CAGAYAN, Philippines- The long feud between former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba continues as the latter asked prosecutors to seek for the cancellation of a Supreme Court ruling granting Enrile a bail over his plunder charges at the Sandiganbayan.
The appeal of Governor Mamba came after Enrile filed his candidacy to run for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.
In a letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Monday, October 22, Mamba said Enrile’s filing of candidacy would mean the former senator “falsely” appealed to the high court when he argued of his ailing health for him to be granted bail.
Enrile was jailed in 2014 after he was accused of pocketing P172 million of public funds through chanelling it to bogus non-government organizations, including that of “pork barrel queen” Janet Lim Napoles. The Supreme Court, however, granted him bail in 2015, arguing that the now 94-year old senator is entailed of a bail due to his poor health and old age.
“Seeking a seat in the Senate necessarily entails a nationwide campaign that even a healthy person will find strenuous,” Mamba said in his letter, co-written by former Buguey Mayor and Mamba’s vice gubernatorial tandem in 2019 elections Ignacio Taruc.
“This only proves that Juan Ponce Enrile falsely appealed to the Supreme Court’s pity to gain the relief of bail. It means that he is not so ‘ill’ as to be incapable of flight, as the Supreme Court declared,” the governor added.
When he filed his candidacy, Enrile said he does not plan to engage in campaigns physical and will primarily use social media instead.
The letter should not come as surprise as Mamba and Enrile, who were also former political allies, had openly attacked each other. A Mamba-led political alliance toppled the decades-long leadership of the Enriles in the first congressional district in Cagayan during the 2016 elections.
“Sir, we are local leaders in Cagayan who witnessed how Juan Ponce Enrile and his minions ravaged our beloved province for 40 years. [Enrile] is, and has always been, a liar and plunder, no matter how frail he may look,” the letter added.
The senator on Wednesday, October 24, dismissed Mamba plea to the Ombudsman, saying it us up to the “judicial system” to say if he’s going back to jail.
“Only the judicial system can say whether they want me to go back to jail. If that governor [Mamba] can understand, I am presumed innocent until I am convicted by final judgment,” Enrile said. Northernforum.net