; (Annexes 2.1, 2.2)
a. Age-related mascular degeneration, neovascular s/p laser of the Retina, s/p Lucentis intra-ocular injections; (Annexes 3.0, 3.1, 3.2)
b. S/p Cataract surgery with posterior chamber intraocular lens. (Annexes 3.1, 3.2)
(6) Historical diagnoses of the following:
a. High blood sugar/diabetes on medications;
b. High cholesterol levels/dyslipidemia;
c. Alpha thalassemia;
d. Gait/balance disorder;
e. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (etiology uncertain) in 2014;
f. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (with documented enlarged prostate on recent ultrasound).42
Dr. Gonzales attested that the following medical conditions, singly or collectively, could pose significant risks to the life of Enrile, to wit: (1) uncontrolled hypertension, because it could lead to brain or heart complications, including recurrence of stroke; (2) arrhythmia, because it could lead to fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular events, especially under stressful conditions; (3) coronary calcifications associated with coronary artery disease, because they could indicate a future risk for heart attack under stressful conditions; and (4) exacerbations of ACOS, because they could be triggered by certain circumstances (like excessive heat, humidity, dust or allergen exposure) which could cause a deterioration in patients with asthma or COPD.43”
And if this lolo, whose name was not given in the news report probably to protect the victim, is found to be similarly “in poor health” like Enrile, then this lolo should also be given his provisional liberty.
Because Enrile is not the only detainee who should enjoy the wisdom and compassion of the Supreme Court.
In fact, working under what could possibly become the Bersamin Doctrine, our lawyers should look around the country’s jail cells and find even more geriatric detainees who should enjoy the compassion of the Supreme Court.
P.S. This morning, curiosity drove me to look for other lolos who have been detained while awaiting trial. I found four others – all accused of the non-bailable and capital offense of raping minors.
Last December, a lolo was arrested in the town of Tigaon, Camarines Sur province after being accused of raping his 10-year-old apo. I am presuming this story is accurate because it was written for GMA News by Joel Locsin, my former colleague in Philippine Star. You can read Joel’s story by clicking here.
In December 2013, the Times Journal reported that a 73-year-old lolo was arrested for raping a 13-year-old girl in Zamboanga del Sur. You can read the news report here.
In 2012, Virgilio Bolanda, 71, was reported as being held at the Pasig City detention center after a mother accused him of raping her daughters aged five, seven and nine. You can read about this here.
Now the lawyers might say that Bolanda should not be granted bail under what might become the Bersamin doctrine because Bolanda might do it again. However, the same argument could perhaps be used against Enrile – that allowing him bail gives him access again to state funds, which he is accused of diverting.
Finally, there is an undated report about 74-year-old Alberto Sioson who was arrested in Hermosa, Bataan for allegedly raping a 14-year-old. You can read about it here.
To summarize, the detention of all FIVE LOLOS can be the test case of what could become the Bersamin Bail Doctrine.