Press Release
May 14, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today hailed the order of a lower court allowing former Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Nur Misuari to be placed under house arrest while the rebellion case against him is being heard.

Pimentel dared Malacañang and the Sandiganbayan to accord similar treatment to former President Joseph Estrada for granting his long-standing request to be detained in his family residence in Greenhills, San Juan for the purpose of consistency.

He said if the special division of the Sandiganbayan is not disposed to grant Estradas motion to be allowed to post bail, the court should seriously consider his request to be put under house arrest,

If the court granted the request of Chairman Misuari to be placed under house arrest, why not extend the same privilege to Mr. Estrada? the minority leader said.

Pimentel said the order of Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Sixto Marella, Jr., obviously with the tacit approval of Malacañang , has set a precedent. And because of this, he said the courts will be hard put ignoring a similar plea from Mr. Estrada.

He noted that the former president has requested a house arrest to facilitate easy consultation with his defense lawyers especially while now that he is directly testifying at the Sandiganbayan trial.

Pimentel said he sees no cogent reasons for denying Estradas request because there is no reason to fear that he may escape while he is under house detention.

The opposition leader pointed out that Malacañang a few months ago even offered to persuade the anti-graft court to release Estrada on recognizance as a show of humanitarian concern for the ousted leader.

Misuari and his co-accused in the rebellion case, Abuharis Usman, have been allowed by Judge Marella to stay at No. 27, 6th Street, New Manila.

Misuari also former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Usman have been confined at the St. Lukes Medical Center since Jan. 28 following a court order granting them medical furlough.

Despite Malacañang s claim that there was no political reasons behind Misuaris house arrest, Pimentel said there is a good reason to believe that this was part of governments concessions to placate the MNLF and the Organization of Islamic Conference. (OIC)

The Arroyo government has long requested the OIC to grant observer status to the Philippines. A three-man OIC team is due to arrive in the country this week to assess the implementation of the government-MNLF peace agreement of 1996.

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