Chiz, Serge say no to special jail for senators

Posted at 04/07/14 5:19 PM

MANILA -- Senators Francis "Chiz" Escudero and Sergio "Serge" Osmeña III are not in favor of giving special privileges to senators in case warrants of arrest are issued against their colleagues indicted for plunder.

Osmeña said that while the decision rests ultimately on the Sandiganbayan on where the senators would be detained, the law should be applied equally.

"There must be an equal application of the law. Just because you're a senator or a former president doesn't mean that you are entitled to a special quarters or whatever. So I will leave that up to the Sandiganbayan to decide. But certainly, in my opinion, government officials are not given special privileges," he told reporters on Monday.

Escudero said as much, thumbing down as well proposals to allow high-profile convicts of "non-violent crimes" to pay for their stay in detention cells if they prefer to enjoy certain privileges.

"Hindi ako sasang-ayon na you have to pay. Iibahin mo na naman ang pagtrato para sa mayamang akusado kaysa mahirap na akusado, e di 'yung mayaman na akusado ang kayang magbayad mas maganda yung kanyang board and lodging niya, tapos 'yung mahirap mas pangit 'yung board and lodging niya, although non-violent crime din siya. Lalo natin ginawang hindi pantay ang mayaman at mahirap pagdating sa mga sinasampahan ng kaso sa mga, o inaakusahan ng krimen," Escudero said.

"Kung ano 'yung pwede sa mahirap ganun din dapat 'yung sa mayaman, kung ano 'yung pwede sa hindi sikat ganun din dapat sa sikat. Ngayon kung gusto nong sikat na maganda yun board ang lodging niya dapat tumulong siya para mapaganda yun ordinaryong kulungan para sa ordinaryong nakabilanggo," he added.

The Office of the Ombudsman last week said it had found probable cause to file graft and plunder charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada over the pork barrel scam.